An autocue, or teleprompter, is a great piece of equipment to have on set. It will not only help your talent during filming, but make your video more professional and engaging.
A teleprompter is a device that displays the script for an actor or presenter of a video. It allows the on-camera person to look directly at the lens of the camera while presenting their dialogue. It works by placing a screen under the camera that displays the script which is written in reverse. That script is then reflected up on a pane of glass positioned in front of the camera lens. This allows the talent to read the text as they speak. For viewers, this feels more engaging because it appears that the presenter is talking directly to them.
There are many different types of teleprompters. All of them work slightly differently and suit certain situations. The camera mounted teleprompter, described above, is the most common and well known. From this, some cheaper and more compact versions have been made. iPad prompters work in a very similar way to the camera mounted. The iPad is placed under the camera and the script is reflected up into glass in front of the camera lens. For this you will need to download an app which will reverse your script so when it is reflected, it is displayed on the screen the correct way. This device is perfect when working with a small crew or tighter budget. Often camera operators will have this as part of their equipment set.
Check out this article for information on different autocue apps.
A professional autocue operator is a great asset on set. These operators have all the required equipment and skills to help your presenter during the shoot. The operator and presenter work closely together to develop a rapport. The operator will also familiarize themself with the script before filming so they are able to anticipate how the text will be delivered. Once shooting begins, their role is to monitor the machine and maintain the right pace for the video. This is done by controlling how fast to scroll through the script. This is particularly helpful when there is a long script.
A professional operator is not always needed, but there are some occasions when they are recommended. When working on a tight schedule, having an expert reduces stress and will make sure things run smoothly. They can also help the presenter to feel more comfortable especially if they don’t have much experience in front of a camera. Also, by having one person to do this job, it means that the camera operator will not have to try to do two things at once. The teleprompter operator can also make sure that the talent is performing the script exactly as it is written. This can be important marketing and educational videos.
Teleprompters have many benefits. It takes the pressure off the actor and allows them to focus on how they speak rather than remembering their lines. It also is more engaging for viewers and helps them to connect with the person on camera. However, there are some downsides. When using a prompter, the camera is usually static. Depending on your videos this could feel boring. Also you run the risk of sounding too scripted and artificial. This can happen quite easily if the person on camera has little experience. Audiences are very quick to pick up on this and lose interest.