What is a teleprompter

First of all what is a teleprompter? If you have not tried it yet, talking into a camera lens is not as easy as it looks. Either you talk too fast, or too slow or you forget what it is you are trying to say and it is easy to fluff your words. This is where the teleprompter comes in. You set it to scroll your text at the correct speed and have it in front of you when you are talking to camera.

Video Camera

One approach which works OK, is to use an application on the MacBook which does that job for you. It works fine, but you have to know it works best when you have a bigger distance from the camera. This is because it makes the fact that you are not looking directly at the lens, less noticeable. You have the text you are reading as close as possible to the camera also.

iPad Teleprompter

Similarly, you can use the iPad to read from and there a number of teleprompter applications, some free and some paid for. The free ones usually are disabled in some way to encourage you to buy the paid version. There is one in which the Pro version is still crippled unless you buy the $80 remote control unit from the vendor.

Getting a professional looking Teleprompter

Another thing you can do is to make yourself a teleprompter box, and it is surprisingly easy. The box is open on one side with the opposite side having a hole that the camera looks through. In between this there is a glass which act like a one way mirror. It is put at an angle of about 45 degrees, so that you can see it.

You place the iPad on the bottom of the box so that the text that is scrolling on it is reflected in the glass. It is better if you use treated glass, you have a clearer reflection. There is special beam splitter glass or you can buy some mirror film to put on the glass which will do the same.

Using the iPad to make a home made Teleprompt box

When you are using a teleprompter box you will need to have the text on the iPad mirrored so that you can read it the right way around. It is a good idea to choose an app which gives you the controls you need to work it, either from a distance with an iPhone or iPod as a remote. You will want to have it so that you can pause, play or adjust the speed of the text during playback.

Controlling a Teleprompter


It seems to be better to have the speed set up and to learn to talk at that speed, then you can edit out parts, if you need to, in FinalCut when you are done. Although that will not be possible if you are live broadcasting. If you have to do a retake, then you want to be able to move the text with swipe movement on the iPad screen. It is easy to do that with the iPad application TelePrompt+ and you can set a countdown, as well as choosing text size colour, and background colour.

You write the scripts in a built in text editor or you can import them in from other applications, such as other text editors or Pages on the iPad.