Author Archive for Greg Stephenson

Why Use a Prompter for a Live Event?

Why Use a Prompter for a Live Event?

The teleprompter is a valuable asset not just for presenters but for meeting planners and content managers, too.

Meeting Planners. Scripted presenters finish on time, so your session is more likely to stick to the schedule you worked so hard to establish. Use rehearsals to time presenters’ speeches and keep them aware of what follows on the agenda (i.e., what’s going to get screwed up if they run over).

Content Managers. Teleprompter rehearsals help you preview the arc of a meeting across several speakers and to uncover overlapping information in separate presentations. These rehearsals also provide valuable milestones for monitoring everyone’s progress before the event.

Presenters. It’s a memory device and a safety net; it keeps you on track and on time. And now, because you don’t have to worry about remembering what to say, you can put more effort into how you say it, using your tone of voice, pace and emphasis to deliver a more interesting performance.

  • It keeps your head up. You can read from a script without looking down at paper. You’ll look better on stage, on the big screen and in the video recording of your performance.
  • It keeps you accurate. Sensitive topics need to be discussed in appropriate terms; misspeak, and you may distract your audience from the rest of your message.
  • It keeps you on track. You have limited time to convey your message. Write, rehearse and deliver your speech to fit your time limit, and keep the meeting planner happy.
  • It keeps you in synch. PowerPoint and videos are cued to your script. You don’t have to advance a graphic or ask for a video roll, because your production crew can follow your script, and give you what you want, when you want it, without your asking
  • It keeps you up front. There’s no printed-out script to distract the audience. They can’t see the script, they’re never aware you’re reading from it; they’ll never notice even a Presidential Glass, unless you draw attention to it.

Contact Dallas Prompter for your next live event.

Frequently Asked Questions About Live Events

Frequently Asked Questions About Live Events

Here are a few questions we get about Live Event prompting:

How do I control the scrolling words?
You control the words with your pace: your prompter operator listens as you speak and adjusts the scrolling speed to match.

Can I trust the prompter operator to stay with me?
W e l l . . . You can trust us to stay with you. Unfortunately, some companies regard teleprompter operation as an entry-level position. If you’re working with an unfamiliar operator, we suggest a test drive:

  • Introduce yourself and ask how long they’ve been prompting.
  • Give the operator a couple of script changes and watch as they type; you can tell if they’re familiar with the system.
  • The acid test: rehearse.

If the operator doesn’t seem competent with the software, or doesn’t match your pace, ask (respectfully but firmly) for a better operator.

Do I need my glasses to see the prompter?
Some people can read a prompter without glasses. It depends on your eyesight and other variables. Give it a try and see for yourself. (And bring your spectacles just in case.)

This is my first time to give a speech with a teleprompter. What do I need to know?
We suggest three basics for first-time prompter users:

  1. The teleprompter operator follows you, so you can set the pace.
  2. You can still ad-lib; your prompter operator will pause the text.
  3. Presidential Prompters offer you two glass panels to read from. Avoid frequent, “metronomic” head turns as you switch between panels. Push yourself to stay with each panel for longer than (at first) feels comfortable; use the start of a new sentence – or, even better, introduction of a new topic – as a reason to change the direction of your gaze.

I want to walk around the stage. Can I still use the prompter?
Yes. We can display the prompter copy on several large video monitors in front of the audience, facing the stage; when you look at a monitor, you appear to be looking at the audience beyond it. (Let your audiovisual producer know in advance if you want to work this way, because it might require extra equipment.)

Can I ad-lib?
Yes, you can ad-lib. It’s entirely natural to change the words a little as you give your speech.

Will the audience know I’m using a prompter?
Not if you don’t tell them. (Our pet peeve: when presenters mention the teleprompter in ad-lib comments to the audience.) Unless you sound like you’re reading, they can’t tell. So write, revise and rehearse your script until it sounds conversational.

Can I speak to my PowerPoint slides?
Yes. You don’t need to read your slides word-for-word (which is incredibly boring to the audience), and you won’t have to put every word you say on-screen. Having a prompter script puts the words in your mouth, so your graphic can pick up the key points.

How much rehearsal do I need with the prompter?
We suggest rehearsing your script at least once.

Why Use a Video Prompter?

Why Use a Video Prompter?

You may be great speaking to a live audience but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong presence on camera. You don’t get the same sort of feedback from the glassy eye of a video camera. When you use a video prompter you’re ultimately helping the viewer focus on your message.

A prompter also nearly eliminates the need to ad lib. Most people struggle to ad lib on camera. If they perform a good take – usually after several attempts – they don’t remember what they said, so they can’t repeat it when the director asks for a retake.

And why do directors ask for a second good take? In the trade it’s called a “safety,” recorded just in case there’s a problem with the video clip or a verbal bobble nobody caught.

Our video prompter services are very affordable, especially when compared to the cost of the entire video. And it can help your personal ROI, too: you’ll record more good takes while expending less time and energy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Video Prompting

Here are a few questions we get about video prompting:

What file format do you need for scripts?
We prefer any version of MS-Word. No .pdf files please.

Will the teleprompter work with my small professional video camera?
Yes, we can build the prompter with any size camera.

How does the teleprompter attach to the camera?
We give you two options:

  • If you need to pan or tilt during a prompted shot, we build the prompter on a tripod, and then put the camera on the prompter. The weight of the prompter is on the tripod, not on your camera.
  • If your shot is a “lock off” (no panning or tilting required) we build the prompter on a separate stand, and you still have the “through the lens” effect. For more on this, see Prompter on a Stand

Will my tripod support the weight of the camera & teleprompter?
A small camera paired with a 15” prompter requires a counterbalance, and the total load on the tripod is about 30 lb. We suggest you research the specifications for your tripod. Or give us the specific model number of your tripod, and we’ll find out for you. We can provide a load bearing tripod if needed.

We want our talent to look away from the camera, as if they’re speaking to an interviewer. Can we put the prompter next to the camera?
Yes. We call that “interview style” or off-camera prompting. We’ll place a monitor on a stand next to the camera, so your on-camera talent appears to be looking at an interviewer.

What are the options for an Interrotron?
It depends on the project. Contact us and we’ll explain the options and help you develop a custom Interrotron solution for your project.

Is the prompter readable in a sunny exterior scene ?
Yes. Our Hi-Bright monitors are sunlight readable and work well for interiors, too. They’re available in a variety of displays, and can accommodate cameras of all sizes. If you’re planning to shoot exterior with a prompter, let us know in advance.

My VIP talent is concerned about reading the prompter. How large are the letters?
It depends on the size of the prompter monitor, the distance, and the font. Our 15” prompter usually displays letters at about 1 to 1½ inches in height. For people with vision problems, we recommend either our 17” or 19″ prompter. These are among the largest flat panel on-camera displays available.

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