What are the best settings for a teleprompter?
The exact settings required for your teleprompter setup will depend on the specific type and brand of teleprompter you are using, however, there are some common principles that should be adhered to:
The camera lens should centred on the back of the teleprompter glass/hood and as close to the glass as possible, without touching.
Centring the lens on the glass vertically can be achieved by adjusting the height of the hood up or down as required. On some teleprompter systems, you can also make adjustments to the height of the camera mounting plate to raise the camera up/down. However, this method should be avoided if at all possible (ideally by design from the manufacturer or by only moving the hood instead) because raising the camera away from the fluid head reduces your control of the on-camera weight and creates a pendulum effect when tilting the tripod up/down. Autocue Master and Professional Series systems do not require the camera to be moved away from the fluid head and this is a unique feature to our most advanced systems.
To ensure the lens is as close as possible to the back of the glass, you can move the camera mounting plate forward/ backwards towards or away from the glass. On all Autocue systems, this can be done without the need for tools and in one continuous plane of movement (rather than selecting from a finite number of preset positions), allowing you to easily adjust and optimise the camera position.
The monitor should be centred on the glass so that the whole image is reflected directly in to the eyeline of the presenter
The monitor position can also be adjusted vertically and horizontally in Autocue’s Master and Professional series systems (only horizontally in Starter Series) allowing you to centre the image on the glass and in front of the lens.
The teleprompter and camera should be centred over the fluid head as much as possible, to ensure the system is balanced and reduce or eliminate the need for counterbalance weights
Once the camera height and position is finalised, and the monitor is correctly positioned, you should try to move the bulk of the weight from the front (i.e. the teleprompter) back towards the fluid head, in turn moving the camera back slightly behind the fluid head. This ensures everything is as close to the pivot point of the fluid head as possible and also allows the weight of the camera to act as a natural counterbalance to the weight of the teleprompter on the front. On Autocue Master and Professional Series products this can be done without tools and in a continuous range of movement to ensure the optimal position and balance.
In summary, the true test of a good teleprompter design is how easily all of the above can be achieved – what is the range of movement of each element of the teleprompter (the hood, the camera plate, the monitor)? Can each adjustment be made without the need for tools? Do I have to choose from a limited number of preset positions? Does the camera need to always be raised in order to centre the lens on the glass? Can it accommodate different types of cameras and lenses?
At Autocue, we are proud to say that our Master and Professional Series have the design sophistication to offer the best and most flexible solutions against all of these measures. We challenge you to find a better mounting system. Our Starter Series employs as many of the same fundamental principles as possible, whilst compromising on some in order to provide a more cost-effective solution.
If you have any questions about rigging a teleprompter or the different features and designs available, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to clean teleprompter glass?
Glass is often damaged by not following the correct cleaning process and without realising the reflective coating is removed. All teleprompter glass should be carefully removed from the hood and cleaned in warm soapy water, or using a non-abrasive detergent. If you use a standard glass cleaning product, you will remove the reflective coating on the glass and it will need replacing.
Teleprompters: What is the best way to scroll?
The speed of a teleprompter can be controlled by either a dedicated teleprompter operator or the presenter themselves.
The operator would typically use a desk-based control with a scroll wheel (turn it round to faster, turn it back to go slower) with a number of programmable shortcut buttons e.g. jump to next item, change direction, skip to the start, black out the screen etc. The job of the operator is to follow the presenter, not lead him/her. They need to listen to the presenter and become familiar with their speaking speed and pattern. The operator should always be listening to the presenter as they speak and following their pace, pausing when they pause etc. so that the presenter is reading and speaking naturally rather than at a forced pace. It is for this reason that each presenter often uses the same operator over and over again, as they build a trusted relationship and understanding of how to work effectively as a team.
Alternatively, the presenter can scroll the script themselves, typically via a foot control (wired or wireless) or a wireless hand control that can be discreetly hidden from the audience. It may take some practice by the presenter to get used to scrolling and speaking at the same time, but once they’ve learnt the ropes, many presenters prefer having direct control themselves and not being reliant on anyone else. The presenter controls typically have fewer programmable buttons than the operator controls, but at the very least should have a change direction button in case the presenter scrolls too far ahead and needs to jump back to continue reading.
In larger studios, multiple controllers can be added to the system. This gives studios the choice of whether to use an operator or a presenter controller, and also allows for multiple presenters in the same studio. With Autocue’s unique QMaster/ QBox system, it is recommended to add at least one control to the QBox (rather than just the PC as is usual in a teleprompter setup), so that in the case that the PC, NRCS, network or QMaster software fails, the QBox still has the latest script stored and prompting can continue uninterrupted directly from there.