Putting a half-silvered mirror in front of the camera so the talent can read magically floating white letters scrolling upward while looking straight down the barrel of the camera lens is a great way to save the trouble of memorizing lengthy scripts and make shoots go faster, smoother and better.
Even without a mirror, you can put a laptop below, or above, the camera to achieve almost the same thing. But regardless of the hardware you choose to use, the usability of your set up will often depend more on your choice of software.
Here are seven ‘must have’ features to look for in any teleprompter software:
1. Easy Editing
When you are on the set, every second counts, so the first thing any good teleprompter software needs is great script editing functionality. Besides drag ‘n’ drop document import and a document save feature, your software should allow changes to text size, color, font and line spacing. (Colorizing specific sections of your script is particularly handy for designating different sections for multiple speakers or putting emphasis on specific words).
2. Quick Rewind
The ability to quickly rewind is essential for when the talent flubs a line, so look for software that utilizes the mouse wheel for this purpose.
3. Text Search
Likewise, superior software will have an in-built search function so you can quickly find a specific point in the script.
4 Second Talent Window
A second window is another feature that separates professional solutions from free teleprompter software. This allows you to have a purpose dedicated operator whose only job is controlling the teleprompter, leaving the talent to concentrate on their presentation.
5. Timing Assistant
One awesome feature to look for is a timer showing not only how long you’ve been reading, but which also tells you the total estimated read time based on the length of the script and how fast you are reading through it.
6. Adjustable Eyeline Indicator
Any decent teleprompter software will have an eye-line indicator to help the talent fix on a specific point on the monitor. But on less sophisticated software, this indicator will often be fixed and/or actually distract the talent. The best solutions allow you to adjust the height, opacity and size of this cue point.
7. Mirrored Text
For the ultimate in professional teleprompting, your prompter software should feature reversible text on the second talent window. Reversing the talent window means you can project the script off a half silvered mirror placed directly in front of the camera right-way-around to the talent . . . even if your hardware is just a cost-free DIY arrangement.
Whether you are a spokesperson, teacher, CEO or presidential candidate, you’ll find that a teleprompter could be your best friend on the set . . . but only if the teleprompter software includes these seven features.
For great Interrotron Rentals and Teleprompter Rentals in NYC call me and one of my friends or me will get you a great deal on a prompter and deliver it to your venue in the greater NY metro area. In LA I’ll connect you with Candice, my BFF doppelganger, out there in LA LA Land.
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