What is a Teleprompter?
A teleprompter, often known as an autocue, is a device that displays the electronic text of a speech or script to the speaker.
The use of a teleprompter is analogous to using cue cards. The screen is normally placed in front of and below the lens of a professional video camera, and the words on the screen are mirrored to the presenter’s eyes via a sheet of clear glass or equivalent beam splitter, allowing them to be read without being captured by the lens.
The performer’s light enters the lens through the front side of the glass, while a shroud around the lens and the rear side of the glass filters out extraneous light. This operates similarly to Pepper’s Ghost, an old theater trick in which an image appears from one perspective but not from another.
The teleprompter gives the impression that the speaker has remembered the speech or is speaking spontaneously because the speaker can stare directly into the camera lens while reading the script. Notes or cue cards, on the other hand, require the presenter to look at them instead of the camera lens. This can make the speaker look distracted, depending on how far the speaker’s natural line of sight is from the camera lens and how long the speaker needs to glance away to find the next thing to say. Speakers who can internalize a full sentence or paragraph in a single short glance timed to natural breaks in the spoken cadence will create only a mumble.
In 1952, television presenters and speakers at US political conventions used mechanical paper roll teleprompters for the first time.
In 1964, two glass teleprompters were utilized by TV presenters and during US conventions.
In 1996, a big off-stage confidence monitor and an inset lectern monitor were added to the computer-based rolls of 1982 and the four-prompter system for US conventions.
In 2006, many big off-stage confidence monitors replaced glass teleprompters at UK political gatherings.
Modern news teleprompters are made up of a personal computer that is linked to video monitors on each professional video camera. In some systems, the PC connects to a separate display device to provide greater setup, distance, and cabling flexibility. The displays are frequently black-and-white, with the scanning reversed to compensate for the mirror’s reflection. A connected peripheral device features a knob that can be twisted to speed up, slow down, or even reverse the text scrolling. For the best readability, the text is typically shown in white letters on a black backdrop, with signals in reverse video (black on white). Difficult words (mostly international names) are spelled out phonetically, as with additional details such as “Nine-eleven” (to clarify that the event 9/11 should not be pronounced “nine-one-one”).
A screen on either side of the speaker frequently displays mirrored text from upward-facing floor monitors at the foot of a stand that supports a one-way mirror angled down towards the screen at the top. The speaker’s mirror reflects the text on the screen, while the audience sees what appears to be a sheet of tinted glass on each side of the speaker.
The glass teleprompters invented by Schlafly were also utilized at the Republican National Convention in 1956, as well as future conventions of both parties. In 1964, Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General at the time, who served in both the Kennedy and early Johnson administrations (1961–1964), delivered his convention speech using glass teleprompters.
The use of several off-stage confidence monitors also eliminates the necessity for glass teleprompters to be present on the conference stage, decreasing “stage clutter,” and eliminating the inherent limits on the speaker’s movement and field of vision imposed by on-stage glass prompters. The downside of such a system is that “huge teleprompters” are required to preserve the illusion of speaking with apparent spontaneity.
This variation on the traditional two-teleprompter setup is still used at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions: the two glass teleprompters on either side of the speaker’s lectern create the illusion that the speaker is looking directly at the audience in the hall, the monitor embedded in the lectern, and the fourth, much larger teleprompter screen, known as a ‘confidence monitor,’ placed immediately below the broadcast The location of the center prompter creates the illusion that the speaker is periodically staring directly into the camera lens, addressing the TV audience watching the televised Convention coverage.
The device is made up of a hollow shaft and a cylindrical bar with holes aligned with the bar’s edge. The perforations function as clip attachment points. As a result, the clips keep the sheet of paper attached to the bar. It contains a bolt that lets you alter the length of the cylindrical bar to fit your camera or paper. The device contains a hot shoe adapter for camera attachment and a cold shoe adapter at the top for installing a light or microphone.
As the reporter focuses on his camera, the interviewee looks at the sheet of paper with the write-ups to help the interviewees sail through the interview successfully. Questions can be written on paper for interviewees to answer without the interviewer interfering.