While teleprompter technology has changed greatly since their development in the 1950s, their primary use has not changed; that is to provide a user with the text needed to relate a message to an audience. However, not only has the technology changed during the more than 60 years that teleprompters have been in use, who uses them has also changed, and that is reflected in the many types and sizes of teleprompters that are now available.
All levels of government video producers are using teleprompters, and those producers have to consider the costs involved, as well as how easy the equipment can be deployed. That has prompted teleprompter producers are offering products that fill the different levels of production as well as specific niches.
Autoscript’s Entry Level Professional (ELP)15
A good place to start a teleprompter product guide with a product designed for fledgling producers. Those producers might want to consider Autoscript’s Entry Level Professional (ELP) prompters, specifically the ELP15 On Camera Prompter.
ELP prompters are available as replacements for television tube prompters, but are not simply a rehashed computer monitor or cheap low-end monitor, but designed for purpose prompting, according to Autoscript, which has its U.S. office in Shelton, Conn.
Those prompters can be mounted directly onto Autoscript hoods, retaining glass and mounting assembly, according to David Cox, key accounts manager for Autoscript. Using specially designed “hybrid” brackets those prompters can replace CRT prompters from the other major prompting manufacturers. In addition, the ELP15 uses 50 percent less power, has a 20 degree wider viewing angle, and a 20 percent reduction in weight.
Public, education and government (PEG) broadcasters should consider the ELP15 because it is designed for broadcasters who do not operate within a news automation system, Cox said. The unit is designed for basic users, fledgling users, he said adding, “the term ‘entry level prompter’ is well used in this case.”
COMPUTER PROMPTING & CAPTIONING
Teleprompters need software to function and Computer Prompting & Captioning (CPC), of Rockville, Md. offers the CPC-1000 SmartPrompter software to fulfill those needs, says Dilip Som, CPC’s president. Som adds that CPC produced the software for the first IBM PC teleprompter.
Today, the CPC-1000 software runs on desktop and notebook computers, works with all teleprompter monitors and helps attain compliance with federal captioning regulations, according to Som. The software also has special features including a story list; number identification of speakers, number identification of segments and of teleprompting files; and it will move “from one to another [of those] by clicking a button,” he said. It also checks spelling in both English and Spanish, and files can be typed in Microsoft Word, and copied and pasted where needed, he said.
TeleScript of Norwood, N.J., is offering a line of professional prompting “packages” it calls TeleScript TECH-FPS170V. The package combines Telescript’s latest prompting software—TeleScript TECH—with a lower cost 17-inch on-camera prompter that contains its Fold-and-Go mounting hardware.
While TeleScript TECH is a new addition to the company’s line of professional prompting software, it is based on TeleScript JR, the company says, adding the software making up TeleScript TECH has undergone over 3,500 changes, updates, and additions. TECH incorporates advanced editing, direct 3D smooth scrolling, and the ability to “flip” an image directly through the software with the image appearing normal to the person at the computer while being appropriately reversed on the prompter monitor, Telescript says. In addition, TECH adds direct translation of DOC and DOCX files, and also offers the option of using Telescript’s popular 10 Button USB Hand Control, a foot pedal, or a wheel mouse, the firm says.
Tiffen of Hauppauge, N.Y. has introduced a four-inch prompter—the PW-04—that attaches to the lens of a small camera. “It comes with a case and remote control and software, so the user is ready to go,” says Ray Blumenthal, Tiffen’s vice president of broadcast systems. The PW-04 provides professional video prompting in the palm of the user’s hand, he said.
T he PW-04 is designed to attach to small video cameras because those are what are now popular, Blumenthal said. The PW-04 is useful for producing instructional videos, small productions, school plays, public speaking, speeches, interviews, quick blogging, YouTube/Vimeo videos, podcasting, video blogging, or delivering pre-scripted information by organizations and schools, he said.
In addition, the “biggest interest has been from public access stations and their independent producers,” Blumenthal said. The feedback from users of the PW-04 is that once the teleprompter is attached to a camera that is mounted on a tripod, that system enables it to be “a one-man crew” because it has wireless remote control that scrolls at the pace of the user, he said. It comes with five different lens adapters—46mm, 43mm, 40.5mm, 37mm and 30.5mm that are threaded to fit those lenses—and with an ABS hard case for complete protection and free software.
Autocue’s Master Series Prompter 17
Moving from small to large teleprompters requires a look at Autocue’s—of New York—17 inch Master Series Prompter (MSP 17) that is a LED-based prompter, says Charlie Gomez, an Autocue salesman. The MSP has a dimmable tally light—which provides “very low power consumption;” a new hood and glass system; and is a high-bright system so it can be used both outdoors and indoors, he said.
The MSP 17 is also equipped with Autocue’s pro-plate system making it easier to balance and perform maintenance on cameras it is attached to without having to take apart the prompter, Gomez said. The prompter’s “biggest feature” is it is a “high bright,” making it bright enough for any lighting situation, he said. There is also substantial bracketry and hood providing a robust and resilient solution; it has a flexible mounting system, the Pro Plate (or rods for large studio box lenses), which slides backwards and forwards to accommodate any size camera; it is designed to provide instant access to the glass; and a hidden compartment for a cloth and solution, making cleaning and replacing the glass much more convenient.
Prompter People’s Robo Prompter
Government audiovisual departments that use robotic camera systems to record meetings are increasing looking to use teleprompters with those cameras, which is why Prompter People Inc. of Campbell, Calif. developed the Robo Prompter, says Mark Ditmanson, the company’s CEO. Public agencies are increasing using robotic cameras and there has been a desire to place teleprompters in those public meeting rooms, but they have not been able to get a good teleprompter solution to do that, he said.
However, the Robo Prompter is made specifically for robotic cameras, which are being used more by those entities because they have preset zooming and panning, Ditmanson said. In addition, those systems eliminate some of the camera people from the equation thereby cutting costs, he said. The Robo Prompter “is an all-in-one enclosure” on the camera,” he said. “This teleprompter would work will with that type of situation.”