Probation Office Stays Professional With Prompter People

Prompter People helps U.S. Probation Office stay professional.
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The U.S. Probation Office in Idaho uses a Prompter People prompter.

At the U.S. Probation Office in Idaho, we have been experimenting with ways to improve communication throughout the district.

Our staff was spread-out between five offices in the state with the closest being 120 miles away from our headquarters in Boise and the furthest office was 450 miles away in Coeur d’ Alene. We decided that video was one of the best ways to deliver a clear and concise message to our staff.

Our original use of video presentations came about when our chief wanted to address the district with important messages; we called it “Chief TV.” We started with a consumer camcorder and an iPad as a prompter.

The iPad worked well as a prompter but we always had to try and prop it up using books and other devices. Another problem we had was that no matter how close we put the iPad to the camera lens, it still looked like the person speaking was looking below the lens and reading a script.

Seeing the success of using video to send messages to the staff convinced us to invest in better equipment. We purchased a Tricaster 40 from Newtek, three Sony HD cameras, four Samson wireless microphones, a small Peavey audio mixer and an Ultralight iPad prompter from Prompter People.

By purchasing the Ultralight iPad prompter, we were able to use our iPad to project the words on reflective glass that the camera shoots through. The results have been excellent―the person speaking now looks straight into the lens.

The setup of the prompter was very easy and straightforward. We looked at several different choices before purchasing the Ultralight but many other prompters looked flimsy and not very adjustable to different camera sizes. 

Recently, we expanded our video production to include live streaming. We use Wowza for local streaming to our offices and to send our broadcasts through the Internet.

The live stream allows us to communicate with our stakeholders throughout the state, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, drug-testing facilities, probationers and the general public. During the live stream, our audience can type in questions for the speaker, which is a great way to reach a lot of people and have instant communication with them. 

To keep the speaker on track during a live show, the prompter is a must-have. It’s been a great tool for making our productions informative and looking professional.

Mark Masselli is an IT manager for the U.S. Probation Office in Boise, Idaho. He can be reached at