There was a time, not so very long ago, when high-resolution video cameras, non-linear editing suites and the ability to reach millions of potential viewers were exclusively the domain of TV stations. All that has changed in the past decade or so. What many New Media on-camera personalities still lack, however, is the smooth, polished delivery of professional TV hosts. Is that because the Big Boys and Girls have journalism degrees and years of experience? Perhaps partly, but it’s also because they have a teleprompter feeding them their lines. Now, you can have yours fed to you too, by getting a Prompt-it – a gizmo that turns your iPhone into a teleprompter-on-a-budget. Take that, Oprah Winfrey!
The professional teleprompter (or “TelePrompTer”, to use the actual trademarked name) is quite a clever yet simple invention. The host’s script is electronically scrolled up a video screen, with the text displayed backwards. That screen lies on its back, pointing up at the ceiling, but a slanted piece of one-way glass mounted above it catches its reflection, and displays the text the right way around to the host. The camera sits on the other side of that glass, actually shooting through the reflection of the script. The result is a host who can unerringly read their script off a video screen, while simultaneously looking directly into the lens of the camera. The speed at which the text scrolls can be continuously controlled, so the host doesn’t get ahead or fall behind.