If you are not entirely sold on the idea of using a teleprompter for some of your upcoming productions, J.P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens may convince you to make the leap eventually. In the video below, US-based filmmaker shares his practical tips and tricks on utilizing a teleprompter on set. These insights will not only help you to decide whether you need to invest your hard earned cash in such a device and implement it in your productions but will also give you some useful ideas on how to take the most out of a teleprompter on a professional shoot.
First and foremost, try to find a portable and compact device that sets up quickly and is generally easy to use. An excellent example in that regard that also ticks all the boxes is the ikan PT1200 teleprompter. The unit features portable design with a large viewing size that can be quickly assembled in less than a minute. Considering the fact that the front glass is probably the most critical component of the system, it’s highly recommended to keep it dry and clean it thoroughly every time before you start rolling.
Make sure you also flag the teleprompter to prevent lens flares or other unwanted light leaks. Even a small and unnoticeable reflection could cause you a lot of troubles in post, so be prepared and do your homework beforehand. Additionally, make sure that type on the screen is large enough and can be clearly seen from the targeted distance if you want to get seamless performance out of your talent in front of the camera.
Furthermore, prepare and print your script. As a rule, have a few extra copies of the lines and mark off each section as you go trough the text with your talent thus making sure that you have covered each section from top to bottom. It’s also essential that the text is written in a conversational manner which should make it a lot easier to read as well.
It’s also recommended to have the performer stand at least eight to ten feet away from the camera so that it’ll be harder to see their eyes moving left and right especially if the teleprompter’s screen is slightly bigger than needed. Meanwhile, give enough time to the person who is operating the teleprompter and your talent to rehearse. Encourage your interviewee to use hand gestures and other nonverbal tricks to liven up their performance in front of the camera.
That approach should build a comfort level in reading the script and ultimately ease the overall tension in the actor. And, always remember that if you want to use a teleprompter as efficiently as possible on set, it may take you more time to prepare than expected but once you do, the results that you’ll be able to get for your productions will certainly pay off in the end.