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  • Writer's picturePeter Murray

The Advantage of Using a Teleprompter

The best and most practical method of delivering lines is a teleprompter. Do you remember public speaking class in school? Didn’t we spend hours memorizing our lines, and then as soon as it was our turn we blanked. Some people still get the shakes just thinking about standing at the front of a room to make an announcement, propose a toast or deliver a speech.

Believe it or not, speaking in front of a camera is just as nerve-racking. Even the most polished performers use tricks of the trade to keep their cool when getting the message across professionally. Some actors wear a micro earplug to play back lines for the TV camera and if you are practiced enough it can work; but look carefully at their eyes and you can see most are looking at a teleprompter.

Original teleprompter designs used scrolls of paper that were manually cranked by technicians. Early improvements included using cameras and paper on conveyor belts to splash the words across monitors. It was clumsy, but effective. Pages out of sequence or other technical difficulties could lead to disastrous events when television was young and mostly a “live” endeavor.

Now, there is a reflective glass in front of the camera you look into. It is fed via a small colour monitor that receives its content from a laptop. (And some models use just the laptop). The audience only sees you looking out of their television set. The one-way pane shows you the words, unseen by the camera. No longer big and clumsy, newer units work with smart phones and the smaller hand-held cameras.

A first-time user will always ask about the speed at which the text goes by and it is the prompter operator that ensures it goes by at “your speed”. At the controls, he or she will adjust it “on the fly” to your pace. A rehearsal is still the best way to get things started, giving the prompter operator a chance work with you and to review the script and pacing.

No technology can prevent a practical joke for fun. In the old days, a technician might write something silly or rude for an unsuspecting actor to read on live TV. At Omni Media we sometimes fool with the font size to make you believe you need glasses. It is actually a nerve calming technique we use. The joke ends when the size is increased to the point you can easily read your words and everyone has a chuckle.

Today’s use of computers makes a huge difference in polishing your performance and fooling many viewers into thinking your memorization techniques were well-honed in grade school!

About Omni MediaL

Omni Media Productions is a long established television production company based in Ontario, Canada. Our level of expertise provides top-notch video production services across Canada and internationally. We have gained success due to the personalized service and well-maintained equipment that we bring to every project.

Our highly knowledgeable on-staff Ontario film crews will execute pro-level videography, webcasting, and video editing services. Utilizing professionals with years of video production experience is essential for any project. Omni Media Productions strives to exceed the expectations of our clients, and helps turn their vision into a reality.

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