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A teleprompter can be used for several things, including to make the presenter look as if they are word perfect in their presentation or delivery. Thus, making them better communicators and appear more competent and trustworthy.
Here are eight ways you can use a teleprompter when recording videos.
- Avoids the need to learn your script
- A teleprompter helps keep you on track
- You won’t forget important points
- Ensures you cover all the points you intended
- Prevents the video becoming too long
- It can help set the timing of the video
- Gives you confidence in front of the camera
- Makes your videos more personal
Let me guide you through each of these uses of a teleprompter.
So you don’t need to learn your script by heart
A teleprompter allows the presenter to deliver a long script, that can be rich in detail, without having to learn any lines. In addition, a teleprompter allows the presenter to be word perfect in delivering his/her lines while looking into the camera lens. It helps create a greater connection between the presenter and the viewer than if the presenter were looking off to the side of the camera.
Teleprompters are frequently used in TV or News studios since the presenter will usually be reading a script written by someone else. The script on the teleprompter may even be updated remotely and controlled by others, allowing the presenter to concentrate on their delivery.
A script on a teleprompter ensures you don’t forget anything
If you wing your video presentation, it’s very easy to inadvertently forget some important points. I’m sure we’ve all done it at one time or another. But it might not be a section of your video you’ve forgotten; it could be the order in which you need to mention various points or the correct name or number.
In all cases, a script on a teleprompter will ensure not only that you included all the necessary information, but you also get it all correct. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to edit and realize you need to go back and rerecord part of the video.
A teleprompter can help keep you on track
A teleprompter can help you make videos even if you don’t want to write a script.
If you know the topic inside-out or want to record a presentation you give regularly to a small audience, you might want to wing your video presentation.
Winging it is OK provided you are prepared. Without preparation, your video could become a little disorganized and difficult to watch. It could also cause problems for you when you try to edit the footage.
By preparation, I mean having a good idea of what you are going to say and the order in which you are going to say it. Traditionally you would do that by using cue cards with notes or write out headings on a flip chart. Alternatively, you might use PowerPoint slides.
But you could put your headings or bullet points on a teleprompter. The advantage is that you’ll appear more professional and an expert because you don’t need to look at any notes.
When you’re winging your presentation, put your ordered bullet point on a teleprompter. You don’t need the text to scroll continuously up, just use a remote controller to advance the list as necessary.
Teleprompters prevent videos from becoming too long
Whatever type of video you’re recording, it’s easy to go off at tangents or expand too much on your topic. It’s your job to be as good a communicator as possible, and that means including everything that’s important and leaving out what’s not required. This is especially true if you’re recording teaching or training videos.
If you use a teleprompter, you, or someone else, will write the content in advance. This allows the script to be reviewed and edited to make improvements before you ever get close to turning on the video camera.
When editing the script, you can take out the fluff and unnecessary parts. This stops the video from becoming bloated and increasing in length. This will save you recording and editing time, but more importantly, hopefully, keep your viewer watching until the end.
Your viewer has given you the courtesy of watching, return the compliment by respecting their time.
Teleprompters can be used to set the length of your video
Normally I would adjust the scroll speed of the text on my teleprompter, so it matches my preferred talking pace. However, you could use the teleprompter to ensure your video matches a preferred length.
By adjusting the text scroll speed, you can speed up or slow down your delivery. Naturally there is a limit to how fast or slow you can go. Reading very quickly may not only be difficult to do but may also make what you’re saying difficult to follow and understand. On the other hand, having to read very slowly will sound equally weird. But, within sensible limits, a teleprompter can be used so you conform to certain time limits.
A teleprompter could even be used to help your timing when winging your presentation. The way to do this is to enter your section headings or bullet points into the teleprompter’s editor and then add a few carriage returns between them. Next, reduce the scroll speed so the text moves up the screen very slowly. By using a combination of line returns between the headings and a slow scroll speed you can set the time before the next section heading appears on the screen.
Give you confidence in front of the camera
Another reason to use a teleprompter is that it can give you the confidence to get in front of the camera. Not all of us are natural speakers and have the gift of “the gab”. However, you can probably write down your thoughts to make a reasonable script. The teleprompter then becomes a tool, or crutch, that lets you present to the camera. You won’t need to remember your script or worry about going off-topic, and if you make a mistake, you can easily pick up the script from the start of the last line.
Using a script and teleprompter ensures everything that needs to be in the video gets recorded. There’s nothing worse than trying to “wing” a recording and later discovering that you forgot to mention stuff or that you got a figure or detail wrong.
Teleprompters can be used to make your videos more personal
For me, the biggest reason for using a teleprompter is because it helps you to be personal, to get the viewer to engage with and trust you. All of that is important if you want people to watch for longer. And it improves the chances of your viewer responding positively if you ask them to do something, like subscribe to your channel, like the video, or click on an affiliate link. Unless you’ve engaged with your viewer and got them to trust you, they’re unlikely to do any of that.
The pandemic has shown us how often inexperienced presenters often fail to engage with the viewer. Instead of interviewing experts in the studio, broadcasters have link-up with people in their own homes using Zoom or Skype. All too often the person looks at their screen rather than the webcam, or even worse, they’ll look around the room as if on a phone call.
So, what’s wrong with that?
The problem is that by not looking into the lens of your camera, you won’t be looking at the viewer and engaging with them. And as I said, engagement is important.
Think of it this way. Imagine you’re having a face-to-face conversation with someone. Because you’re interested in the person, for whatever reason, you look at their face and especially their eyes. You may not know it, but that eye contact helps to build a connection and trust between you and the other person.
Now, consider having a conversation with a person who looks around the room while you’re speaking to them. In fact, perhaps they hardly ever look at you while you’re talking. What non-verbal message are they sending, and how would you feel?
It would tell me that they’re not interested in speaking to me and are looking for a way to get out of the conversation. If they have that behavior while speaking to me, I might even question the truth of what they’re saying. That’s because when someone is lying, they often avert their vision because looking someone in the eye and lying usually makes most people unconsciously feel awkward or embarrassed.
If someone were ignoring me with their eyes, so to speak, emotionally I’d certainly feel hurt and even offended because it’s a kind of insult or put-down. As a result, I’d feel less inclined to do anything the person asked or accept what they’re saying as the truth. In short, I just wouldn’t trust them.
So, using a teleprompter forces you to look at your viewer and maintain eye contact. This will help you establish a better relationship with your viewer, making them more likely to respond positively when you make a request. That’s great if you’re trying to grow an audience, get viewers to click links, or buy a product.
When recording a video, whether you want to read a script or just wing it, a teleprompter can prove very useful. It can even be used in ways the manufacturer had not intended. But the main use of a teleprompter is to help you include all the details in your script without the need to memorize the wording.
Here are some of my favorite content creation tools
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Hopefully, you found it helpful in creating your own content for your social media and YouTube channels. I have listed some of the gear I use as a YouTuber and online course creator and hope you’ll also find it useful. I have recommended this equipment to my readers and my own family and friends.
Camera: You can use your smartphone when starting out, but I’d recommend getting a Mirrorless Camera. I use both the Canon EOS R and EOS R6. Both can shoot Full HD or 4K, and the Eye AutoFocus will keep you sharply in focus even if you move around. If your budget is smaller, I would recommend the Canon M50 MkII.
Video microphone: Arguably, sound quality is more important than video quality, that’s why I use a Deity V-Mic D3 Pro super-cardioid shotgun microphone on my mirrorless cameras. It automatically powers on when I turn on my camera and powers down when I switch off the camera. But I also like the versatility of the mic. It automatically senses what device it is connected to ensuring it works with SLRs, camcorders, smartphones, Handy recorders, laptops, and bodypack transmitters.
Video Lighting: Although daylight is my favorite lighting, I use LED lighting for all the videos I shoot indoors because good lighting can make a tremendous difference to the visual appeal of a video. For video calls on Zoom or Teams, I use the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit. For YouTube videos and creating video tutorials for online courses, I love the Lume Cube 18″ Cordless Ring Light Kit. Both these lights are excellent, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them.
Teleprompter software: I use the iCue teleprompter app on my iPad when using it with a traditional beam-splitter teleprompter and control it remotely with the iCue Remote app on my iPhone. On my PC I use Teleprompter Pro from the Microsoft Store.
Teleprompter hardware: Teleprompters help you present to the camera without needing to learn your script. When I need more screen space and the durability of an all-metal build, I like the Glide Gear TMP100 beam-splitter teleprompter. It works with my mirrorless cameras and uses an iPad or tablet to run the teleprompter software.
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Tosh Lubek runs an audio and video production business in the UK and has been using the Canon EOS R since it was released in the Autumn of 2018 and the Canon EOS R6 in 2020. He has used both cameras to shoot TV commercials broadcast on Sky TV, promotional business videos, videos of events and functions, and YouTube creator content. He has also won several international awards for his advertising and promotional work. You can meet him by visiting his “video booth” at HashTag Business Events across the country.
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