Often times as video crews, we get just one or two takes with a politician or executive because their time is very limited. We’re familiar with the line “Okay that was a great take, now we need to roll back the teleprompter script to the top and do another take in a tight shot. I promise, this is the last one.” If your CEO has a plane to catch, or another business meeting to attend, you can get a pretty bad stare, or a flat out refusal.
Editors are happy since the two views match action perfectly. To the performer, there is still just the one place to look and they appreciate the effort you’ve made to save their time. You can still do as many takes you like to get the best performance on teleprompter, but with the multiple cameras, it makes editing so much easier. And you typically don’t need any extra gear, just some prep for the configuration.
First, start with a large teleprompter hood. At Neil Tanner Inc, we carry two different large camera teleprompters. One is a 19″ hood that is rigid but has a flexible fabric hoop that needs to be cinched around the lenses. The other 22″ hood is one Neil made custom for using giant matte boxes. The glass is larger than the QTV hood, but the hood here is simply a piece of black fabric, like the old school photographers with their wet plate cameras.
You can place the cameras side by side, with the tripod legs interlaced, or get a special plate that holds two cameras on a single tripod. One crew took their DSLRs and stacked them on top of each other. Jim Thylin, one of our ace operators, somehow managed to get three cameras in a single teleprompter hood. Nicely done!
One caveat is that the teleprompter fabric and lenses must be relatively light tight. If you have a strong light behind the camera, make sure to close any gaps.