1Do I have to be experienced to use a teleprompter?

Nope. We have worked with people at all levels of experience. Some are seasoned professional speakers, and others are deep from the computer labs and totally new to speaking in front of people at all. Remember that public speaking is the number one fear! The teleprompter allows you to focus on your delivery rather than memorizing. It is a great aid to getting your message across. We also offer pre-show rehearsal days.

2Do you train people on how to use teleprompters?

That's often a big part of our job. We love helping people feel safe on-camera and on-stage. We heartily recommend remote or in-person rehearsals with you, us, and your director before the real event. We offer private training or group classes and are available to support your existing speaker coach with prompter gear, too.

3Help! We can't shoot in person. Do you prompt remotely?

Welcome to the (temporary) world of COVID-19 video and live event production. Actually, we've been doing these solutions for decades and foresee them being used long after we are free from lockdowns. Our operator stays in the safety of their home, with fast internet, and sends you a remote scrolling video feed to your laptop, phone, or our prompter we shipped to you. There is some latency going over distance, so we can also remotely control our laptops, which is more of a  technical challenge but more in sync.

4How do I give you my script?

Scripts are best delivered the day before, via e-mail in .txt, .rtf, .pages, .doc or .docx formats and in simple paragraph form (no PDFs, columns, or sections please). Please remove extraneous visual or stage cues. For the day of shoot or event, you can supply files to us on a USB drive. When you use shared, online forms like Google Docs, make sure all parties have stopped editing at a certain deadline so we can download and not worry about edits we don't know about! Once they're downloaded, best practices treat the prompter copy as the master version. Colors, underlines, and italics are typically added as necessary but bolding is often hard to differentiate in the large teleprompter fonts we use.

5Can you prompt with my Powerpoint or Keynote slides?

Yeesssss, but with a big caveat: We use our big prompter hoods and monitors to make the slides easier to see, but even then— if a slide is made up of tiny text, the presenter would want to be about four feet away, and their eyes would visibly dart all over the place, making it awkward and noticeable by the audience. Also, with the incredible resolution of modern cameras, the shift between dark or bright slides can actually be noticed by the viewer. Ultimately, if your speech is only on slides, make sure to rework them so the backgrounds are uniform and the text is large. Or, reduce them to just bullet points. Or, just strip the notes out and use them as a prompter script instead 🙂

6Will my camera fit your teleprompter?

Yes. Cameras and attachments are always evolving. So are we. We have a variety of teleprompters that play well with your standard broadcast camera, PTZ, DSLR, RED, Black Magic, Arri, Sony, or even film cameras— using short primes, fat Cookes and all the way up to gigantic Angenieux zooms. Big matte boxes, filters, LiteRings, and super complex follow focus rigs require some thought, but are normally usable. We’ve also successfully prompted using consumer cameras, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices too. We're honored to be part of the team that pioneered shooting and prompting with the iPhone.

7Do you carry that cool interrotron thing?

Direct to camera interviews were pioneered the master documentary filmmaker Errol Morris with his Interrotron. It makes for riveting results. People always ask if we rent it by itself. And while a few local Assistant Cameramen are trained on its assembly, we find it's best to bring our trained operators to deliver, setup and maintain an Interrotron so the AC can focus on their real job.

8What about the EyeLiner, EyeDirect, or VoxBox?

The EyeLiner and EyeDirect are devices that use mirrors to superimpose the director’s image over the lens—much like an Interrotron. The EyeLiner is an older version. We rent out the newest EyeDirect Mark II. It’s great: you’re in eye-contact-heaven. Body gestures too! The lens opening is 140mm. The VoxBox is a newer system from Britain which improves on certain areas of the EyeDirect.

9What is the difference between an Interrotron, VoxBox, and EyeDirect?

The results are mostly the same. The Interrotron requires electricity, an extra tripod, camera, cables and often a technician to set it up. However, for long interviews it’s best for the director to sit comfortably wherever they want and the Interrotron is perfect for this. With the Eyedirect or VoxBox, it’s quicker to set up, and can always be rented without a technician. It does however require the director to stand, sit, or squat at lens height for the duration of the take. The director’s face is in the frame, but the body is right nearby, so body gestures are perfectly visible and useful: just imagine how you would use your hands in a standard conversation. With the Interrotron, body gestures are visible depending on how the director is framed in the lens. It could be just the head, or whole torso. The EyeDirect is the original from Texas, the VoxBox is a newer design from the UK.

10Can I interview the speaker from the safety of my home?

Absolutely. Stay safe! You don't need to fly even after lockdowns are gone. Be green 🙂 We take your Zoom, Meet, or Webex feed and display it in our prompter. Then we take the camera feed here, and encode that back to you. And voila! You're having direct eye contact like you were there in person. We rent flypacks, too!

11What do you think about voice-activated prompting apps?

We admire the technology. And as a practice tool for people by themselves, those apps can't be beat. We have observed that when you need to make rapid edits or you have a VIP waiting to go, using a dedicated operator and professional laptop-based software is the safest way to go. Our operators are dedicated to listening to you and editing the script. We're also great at making formatting choices to ensure your words flow well. A human's touch can't be beat... yet 🙂

12What about iPad prompters?

Much of the world is adopting iPad for work and entertainment. And, admittedly, iPad prompters are great for one-man bands or really limited budgets. However, we would ask if it’s something you would want to put your CEO in front of.  The computer software we provide is time-tested and smooth, while our teleprompters are bright, big, and made just for this purpose.

13Can I use Steadicam with a teleprompter?

Absolutely. Neil used to operate a Steadicam EFP back in the day, and really has an appreciation for what skilled operators have to do when carrying a ton of gear while dancing around people. So, our rigs are wireless and battery powered just as you'd expect. And much like your audio tech, we also have backup systems that can be cabled when necessary. Read our more detailed blog post here.

14How much do you charge?

That really depends on your application, location, and what’s needed. What matters ultimately is that we have the right gear for all situations. With our many years of experience, we will make your speaker look their best. What is that worth to you? We have had to rescue other operators before and have been amazed at how many companies call us after going with the cheapest route first. Give us a call, and we’ll make sure you’re satisfied.

15Do you do Union gigs?

If your production is at a Local 16 facility, then, yes, we can be Union. Call us to see if we’re available, then request our specific associate in your Labor Call

16Do you rent just the equipment?

Absolutely. Normally we go out with the teleprompter systems, as we know all sorts of tricks and can help you in other areas, too. However, our teleprompter gear is available for rental and has been shipped around the world, including Australia, Hawaii, and the South Pole. Training is available for all systems and required for some of the more technical rigs. Of course, we’re also available for phone assistance when you are using the gear on site.  The client is responsible for delivery and return. However, for an additional fee, we can do delivery, assembly, and return.

17Why don’t I just buy my own teleprompter?

You certainly could. We find, though, that when people buy systems, the equipment sits on the shelves for most of the year, and their needs change. Also, interns and production assistants who know how to operate these systems come and go. We will always have the quality gear and services you need right now. If you do need to purchase one, feel free to consult with us and try out one of ours first. Above all, please do not simply buy the cheapest prompter product.

18I have a script in Spanish. Do you prompt in other languages?

We speak enough French and Spanish to have confidently prompted en español and en français. We have also worked in German, Italian, Czech, Portuguese, and even Chinese characters. Do we know what they just said in Portuguese? Honestly, no. But what matters is that we can follow their pace perfectly. We’ve also trained native speakers of other languages to operate our systems on site. Any language character set is available. Our gear and our team continue to fly around the world.