Can I Use a Teleprompter?

It’s always impressive when someone can stand up in front of a group and speak eloquently about a particular topic.

It’s even more impressive when they can do this without referring to their notes.

There are some very gifted teachers, speakers, and clergy who do this so well they make it seem easy–often seeming to be “possessed” as they speak.

On the other hand, there are people who, despite their obvious expertise in the particular subject matter, have absolutely no business standing in front of an audience, as evidenced by the heads nodding off to sleep in complete and total boredom.

Of course, there’s a vast “middle ground” where most people fall, and the most common way to address this lack of confidence is to avoid the situation entirely. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s more important than ever to use all the options at your disposal in marketing your products and services, and because of the “MTV” orientation of today’s market, video–in the form of YouTube and webinars–is becoming essential.

Look Ma, I’m on TV!!!
Since most people aren’t born with the gift of “oration” there are many other options available, most notably, the use of the Teleprompter.

These are special displays that show the copy to be read using “invisible” screens that are placed in front of the camera or between the speaker and a live audience.

This concept actually predates the technology that makes it possible – “cue cards” were used in the past, and still are, for example, on shows like Saturday Night Live. In fact, Marlon Brando, playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather, was said to have never memorized his lines, relying instead on cue cards!

The problem is that for most of us, the cost of these Teleprompter systems can be prohibitively expensive.

Fortunately, there are affordable solutions you can use, and by “affordable” I mean free.

A Teleprompter...on My Phone?!
DV Prompter (Exhibit #2) is a free app you can download from the iTunes store or Android Market.

It lets you load a file, and then it scrolls the text in a large font (adjustable, of course) so you can read the copy without having to look down at your notes or turn pages.

You can rig a device to hold the phone near your camera (or your laptop’s webcam) and appear to be speaking directly to the viewer.

If you prefer a bigger screen, you can use another free application called Mirrorscript (www.freetelepromptersoftware.com) that’s available on both Mac and PC platforms. (Exhibit #3)

But I Want to Look Professional!
Even if you position the viewing device near the camera, it will still be offset slightly from the camera. It’s not that bad, really, as I can vouch for from several videos we’ve produced, but there are some very affordable solutions that can give you that professional “through the lens” look that newscasters and other “spokespeople” use.

You can find these options at http://www.telepromptermirror.com. We’re looking into these options and will let you know how they work out.

The bottom line is that you no longer need to avoid using videos because you’re uncomfortable speaking to an audience–if you can read out loud, you’re halfway there now!