The Interrotron - What is it?
The Interrotron allows a nervous interviewee to see the interviewer’s face instead of the camera lens whilst presenting directly to the camera. Developed by Errol Morris, a US film director, his goal was “that I could be talking to someone, and they could be talking to me and at the same time looking directly into the lens of the camera. Now, there was no looking off slightly to the side. No more faux fi rst person. This was the true fi rst person.”
Today there are two variants, a Passive system which uses refl ections by way of a customised prompting hood and refl ector and an Active system which takes a video feed from a second camera feeding the prompter display.
I wished I had known about this before as it would have been the prefect prompting tool for the in house video productions we used to produce for our channel and customers at Sony.
Our presenters tended to be from our marketing team and whilst very knowledgeable on the kit and clients were not necessarily all great presenters and even when reading prompt some could be rather stilted. The Interrotron takes these limitations away so a Presenter can do a piece to camera through the lens but as if it was a two shot interview and are not intimated by looking just at the lens having a human face to react with!
What I am fi nding is that this little known technique when understood adds real value at very effective costs. It moves prompting from just “reading words” to an interview style approach and builds confi dence to camera while maintaining the all-important eye line - a real production advantage!
The 32” Picture Prompter. This may be a one off but I do think helps demonstrate how Directors and DoP’s are now using Teleprompters for applications other than words. The call came in from ITV Productions who wanted a particular look and feel for their World Cup Campaign Trailer.
The idea was they would have a number of big close ups of supporters watching a TV game and wanted the refl ection of the TV they were watching refl ected in skin tone and eyes. We all supposed that this would be done in post-production but it worked out that using a prompting screen with a 32” monitor and shooting the reactions “through” the TV would give them, within the budget, the look and feel that they wanted.
The rig they used is shown above and do check out the results on You Tube that again demonstrates how prompting devices are extending from just script support! (www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvkYZfL1IBI)
Conclusions At the start of this article I asked the question is this a new age for Teleprompting?
Maybe that is a claim too far but what I hope I have demonstrated is that Teleprompting is providing more production value than ever before and that this can be word and image prompting.
What next? We think the next big thing in prompting will be the adoption of IP technologies that allow operator and talent to be in different locations. The technology is pretty much ready to rock and roll but there are still concerns in production as to how this will work given the fundamental relationship between operator and talent and how any delay or latency can destroy this.
If any of this pushed your buttons do give as a call at Portaprompt to see how Prompting could make a signifi cant difference to your next production.
Jon joined Portaprompt, a boutique prompting company based in High Wycombe UK, as the Sales and Marketing Manager in January 2013.
Prior to this he had worked for over 30 years with Sony Professional Solutions Europe’s in a variety of sales, marketing and senior management roles initially in the UK and since 1999 across Europe.
He also during the 80’s spent several years in the UK Broadcast Dealership in London
Apparently according to a Linked in endorsement “What Jon doesn’t know about broadcast vendor strategic, product and trade marketing is probably not worth exploring”