Picking the right prompter


Jon Hilton# TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Jon Hilton
Issue 104 - August 2015

There is so much choice available today for prompting devices. From phones and tablets to full Broadcast Studios systems and with non-word prompting techniques like Interrotrons becoming popular choosing the best prompting system for your productions needs some serious consideration.

1. The Talent comes first is one of the prime rules of prompting. The Operator follows the Talents speed of delivery, never the other way round.

2. Getting the right size screen and minimum reading distance is one of the first questions we get asked. We use our Reading Matrix to determine the maximum distance from presenter to camera lens. This is a suggestion as some presenters prefer larger screens to help with eyesight (without spectacles) issues!

3. Tablet or PC tends to be a cost driven decision. PC systems may be what you want but cant be cost justified whereas a self-driven tablet or Personal Prompter to buy or hire can. Sure tablet based systems have limitations. Be aware they work in standalone operation as there is no external script connections (which can also be a benefit for handheld operation), editing script changes is not as quick as on PC and finding a software / control system that will properly scroll rather than run at a fixed speed is paramount (we use Pico Prompt & i-glue / scroll). However anything that saves production budget by helping reduce the number of takes and makes your presenter look more professional is a must consider!

4. Interrotron is a technique developed in the 80s by Errol Morris, a US film director. It allows a nervous interviewee to see the interviewers face instead of the camera lens whilst they give their answers direct to the camera for a more natural delivery. This is especially useful when the presenter may not do this for a living or does not seem natural when reading. There are two variants a Passive system using reflections by way of a customised prompting hood and reflector and an Active system which takes a video feed from a second camera feeding the prompter display.

5. Direct Read is a technique used with Jibs, Cranes (and DronesJ) where you do not want to be flying mirrors and glass over the studio floor (Health and Safety) or where you are using a Green Screen Light Ring. Mounted either above or below the camera lens eye line will be not be visibly lost on a mid-shot or wider.

6. Talent Monitors are rigged beneath the main prompting monitor these are popular with presenters who need to understand where they are positioned in a Virtual Studio and are a useful production tool for talent to see the programme output on the studio floor.

7. Robotic Camera operation. One man controlled robotic studios are becoming far more common. Rigging on CCTV dome style cameras can be a problem (there is nothing to attach the prompter to) but PTZ style cameras are now easy using specialised mounting plates to maintain camera balance and smooth movements.

8. Lightweight / folding hoods. As the demand from presenters for larger screens increases there is a backlash from Cameras, Engineering and often Prompt Operators that on camera weight is too much and balance and mobility are lost. Most manufactures now offer lightweight folding hoods which keep weight down but allow large screen sizes.

9. Prompter Control. Most manufactures offer wired / wireless hand / foot controllers although a PC mouse will often suffice. Be clear how you will work in studio and on location and then what type of control you want and can afford.

10. Practice makes perfect is an old adage but so true. You want your presenter to sound natural and relaxed. Make sure they are not just reading and they vary their pitch and tone, use pauses, dont move their head from side to side or stare into the lens. Remember they control the speed of the script delivery not the operator. Dont worry if they ab lib as a good operator will always wait for them to come back to script and dont be frightened to use bullet points if script reading is not their thing. The way to ensure this all comes together is practice to make sure they are familiar with what they are going to say as they are the experts on the subject matter!
www.portaprompt.co.uk

Tags: iss104 | prompter | production | tablet | pc | reading matrix | talent monitors | jibs | cranes | Jon Hilton#
Contributing Author Jon Hilton#

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

    CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

  • CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

    CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • Autocue at NAB 2012

    Autocue at NAB 2012

  • Portaprompt at IBC 2015

    Portaprompt at IBC 2015

  • CueiT Software from CueScript at NAB 2018

    CueiT Software from CueScript at NAB 2018

  • Portaprompt at BVE 2017

    Portaprompt at BVE 2017

  • Portaprompt at IBC 2016

    Portaprompt at IBC 2016

  • CueScript at IBC 2015

    CueScript at IBC 2015

  • Portaprompt at BVE 2015

    Portaprompt at BVE 2015

  • Autocue at BVE 2015

    Autocue at BVE 2015

  • Autocue at NAB 2013

    Autocue at NAB 2013

  • Datavision at BVE 2012

    Datavision at BVE 2012

  • Autocue at BVE 2012

    Autocue at BVE 2012

  • Autoscript at BVE 2012

    Autoscript at BVE 2012

  • Autoscript at BVE North 2011

    Autoscript at BVE North 2011

  • Datavideo at IBC2011

    Datavideo at IBC2011

  • Autoscript at IBC2011

    Autoscript at IBC2011

  • Autocue at IBC2011

    Autocue at IBC2011

  • Social Media Virtual Production Switching from Sony

    Social Media Virtual Production Switching from Sony

  • The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

    The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

  • Live Production with ChyronHego at NAB 2018

    Live Production with ChyronHego at NAB 2018

  • Playbox Production Air Box shown at IBC 2017

    Playbox Production Air Box shown at IBC 2017

  • The all in one production system from Ross Video at NAB 2017

    The all in one production system from Ross Video at NAB 2017

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

    BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

  • aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

    aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • DoP Choice show the latest lighting solutions at NAB 2019

    DoP Choice show the latest lighting solutions at NAB 2019

  • SmallHD shows the Cine 7 monitor with camera control and integrated Teradek Bolt at NAB 2019

    SmallHD shows the Cine 7 monitor with camera control and integrated Teradek Bolt at NAB 2019

  • Bebob V-Mount Batteries at NAB 2019

    Bebob V-Mount Batteries at NAB 2019

  • K-tek Stingray range shown at NAB 2019

    K-tek Stingray range shown at NAB 2019

  • LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

    LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Calrec at BVE 2017

    Calrec at BVE 2017

  • Prime Focus Technologies at NAB 2016

    Prime Focus Technologies at NAB 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • NewTek at IBC 2015

    NewTek at IBC 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • PlayBox at BVE 2015

    PlayBox at BVE 2015

  • Forscene at IBC 2014

    Forscene at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

    NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

  • Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

    Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • SGL at NAB 2014

    SGL at NAB 2014

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2014

    Sound Devices at NAB 2014

  • AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

    AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Ross Video at BVE 2014

    Ross Video at BVE 2014

  • NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

    NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2014

    Grass Valley at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

  • Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

    Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

  • Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

    Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Facilis at NAB 2013

    Facilis at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2013

    Pixel Power at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • Autocue at BVE North 2012

    Autocue at BVE North 2012

  • Miranda at NAB 2012

    Miranda at NAB 2012

  • Bexel at NAB 2012

    Bexel at NAB 2012

  • Autodesk at NAB 2012

    Autodesk at NAB 2012

  • Ross Video at BVE North 2011

    Ross Video at BVE North 2011

  • SGO at IBC2011

    SGO at IBC2011

  • New Phone and Tablet products from Padcaster at NAB 2018

    New Phone and Tablet products from Padcaster at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Mac Mini support from Sonnet Technologies at NAB 2019

    Mac Mini support from Sonnet Technologies at NAB 2019

  • GPU acceleration from Sonnet Technologies with Adobe support at NAB 2019

    GPU acceleration from Sonnet Technologies with Adobe support at NAB 2019

  • Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

    Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

  • Sonnet Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Sonnet Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Guntermann and Drunck CrossDisplay switching and CCD at IBC 2013

    Guntermann and Drunck CrossDisplay switching and CCD at IBC 2013

  • Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

    Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

  • Lightworks on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Lightworks on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

    Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014


Related Shows
  • Live production with Newtek at BVE 2015

    Live production with Newtek at BVE 2015


Articles
Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve
Anthony Newton Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton Click to read or download PDF
Making a Difference in Wireless Transmission
Lukasz Malankowski

We are very proud to say that we are the only company that provides a highly specific service, and that is the hire of wireless video transmission solutions operating in the licence exempt spectrum.

There are other companies that provide licensed equipment and offer a diverse range of wireless solutions based on different modulations, but our products, coupled with the offerings of others rather than competing with them produce a wireless workflow that is greater than their separate capabilities.

Tags: iss138 | boxx | production | wireless | 4k | Lukasz Malankowski
Contributing Author Lukasz Malankowski Click to read or download PDF
The World of 12G 4K/UHD Processing
Varun Patel Technology moves fast and when it comes to audio and video broadcasting, there is always room for improvements in audio and video quality and ease of production. One of the main goals of broadcasters and content providers today is to create an immersive experience for the viewers, giving them the feeling of being part of the viewed content. The 4K/UHD buzz has been in the consumer world for some time but what does that actually mean for the content producer?
Tags: iss138 | lynx technik | ott | greenmachine | yellobrik | conversion | Varun Patel
Contributing Author Varun Patel Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures. No More Comfort Zone - Get a Placement
Michelle Brown I have often heard that any chance of getting work in the television industry is based quite heavily on who you know, and whilst that might indeed be true, I’ve also come to the realisation that it may also depends on what opportunities you seize and how far out of your comfort zone you might be prepared to push yourself.
Tags: iss138 | portsmouth uni | creative careers | placement | Michelle Brown
Contributing Author Michelle Brown Click to read or download PDF
News Out Of The Cloud - Technology At The Front Line Of Journalism
Stuart Almond Throughout history, journalists have always had to seek and adapt to new technologies to deliver news in a format and at a speed that consumers demanded. Today, recent technological changes in the media environment have led to another inflection point. If modern media outlets want to empower journalists to remain agile and turn news stories around quickly and efficiently, they have to start embracing new, innovative technologies, like cloud-based media solutions.
Tags: iss138 | sony | ofcom | cloud-based media | intelligent | Stuart Almond
Contributing Author Stuart Almond Click to read or download PDF