Prompting Technology

  • By David Kirk

Prompting Technology

Contributing Editor David Kirk has a look at what’s new and happening in the evolving world of teleprompting...

Teleprompting has evolved steadily since the first devices were introduced in the early 1950s. The most important advances were the transition from paper-roll prints to electronically-displayed text and the use of a semitransparent mirror to allow a rolling script to be displayed in front of the live camera. Recent years have seen the increasing use of tablets and mobile phones and display devices, either alongside or in front of the camera lens.   Autoscript’s WC-IP wireless teleprompting scroll control is a new upgrade of the company’s first-generation wireless scroller. It allows presenters in a live news broadcast to scroll a prompting script themselves from anywhere in the studio. Operation is via a miniature forward/reverse joystick, three navigation buttons and two programmable function buttons. All buttons are managed within Autoscript’s WinPlus-IP teleprompting software and can be enabled, disabled, or assigned as required. The WC-IP can be configured and paired with Autoscript’s WB-IP base station using WinPlus-IP software which also provides connection status and battery life monitoring. The controller also has an LED status display for the battery. Recharging can be performed via a standard USB-C cable. Each WC-IP connects with a single WB-IP base station and will maintain connection over up to 100 metres. 

“With its extensive range of operation, the WC-IP control is suitable for productions of any size,” said Autoscript product manager Robin Brown. “The fully featured bespoke design mirrors the functionality of our desktop scroll control, giving on-air talent the reliability and ease of operation they need for a smooth and stress-free broadcast.” The new Autoscript WC-IP wireless scroll control can be purchased on its own or packaged with the WB-IP base station.

Over the last year, CueScript has been installing and supporting its professional prompting solutions in remote locations, including home studios. With CueScript’s all-IP structure, presenters and prompter operators can be based separately in studios, at their homes or on location, with operators having complete control of the display in real time. “CueScript has been providing this IP-based remote workflow to major broadcasters around the world for several years. With the restrictions imposed on productions to reduce or eliminate travel and maintain social distancing, providing this ability to the wider production community has worked extremely well,” said Brian Larter, Director, CueScript. “It’s simply an extension to the studio system with presenters and operators working remotely.” CueScript’s systems are designed to work straight out of the box, employing all the functionality expected in a professional broadcast environment. Operators can take control of all the functions of the prompter display remotely, including adjusting the brightness and contrast, changing the video inputs, and even changing the brightness of the prompter cue-lights.  CueScript continues to innovate with several new products scheduled to launch in 2021. 

Datavideo’s TP-300 Prompter Kit can be used in either a theatre setting or a video studio. Prepared scripts or cue sheets can be made into the DV Prompter Pro app software, network transferred or simply copy pasted in this free to download tool. Scripts can be scrolled at a set automatic rate or controlled by a user with the wireless remote. Fonts, colours and text sizes can be selected by the user. The TP-300 can be adapted to hold a variety of tablet devices but is advised to be used with 10” tablets such as the regular iPad.

Ikan’s Elite iPad teleprompter kit is a complete package which turns an Apple iPad into a teleprompter. Based on the company’s Elements camera support system, it can be used as a portable through the glass teleprompter or a 15 mm rod based camera support system. Compatible with any iPad teleprompter software, it is supplied complete with an EV2 adjustable camcorder baseplate, 12 inch rods, 70/30 framed prompter glass, and an adjustable iPad mount that is compatible with the iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4.

Padcaster’s Parrot Teleprompter transforms a smartphone into a miniature teleprompter. It is compatible with most smartphones, including Apple iPhones and Google Android phones. The kit includes 13 different mounting rings for mobile devices and DSLR video cameras. Padcaster’s Parrot remote connects with the teleprompter via Bluetooth and allows remote control of text speed, size and colour. Additional features include the ability to save scripts directly in the app, turn mirror mode on or off, loop scripts and control text margins to fit the chosen screen size.

Portaprompt’s 32 inch Quasar on-camera prompter is based on the company’s Premium (up to 800 nit) and Quasar (1500 nit) displays - which are designed for broadcast, TV production, live event and conference applications. The prompter uses the same common interface, has 270 degree embedded tally lamps and comes with composite video and SDI inputs as standard. It also includes IP connectivity. Miles Kingsbury, Portaprompt’s Chairman and Head of Design comments: “After we launched the new monitors at IBC 2018, we were approached by Avalon who needed a larger prompter than our existing 24 inch for a 20 metre reading distance from presenter to prompter. It took us under four weeks to go from concept to product delivery and the feedback we have since had from a number clients has convinced us to offer it to the market for sale as well as rental. I think it is the brightest and largest broadcast prompting monitor available in the market today and, with a weight of under 16.5 kg, is acceptable to camera departments as well as the production and presentation teams.” PromptSmart’s Studio mobile teleprompting software, available for PC and Mac, uses speech recognition to control the speed of its prompt display without needing an internet connection. If a presenter ad-libs, the software stops and waits until it detects that the delivery is back on script. PromptSmart’s supporting iCast is a cloud-based service which allows subscribers to access their files via a mobile phone or tablet.  

Prompter People’s ProLine Plus prompter incorporates a raise and lower feature as well as the ability to tilt the angle of the glass. Both the ProLine Plus and the established Flex Plus prompters feature a folding hood and break down to half the size of their original versions. Both can work with any size monitor, from iPad to 24 inch. All Prompter People teleprompters come with a reversing monitor, allowing operators to prompt with text or PowerPoint. The company’s Flip-Q software is included.

ProPrompter’s Studio is an app, available through Apple iTunes, designed for use with the iPad Pro 12.9 or other tablets of up to 13 inch screen size.

The supporting Pro2 kit includes a tablet tray, 16:9 aspect ratio ABS hood/mirror box, beam-splitter glass, a 150 mm lens opening, vertical adjustment rods, a camera bar for small to mid-size cameras, and a rail-mount bracket for use with third-party 15 mm rails. Bluetooth remote control is also included.

Telmax describes its Pro-IP-Ex as a universal teleprompter compatible with mobile devices of up to 10 inch screen size. Weighing 2.8 kg, it includes a display support, two-way mirror and a mounting chassis designed for use with small to mid-size cameras, including DSLRs. The unit comes with a handheld unit to control third-part apps.

Telescript’s Fold & Go prompting system was designed for use on location. It comes in 12, 15, 17 and 19 inch sizes. Included are a Telescript Highbright monitor, folding hood and mask, all mounting hardware and beamsplitter.

The HighBrite monitor has SDI, HDMI, NTSC/PAL composite and VGA inputs as well as AV and SDI loop-out connections. “We endeavour to address every customer’s prompting needs,” says Telescript’s Chris O’Brien. “For example, pan/tilt/zoom cameras are becoming more prevalent given the limited number of people currently being allowed on set. Our PTZ prompting hardware comprises a large 16:9 display along with a matching 16:9 folding hood that allows the PTZ camera to pan and tilt through its normal range behind the prompter glass.”