A teleprompter is like any other piece of equipment on a video set—it’s there to support you and make you look your best!
Although it may look easy, using a teleprompter can feel unnatural and take practice to master. Here are some tips for using a teleprompter.
Test the settings
Before you record, you need to get two big things correct: the font size and the scrolling speed.
If the font is too small, you’ll be straining your eyes, which will be noticeable by the viewer.
Too big a font may cut off words or sentences, creating unnatural speaking patterns. It can also cause the teleprompter to be too fast, then too slow, based on the size and verbal complexity of the words.
Speed is equally as important. Everyone has a different reading speed and talking speed. If you know you’re a fast talker, choose a faster setting. If the scrolling speed is too slow, you will out-read the teleprompter. Too fast, and the teleprompter will speed past you!
Everyone is different, so you need to find the sweet spot for you. If your teleprompter gives numerical values for font and speed, write those down so you remember for your next recording.
Know your stuff
Practice, practice, practice. You might not sound like a news anchor on day one, but that is okay! The more you do it, the better you will get.
A teleprompter may seem like a way to get out of practicing what you are saying, but being familiar with the material will not only calm your nerves, but make you look more natural and professional. Reading from a teleprompter without knowing what you are saying and delivering it eloquently is truly a skill. If you’re a beginner with teleprompters, you may not have those skills yet!
Rehearsing beforehand also allows you to finetune the material. You may forget an important piece of information you want to add, and going on an improv rant the day of, will make you lose your place on the teleprompter, potentially to a place of no recovery.
Do a test run
Try recording yourself and then watch the footage to see how you did. Or have the camera operator or teleprompter operator give you feedback as you go. There are a couple things you need to ensure you nail down…
You still need to show enthusiasm when using a teleprompter. You don’t want to sound like you are reading. Act like you are talking to your best friend!
Enunciating the important words is key. It may be helpful to read each segment before you record it, so that you know what words to add inflection to. This also lets you have a general flow of the script in your mind while you’re reading it on camera.
Benefits of using a teleprompter
A teleprompter isn’t needed in every video, but there are a lot of benefits to using one.
They can help if you’re doing a wordy video and need to speak on a lot of topics, especially if those topics require specific wording or phrases that may be difficult to remember.
Knowing the teleprompter is there with all the information can help ease nerves of people who are less comfortable in front of the camera. You don’t have to worry about your mind going blank and forgetting what you wanted to talk about.
When you’re reading off a teleprompter, it may also reduce the chances of adding in filler words like “um”, “like”, “so”, etc. which creates a more professional and eloquent result.
Ultimately, teleprompters are there to help make your life easier, but you should familiarize yourself with them. Having a member of the production team walk you through it can also help immensely. We often use teleprompters in our virtual studio and walk our clients through it for a seamless experience.