Why would you put multiple cameras into one teleprompter?
Often times as video crews, we get just one or two takes with a politician or executive because their time is very limited. We’re familiar with the line “Okay that was a great take, now we need to roll back the teleprompter script to the top and do another take in a tight shot. I promise, this is the last one.” If your CEO has a plane to catch, or another business meeting to attend, you can get a pretty bad stare, or a flat out refusal.
Use a big teleprompter to house multiple cameras for both medium and tight shots.
Editors are happy since the two views match action perfectly. To the performer, there is still just the one place to look and they appreciate the effort you’ve made to save their time. You can still do as many takes you like to get the best performance on teleprompter, but with the multiple cameras, it makes editing so much easier. And you typically don’t need any extra gear, just some prep for the configuration.
Here’s the process
First, start with a large teleprompter hood. At Neil Tanner Inc, we carry two different 19 inch systems. One is a QTV hood that is rigid but has a flexible neck fabric that needs to be cinched around the lenses. The other hood is one Neil made custom for using giant matte boxes. The glass is larger than the QTV hood, but the hood here is simply a piece of black fabric, sort of like the old school photographers with their wet plate camera underneath a big black blanket.
You can place the cameras side by side, with the tripod legs interlaced, or get a special plate that holds two cameras on a single tripod. One crew took their DSLRs and stacked them on top of each other. Jim Thylin, one of our ace operators, somehow managed to get three cameras in a single teleprompter hood. Nicely done!
One caveat is that the teleprompter fabric and lenses must be relatively light tight. If you a have a strong light behind the camera, make sure to close any gap. This will prevent light from hitting the inner glass and bouncing back into the lens, possibly fogging your shot.
Try this alternative shooting style for your next shoot.