It’s all fun and teleprompter games…

I recently worked for a PC company that refuses to see Apple products in their facility.

So, much like the days when we’d read comics hidden in our science textbooks—I present my solution:

I simply placed my Macbook Pro behind an open PC laptop in their studio. So there!

To the client, their authority is complete while they get the awesome teleprompting experience they expect.

Yay, everyone is happy.

We play games even in adulthood 🙂

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

I never want teleprompters to be a problem.

As a teleprompter operator, I regularly get behind the scenes  access with presenters with their speech writers or admins. This is where I learn that they’ve privately struggled reading with teleprompters because of the way letters appear to them. As someone who wants to make things go smoothly for the presenter AND crew, I’m always looking for solutions.

I worked an event earlier this year where one admin mentioned a cool solution— a special font that subtly differentiates the letters… and adds more space around the words with other tweaks.

You’ll notice the letters are fatter at the bottom, and the “m” for example, is leaning against the grain.

My choice was a font called “Open Dyslexic 3.”  It’s shareware, and worth a lot to the right people.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

Dual camera teleprompting. Simultaneous wide and tight shots for easy editing with less takes


Teaching your old teleprompter new tricks.

You only have so much time with a busy executive. So, needing to do multiple takes on a close-up shot and THEN doing it all over again on a medium or wide angle can seem like a waste of their time. Before 4K cameras, I came up with the idea of placing two cameras in the same teleprompter hood. This allows both cameras to record at their desired focal length. And the presenter just sees the one set of words as usual. When edited, the two camera positions look to be the same.



Interrotron flypack with images from laptop

Send a laptop camera feed to a teleprompter and you have a budget interrotron.

It’s not perfect, but wow is it quick in a pinch. We use this technique when there’s no room or time to set up the second full interrotron station. Just turn on the PhotoBooth (Apple) or similar application in PC, and send the signal as usual to the teleprompter. Position your PhotoBooth window on your desktop to match where the lens is on the real camera and teleprompter hood. It helps if your monitor flips the input, so you can control the left/right flip as desired.

This is the basis of my long distance interrotron as well. Remember that depending on how you have your setup, they may see your entire desktop. It helps to have a light aimed at you since the onboard laptop camera can get too grainy in low light.

A demo of our large teleprompter hood with a flat mirror placed to allow for the application of makeup during recording.

Use a teleprompter to apply makeup

Place a mirror over the teleprompter monitor, and voila, the talent sees themselves! We discovered this trick while doing a makeup commercial. The talent was washing her face in a sink facing our camera. The issue was they needed to towel off the face and then apply makeup. Normally, at home you’d do this into a mirror. I borrowed a 12″ x 12″ mirror from the grip department, and created this solution.

You can also do this with feeding the signal of the camera into your teleprompter monitor. However, not all teleprompter monitors accept HD signals. Some are only vga or standard definition. You also run into the issue of left and right being reversed. For this reason, a mirror is typically simpler. If your monitor is a professional teleprompter monitor, like a Boland, you can easily flip the image.

A demo of our large 2-way teleprompter mirror at 90º to allow for the application of makeup during recording.

You can also do this with a jumbo teleprompter mirror by itself. Rig it so that it is parallel to the lens plane and flush to the matte box. This allows you to aim the camera independently of where the talent is focusing their attention.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

One of the joys of being in this teleprompter business, is getting calls from past clients.

This last week was quite the “remember us?” scenario.

In the space of one hour, I was moving my schedule around, finding people to sub for my other local jobs, packing my gear, packing my clothes, and getting a red-eye plane ticket to Florida for a week.

The BBC was in Orlando shooting a daily live show for the 2016 Invictus Games when something unexpected happened with their local teleprompter operator. Luckily, members of the BBC crew remembered me from last year. I had worked with them on the Bafta award winning, “Big Blue Live.” I was honored when they chose me over flying someone in from the UK.

I was offered the same teleprompter gear I used for the 2015 SuperBowl, or using my own laptop and software. I chose the latter since I’m understandably faster on my own gear for setup and edits, which is what they really, really needed. FYI, I used Presentation Prompter teleprompter software on my twin Apple laptops, fed through a Datavideo DAC-70 cross converter to the truck’s HD-SDI system.

I really enjoyed working with the BBC as what they call an Autocue operator. Their professional attitude and grace is quintessentially British. The enthusiasm and experience they bring is genuine. It was great to see some Big Blue Live alumni too. Susi in script and James in EVS as well.

The Invictus Games highlight wounded veterans and their competition against 14 peer countries. These include Jordan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Norway, Canada, plus the friendly(?) rivalry of the UK and USA… It was just awesome to see these veterans take on their sport with such energy. Some do multiple sports!

Wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, rugby (aka Murderball), seated volleyball, shot put, track & field, swimming, cycling, andindoor rowing were just some of the games. Oh, and the archery was amazing. I think the world’s record for the longest accurate shot is from a guy using his feet instead of his arms!

Prince Harry is a huge supporter. Because it’s not the Olympics, the World Cup, or the SuperBowl it is relatively low key. I even randomly walked with 15 feet of the Prince on my way to the cafeteria! Very casual here. It’s also tremendously positve, with typically two family members flown out to support each athlete.

Some of these competitors will be in the Paralympics. The Invictus Games differ from the Paralympics, however, in that these were not paid, professional athletes. The Invictus athletes often still had to support a family after their injury. Some said they found sports as their way to recover their feelings of worth and achievement after surviving their wound or PTSD.

The way they play basketball and rugby was anything but pitiful. They were masters! They turn basketball into a very different sport than what we are used to, playing with hoops at the standard height even, and still making three pointers with ease. The fluid way they move is like the rapid changes of schooling fish.

Having Prince Harry take time to visit our set was also pretty amazing! His presence and supportive love for the whole contest was obvious.

Seeing the ultimate in adaptive sports technology had me thinking about San Francisco’s Environmental Traveling Companions. I volunteer for ETC as a trip leader, taking kids with disabilities out cross country skiing. They also offer adaptive sea kayaking and whitewater rafting trips.

The Invictus Games 2016 Orlando are now over, but I had the best time, working on teleprompter there! Tons of talent in the crew from the BBC and local folks, too. I’m super grateful for the referral that got me this unexpected flight across the country, to play with such an awesome team on such an awesome project.

The genuine camaraderie of the participants, their supportive families and well, Prince Harry smiling throughout it all, was just amazing.

More please:)

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

Choosing the appropriate equipment for your production such as a teleprompter is essential for a successful event. A second factor that requires consideration, is how well the speaker and teleprompter operator work together. These two elements could ultimately make or break your presentation.

Why use a teleprompter at all?

Teleprompters help speakers present their material through direct eye contact, rather than being seen reading their message off notes or cue cards. Whether live or recorded, eye contact is essential in communication. Our eyes reflect our comfort, sincerity, and trust when speaking. When a speaker is freed from memorization, they can relax and concentrate, making a direct connection with your audience.

Teleprompters speed up your day and ensure your messages are delivered as intended. When using a prompter for the first time with a professional operator, people often say, “This is great! I feel much more confident with the prompter.”

Do I still need a teleprompter operator?

A teleprompter operator can be said to be an actor, politician, or CEO’s best friend when it comes to delivering a script. The operator’s job is to precisely match the cadence and speech of the presenter, word for word. Even when the presenter paraphrases or departs from the script with an anecdote or improvisation, an experienced operator will follow the presenter and pick up when they get back on-script.

A rehearsal with the teleprompter operator can be the difference between a broadcast disaster or a successful presentation.  A good operator will become familiar with the speaker’s style and patterns. This will allow the operator to suggest simple edits that will enhance the smoothness of the speaker’s delivery.

The operator typically sits at the back of the house tech table or backstage, preferably with headphones, in order to monitor the speaker and track changes.

So why hire professional operators in the San Francisco Bay Area?

  • No Learning Curve

All of our operators are well experienced in the production of political, non-profit, sporting, corporate videos, commercials, plus live events too. They have been tempered in the fire of high-pressure situations and performed with grace. You never know when things suddenly change and we’ll have to yank out a car battery to provide power to the prompter in a rain storm or cling to the exterior of a piece of huge earth moving equipment on a testing field. Yes, teleprompting can be far more exciting than you might suspect!

Teleprompting is something of an art. As such, it isn’t a job you would entrust to someone without experience. Our clients have remarked after using our services, “We debated about budgeting for a prompter and operator, but we got through so much more material and were able to wrap early. It was worth every penny. You’ll be our secret weapon from now on!”

  • No Equipment Compatibility Concerns

When we first connect with you, we ask questions to choose the right gear for your event. As seasoned professionals, our operators have extensive knowledge of the equipment and software we use. We are also well aware that everything has limits and strong points. If, for some rare reason, something isn’t working properly, or the event parameters change on-site, we are quick to identify a solution.

  • Adaptable Operators

We have experienced plenty of curve balls over our collective 50 years in this business: whether it’s a big star’s unusual demand, a novel technical configuration, or working in a foreign language.

Recently, we had a client who informed us that the five hours of teleprompting we were going to do the next day would be in both Cantonese and Mandarin characters. We were prepared with our software options so it came off without a hitch. We’ve also handled presentations in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and a rare form of Gaelic spoken only in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland!

Even if you’re only speaking in English, when you hire Neil Tanner Teleprompters, you get operators that are efficient, professional, and make you look great.

  • Pro-Client Attention  

We go the extra mile by offering teleprompter training. Using a prompter is a learned skill, but one that is easily learned. The big trick is making the prompter “disappear”.

And we pay attention to our client’s needs. We take that laser focus to the next level to help you achieve your production goals. Lots of last minute changes? No problem! We can get that fixed right away.

  • Less Stress

At the basic level, teleprompter operators convert your existing script into readable prompter format in big letters that flow smoothly on a screen.

However as seasoned operators, we take great pains to create immediate visual comprehension when we format your script. We add breaks for breath and stage cues in a different color if desired. We even know to use special fonts and formatting for people with dyslexia. We work with your presenter to emphasize key words and help them really own what they’re saying.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

The Interrotron creates interview magic.

Instead of talking to some off-camera stranger, the subject speaks right to the camera. This way, your audience is in the conversation, not just eavesdropping. The great documentary filmmaker Errol Morris popularized direct to camera interviews with his creation, the Interrotron.

Basically, there are two teleprompters, each fed the video signals of the opposite camera. The subject sees the face of the interviewer and vice versa. They just have a one-on-one conversation over video.

Typically the interviewer and subject are in the same room. There have been situations where the two have been in different cities or countries. For instance, we worked for Al Gore in San Francisco who was simultaneously interviewed by students around the globe.

The Errol Morris movies and commercials made with this technique are downright riveting. Many reality TV shows now use this concept with fantastic results.

The name Interrotron came from Errol’s wife, who combined “terror” and “interview.”

Happily, when you replace a blank camera lens with a friendly face, terror can be the last thing people think of.

An Interrotron system is dependent on your needs, but typically includes:

• Two LCD teleprompters with HD options available.

• A friendly, skilled operator to deliver, set up, and maintain the system throughout your event.

• All necessary video cables and accessories.

• A “B-camera” package of an HD camcorder to provide the director’s image.

• A stand or tripod to support the whole system.

Do an interview through an Interrotron from another city.

There’s now Google Hangout, Facetime, or Skype based Interrotrons!

A flypack typically comes with a laptop, IFB earpiece for the subject, headphone amp, cables, and instructions.

With such a hybrid name, some misspellings are expected. We’ve seen it listed as interrortron, interratron, interatron, interotron, and even nteratron.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

There are many kinds of teleprompter equipment in the market today. Learn some of the most important considerations to ensure that you purchase the best film teleprompter equipment.

There is a lot of teleprompter equipment to choose from

Here’s several key questions you have to think about when buying a teleprompter, regardless of your preferred manufacturer, existing equipment, budget or prompting requirements. The first thing you need to consider is the distance of your presenter from the teleprompter to help determine the size of the teleprompter you need. There are a wide range of monitor sizes on the market, so that you can find a teleprompter that’s just right for your requirements. But note that whatever size and manufacturer you choose, you have to check that the television teleprompter equipment is compatible with your camera, tripod, and lens.

The main question around teleprompter equipment compatibility is weight

See if your tripod has sufficient payload capacity for the weight of your lens and camera, and the chosen teleprompter. There are so many first-time buyers who work with small cameras and tripod heads and don’t have anything appropriate for the weight of a teleprompter. The second question is if you can position your camera and lens in the back of the teleprompter glass to hood so that the eye line of the presenter is directly looking at the camera. This depends on the specific camera and lens you’re using, and the flexibility of the mounting system in your chosen teleprompter.

For the most flexible camera mounting systems and advanced cameras or lens, get a flexible teleprompter mounting system, which there are many in the market. Because of the increased flexibility in the mounting system, all lens and camera types can remain flush against the tripod head while still remaining centered on the glass. For example, if you are doing lots of pan and tilt work, the weight of the camera remains as close as possible to the tripod head, avoiding a pendulum effect and decreasing control of your tilt and pan. If you’re not sure if your camera, lens or tripod is appropriate for your choice of teleprompter, ask an expert salesperson.

For many teleprompter applications, there’s a simple script that’s prepared in advance, with one presenter and the script just has to scroll from start to finish at a speed that’s adjusted to keep pace with the presenter. Teleprompter software gives this functionality and more, like dual-screen functionality to reverse the script for the teleprompter monitor and simultaneously show it the right way up for the computer operator, plus the ability to import word documents, the ability to insert markers, and the ability to change the font, size, color and format of the script text. Different teleprompter software works on different kinds of computers and is included free with most teleprompter purchases.

If you need any more advanced functionality like run order management (for long scripts with various sections that you want to navigate to and edit easily and quickly), live edits (for last minute script changes while in prompt mode), or newsroom interfaces (for integration into an electric newsroom system to get live updates from the newsroom system via the teleprompter), you’ll have to purchase a quality software program. See if the speed can be controlled by a dedicated operator or the presenter themselves. There is a wide range of controller options, along with wired and wireless, hand and foot controls to cover whatever is needed.

Consider these main considerations and you’ll have a good idea of the product you need

There is a wide range of film teleprompter equipment in the world with various designs and specifications. If you’re still unsure about what you want and need after reading this teleprompter blog, call a teleprompter seller or teleprompter rental company in your area and they should be happy to serve you. They should be able to clearly explain the best available solution and price, regardless of your requirements and budget. And of course, at Neil Tanner Inc., we’re always ready to assist you.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.


A professional teleprompter, or Autocue as it is known in the British Commonwealth, can be a very helpful tool for speaking on camera – when used properly.

While most business presenters are used to reading from notes on paper, they will appear less constricted and more relaxed when using a mirrored teleprompter on camera.

In many instances where financial or legal statements have to be completely accurate to avoid potential confusion or unwanted repercussions, a teleprompter will guarantee accuracy.

Here are seven tips for properly using a professional teleprompter.

1.    Most importantly, THE SPEED OF THE SCROLL IS CONTROLLED BY THE PRESENTER. The operator only follows.  The natural tendency for people who first use a teleprompter is to race faster and faster, because they are afraid the words will disappear off the top of the screen before they can read them.  It is important to impress upon the presenter their prompter operator is listening intently to their every word.  Think of the operator as a security blanket 🙂

If the presenter has the time, it often helps to practice speeding up and slowing down in an effort to shake the operator.  When they experience the operator is keeping up with them no matter what, they gain confidence and know they are in good hands.

2.    Ask the teleprompter operator to set the font size to suit your eyesight. The bigger the font, the fewer words are on the screen, so you will have a less opportunity to see what is coming up.  But when the words are too small, you will struggle to read accurately. Professional teleprompter software in the hands of an expert makes this easy.

3.    Unlike a regular document, you cannot see very far ahead on a teleprompter screen. Please make sure you read the script beforehand and are thoroughly familiar with it. Of course, if you have written it yourself, then so much better.  Definitely take time to read it out loud on the teleprompter.  The experience is very different from seeing it all on a page.  There are usually a few minor tweaks that need to be made, which are not apparent when reading silently.

4.    Ask the operator to underscore or italicize any teleprompter text you would like to emphasize.  It is best not to include too many stage directions like “turn towards Barbara and smile.” These take space on screen and can be very distracting.  Also, there is the risk that you will read these out-loud as well. These moments are sure to crack up your audience, but your credibility will plunge. Especially if this is broadcast live.

5.     As you are looking at the teleprompter script, remember that you are also looking directly into the video camera.  Therefore, smile and speak to the camera as a friend. It helps to imagine the face of your peer, client, or whoever you are trying to reach.

6.    Either make the teleprompter script margins smaller or move the camera further away. When the camera is fairly close, it is obvious that you are reading side to side, and it will reduce your credibility.

7.     Allow your head to move naturally. When you lock your head in a rigid position, only your eyes can move to read the teleprompter text. Notice how you speak to people in regular conversations.  Your head is rarely still.  Even small movements prove you are genuinely interested in what you’re saying.

Teleprompters let you be yourself.

However, the time to learn is not two minutes before you start filming. It would be much better to learn the tricks of the trade in a more relaxed and calm atmosphere.

When properly used, a professional teleprompter can take away much of the stress and fear associated with presenting on camera.  When financial or legal requirements are important, there are no slips of the tongue that can come back to haunt you. Rather than struggling for the right words, you can concentrate on being believable and relaxed.

Rent a professional teleprompter and operator for better speeches and presentations on camera.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

Online video producers today have many reasons to rent a teleprompter for the betterment of their business. Know 5 reasons to avail of teleprompter services.

Teleprompter rental has many uses

Today’s generation of online video producers has to make sure that their products are unscripted, extemporaneous, spontaneous and authentic. And, at times, unscripted offers a great way to shoot video. Consider this situation: you paid a studio, some camera crew and special equipment, and your presenter is good to go. You have furnished him his speaking notes, but he says he do not need them. However, an hour into the shoot and everyone is seeing that things are not going as well as they should. The presenter now starts to glance at his notes, but it is obvious that he is still having a hard time delivering them because his notes were worded differently. What should you do?

To put this simply, video segments that are off the cut are fast becoming more popular today as companies are now working to build their brands by communicating in a way that is less structured and less formal, working to engage their audience in a more personal approach. Gone are those days where structure and formality are the norm. Corporate presentations and company overviews now lend themselves well to a format where the business executive, staff member or any representative might deliver an unscripted but heartfelt explanation of what exactly makes their company great.

However, if you have a good plan on what you want to get from the video, you can experience huge success with this kind of video production. You just have to determine who you will deliver it too, have a good set of talking points for reference, and a quality presenter who is comfortable with an unscripted format. On the other hand, When shooting for a long presentation or one that is complicated, a detailed product demo or a presenter who has minimal experience in front of the camera, it might be best to rent a teleprompter. Here are five reasons where a teleprompter rental is worth the investment.

1. Using a professional presenter

If your presenter is not an expert on the subject matter, they might have to memorize a script that can be hard to read or do well from a teleprompter.

2. Having a long presentation

The longer the video presentation is, the longer is every speaking piece in the video will be, and the greater is the need for you to rent a teleprompter. You only have to sit in a single session where the presenter stumbles over the right delivery for a long time so you realize that you should rent a teleprompter.

3. Delivering complex presentations

Product demos, technical presentations and other presentations that require a lot of different verbal and physical actions happening at the same time would greatly benefit from a teleprompter. Product managers and business owners know their products better than anyone, but this holds no guarantee that they can give a professional and fluid read in complex requirements.

4. Giving a front of the camera experience

Your best trade show person can be a good pitchman in front of an audience, but all these can change if they are scheduled to talk in front of a camera under the glare of lights without anyone giving feedback. If it is right for the needs of your business, shooting them talking to someone on or off screen is a good compromise.

5. Failure is not an option

This is the best reason to rent a teleprompter. If you are investing so much time and effort for a video shoot, if you are working on a tight schedule, or if you have asked for the senior executive and business owner time to shoot the video, getting a teleprompter rental might save the day.

The one problem is that, unless you have seen the presented on camera before, you would not really know just how unscripted the format will go

In this case, a video production company should guide you on when and where to use a teleprompter. However, if you will do the video yourself, you can rent a teleprompter from an equipment rental store, which mostly comes with a teleprompter operator, or just buy the equipment yourself. If you have any plans of doing in-house videos, this would be a good option. You will just have to train someone else to use the software, which should not be that hard.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.

The teleprompter equipment has come a long way since it was first used in classic Greek theater. Discover the History of Teleprompters.

Television teleprompter equipment has a long history

Using television teleprompter equipment may not be the centenarian profession there is, but it has been around for quite a while now. It is believed that some were even used in classic Greek theater in the form of people whispering lines to actors who had a short lapse of memory. Amid the early days of theater in ancient Green up to Shakespeare’s plays at The Globe Theater today, one of the constant elements has consistently been the prompter or prompt corner.

There is a whole genre of single-game print cartoons that portray guys in the prompting booth making cracks on the Wagnerian soprano in her Viking helmet. Study has found that the original ‘prompt box’ is theater was located stage left, and it varied from a small table on the wings to a total installation of a booth. In today’s times, it often comes with a communications intercom, green and red signal lights for the actors, controls for safety curtain and other emergency equipment, or telephone transmission to the front of the house.

The inspiration behind the electronic teleprompter came in during the 1940s from Broadway actor Fred Barton who desired a device that can help him remember his lines. He pitched this idea to 20th Century Fox VP for radio and TV, Irvin Kahn. In turn, Kahn sought the expertise of Hubery Schlafly, a broadcast engineer and director of television study at Fox, who then developed the first paper scroll prompter. It started in the year 1950 on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, and the soap opera The First Hundred Years.

Schlafly, Kahn and Barton were persuaded that there is a potential market for their invention, so they started a new company, naming it TelePrompTer Corp. The initial big break of the company outside the studio came when former president Herbert Hoover presented the TelePrompTer as a political speaker tool in a speech before the 1952 Republican National Convention.

Previously, I Love Lucy producer Jess Oppenheimer made claims crediting the invention of the teleprompter

He applied and was granted a US patent for the device. His version of the teleprompter was used for the commercial productions of Lucille Ball’s. Apart from this dispute, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to use a teleprompter for his State of the Union address.

In the year 1954 as well, Eisenhower wanted to give a television version of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Cats. The two Teleprompters were used to give the living room television audiences the impression that he was looking intently at them, talking informally. A few years later in 1975, the Chicago Tribune promoted an article about the preparations of Gerald Ford for his State of the Union address. The article noted that an aid recommended he use the old teleprompter system from the White House basement, unused since the days of Lyndon Johnson.

There were speculations that Ford, who was nearsighted, had a hard time reading the dated teleprompter equipment, so he ended up buying new ones. As stated in this article, the staffers of the White House tried to control the delivery of Ford’s speech by making the technician slow down the speed of the scroll so Ford can speak more slowly. This is a practice frowned upon by numerous professional teleprompter equipment operators practice because it puts additional stress on the speaker.

Many presidents have utilized teleprompter equipment as a tool for speech delivery from the days of Eisenhower to Clinton to Obama

One exclusion to this is former president Nixon, who always opens to use note cards as an alternative of a teleprompter. Outside the political circle, television shows, corporate events and news networks, today, Teleprompters are even utilized in live concerts, assisting performers with their lyrics. Notable artists who frequently used Teleprompters include Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Liza Minnelli and more.

From ancient Greek Theater to today’s modern times, the responsibility of teleprompter equipment will remain listening in the wings of the stage. Anyone can acquire a teleprompter these days, which have since them become available in varying sizes, uses, and features. Teleprompter rentals are also in demand these days; you just have to make sure that you hire equipment and pay for the services of an operator from a highly regarded business. Contact one in your area now and learn their added services and rates.

Learn how our friendly team of skilled teleprompter operators can save you time and money.