Teleprompting outside at Slide Ranch for Disney's Pass the Plate

Teleprompting outside can be fun and challenging.

You’re at the mercy of the weather and geography, and are often hours from any support. Today we shot at Slide Ranch just North of the Golden Gate Bridge for two days, to support a cool Disney show, “Pass the Plate.” Two awesome, professional child actors read from our outdoor teleprompter to share tips on organic, locally grown veggies, honey, and gluten free pizza crust while farmhands tended the bees and local kids milked the goats. To do this properly, we needed to be mobile and have an outdoor teleprompter that was 6 times as bright as standard units. These are expensive and rare in the teleprompter industry but we’ve found it useful to own several. If you’re teleprompting outside without a special highbright (aka daybright) monitor, it’s impossible to read.

Be prepared when using an outdoor teleprompter

Today was an example of why it’s always worth it to have a spare and a backup plan. We had one awesome day of using my 20″ outdoor teleprompter for the kids to read in direct sun. On day two, the backlight bulb on the monitor failed. This is rare: in my 20+ years of teleprompting, it’s only happened once before. Thanks to the first experience, we were prepared.

I alerted the Assistant Director to the situation, and headed to my car for our smaller backup teleprompter. After 15 minutes, including my running up and down a gravel hill, we rigged the replacement to the lens, balanced the camera, and were back in business.

Outdoor teleprompter for Disney
So that’s the spare part of our system. The back-up plan was to have an assistant bring in another of our large daybright monitors while I continued to prompt. We swapped out the rigs while the camera shot some handheld B-roll, so no time was wasted.

I hope this never happens to you, but again, this is why we invest in spares and have backup plans on top of that. And it wasn’t just one situation where a backup was needed. We were assured power on site, but when we needed to do a company move to the base of the cliffs and film on the beach, I’m glad I brought our battery pack!

I think you get the overall lesson from this post:)

After the technical details were addressed, it was a fun shoot, with hugs all around as we departed the beautiful farm on the sea cliffs.

Many thanks to the Producer, AD, camera operator, AC, PA, and to Slide Ranch for hosting us on that shoot.

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About Neil Tanner. Neil is an internationally known teleprompter operator, owner, trainer, and fabricator. He’s prompted and trained thousands of people around the world to look confident & natural when presenting. Clients include the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, and Google, plus Governors, Presidents, and First Ladies. Neil Tanner is based in San Francisco and loves serving the world with remote or in-person teleprompting & training services.