What else can I do with a teleprompter?

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.

Skype, Facetime or Hangout Interrotron interview through a prompter from another city.

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.

teleprompter using a mirror instead of text for applying makeup

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, or fed through a Decimator MD-LX, you can easily flip the image.

big teleprompter mirror demo

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.