There are many things that factor into creating a high-quality video.
Are you shooting in 720p or 4K?
Do you have a good external mic to record audio or are you relying on the built-in mic in your camera?
These are just two examples of how gear can influence the quality of your videos.
But there’s another piece of gear - a teleprompter - that can also have a significant impact on how your videos turn out.
Let’s explore a few tips for how to use a teleprompter.
Editor’s Tip: I use the mPrompter teleprompter to record YouTube videos, and it has proven to be an effective addition to my video-production kit. It’s extremely portable, has a durable stainless steel body and frame, and it has a black coating that minimizes reflections and glare. Get more details on this affordable little teleprompter!
You Need to Practice
photo by adamkaz via iStock
Some people seem to think that if you have a teleprompter that you can just load the script and read it off the fly and be okay.
And maybe that strategy works for some folks, but I’m not one of them.
I practice reading the script off the teleprompter as much, if not more, than I did back in the day when I just used cue cards.
Practice isn’t just important to get the pacing down so it sounds like you’re having a natural conversation, but it’s also important for your comfort level with how your studio or on-location setup is arranged. The more comfortable you are with everything, the better the video will turn out.
photo by LordHenriVoton via iStock
Part of practicing with a teleprompter should be breaking the script into smaller chunks.
Just because you have it all on the teleprompter doesn’t mean you have to record the entire script in one take.
Breaking it into three or four sections and recording each section individually will likely get you better results.
Create a Good Sight Line
photo by mixetto via iStock
This might seem like a “duh” tip, but you’d be surprised how many video creators start out with the teleprompter in a place that doesn’t afford them a very good view.
You should take the time to get everything in place - the teleprompter, camera, microphones, lights, and so forth - that way when it’s time to roll the video, you don’t have to waste time making last-minute adjustments to the placement of your gear.
Your preparations with your teleprompter should involve adjusting its height such that it is on the exact same plane as your eyes. Doing so enables you to look directly into the camera.
Editor’s Tip: Not all teleprompters are made alike, and some are easier to read than others. My mPrompter teleprompter has a 3mm glass mirror that’s equipped with a 70/30 reflective coating. Combined with the black coating that minimizes reflections and glare, it’s a great option for outdoor shoots. It also sets up in about one minute, so it’s perfect for run-and-gun videos.
Work on Eye Movement
I saved the most difficult tip for last…
One of the most common teleprompter problems people encounter is that their eyes are visibly moving as they read. There’s really not much point of using a teleprompter if it’s obvious you’re using one!
To combat this issue, try to read an entire line all at once, as opposed to reading the text word-by-word. This will help reduce eye movements and also help you sound more natural.
Combined with lots of practice, having appropriate sightlines, and investing in a good teleprompter, you’ll be on your way to creating better video content.