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.
photo by golubovy via iStock
With video creation more popular than ever, it's essential that you have the best production value possible. If you don't, people will pass your video without a thought. If you do, you'll have content that grabs the viewer's attention and keeps it!
The question is, how do you create top-quality content? More to the point, what tools are needed for doing so?
In this quick gear review for videographers, you'll learn about five essential tools you need to create high-quality videos.
While this is not a comprehensive list of every single thing you might need, what is listed below are some of the most critical tools.
Let's get started!
Tools for Content Creators: A Solid Computer
photo by DGLimages via iStock
Clearly, one of the first things you need to produce high-quality videos is a good computer.
Now, this doesn't mean you need to go out and buy Apple's new Mac Pro and drop more than $50,000 for a fully-featured model.
But, it also likely means that you should upgrade from your six-year-old old laptop you've had since college.
Having the computing power to process your videos is a must - otherwise you'll spend more time waiting for your computer to do its thing than you will actually editing your videos.
Whether you're a Mac person or a PC person doesn't matter - both iterations offer excellent options at virtually every price point imaginable. So, set a budget, do your research, and get a computer that can handle video editing without constant "spinning wheels of death."
Tools for Content Creators: Editing Software
photo by Artal85 via iStock
Another critical component of being able to produce top-quality video content is having a good video editor that allows you to make a seamless video.
But, just like with the computer you use, you don't need to spend top dollar to get a video editor that works well for your purposes.
In some cases, free software that comes with computers (i.e., iMovie on Macs) will suit you just fine.
In other cases, more capable software might be desired, like Adobe's Premiere Pro.
There are many more options than these, which we outlined in our list of the top free or inexpensive video editors.
Feel free to check out that list for more details on some of the best video editors on the market today.
Quick Tip: Your video editing needs might be different from the next guy or gal, so be sure you do your research before investing in a video editor. Your specific workflow might necessitate a different approach than someone else, so having as much knowledge about possible editors before you buy will help you get the best option for your needs.
Tools for Content Creators: A Teleprompter
When I started making videos, I often did so off the cuff.
I mean, I might've had a few notes here and there, but by and large, my videos were me having a discussion with the camera.
As I got more and more involved in videography and producing different types of videos, I realized very quickly that to get content that actually engaged the viewer, I needed to have a script and I needed a telprompter to read the script.
As weird as it might sound, having the script in front of you where you can easily read it actually makes you look and sound more natural than if you simply try to talk to the camera on the fly. At least that's been my experience!
There are TONS of teleprompters out there at all sorts of price ranges. I've tested many different models and found that just like any other videography gear, some teleprompters are so-so, some are pretty terrible, and some are truly awesome.
I recently got my hands on a pre-production mPrompter teleprompter and have been testing it out for a couple of months. To say that I'm impressed is an understatement...
What I like most about this teleprompter is that it's highly portable. Portability (for me, anyway) is a huge concern because I shoot so many videos on location. Even if you don't do many videos away from your studio, considering the portability of the teleprompter you buy is of the utmost importance.
I also like how durable this thing is. It's in my studio, in my car, being transported from Point A to Point B, and it has stood up to the test beautifully. That's due in large part to the fact that it has a stainless steel body and frame that can take a few bumps and bruises. Again, this is a feature you need to look for as you shop for a teleprompter.
mPrompter thought purposefully about the design of this teleprompter, too. There's a black coating that minimizes reflections and glare (which is a must-have for outdoor shoots), and the 3mm glass mirror has a 70/30 reflective coating as well.
Speaking of the mirror, it's permanently attached and free floated in a protective stainless steel bezel.
Add in the fact that it can be used with virtually any camera, it's easy to set up (less than one minute, in fact), and it's affordable, and you have the makings of a great teleprompter for your needs.
Tools for Content Creators: A Camera With a Front-Facing Screen
One of the things I realized very quickly when I started creating more video content is that I really needed a camera with a front-facing screen.
Having a front-facing screen helps you frame your sequences when you're filming yourself, which is important because how your video is framed makes a significant impression on viewers.
I love my Nikon Z7, but without a front-facing screen, it's not ideal for my video workflow. So, I opted to invest in a Canon EOS R, and it has made all the difference in the world.
There are plenty of other features that I like about the EOS R as a video camera, too...
It's small and lightweight, which is great for on-the-go shooting with a gimbal for vlog-style shooting.
It's weather-sealed, too, so if I'm doing a tutorial video and weather turns south, I don't have to worry too much.
The EOS R also has some absolutely killer glass available, and with more and more RF lenses coming out, the selection is only getting better.
The color profiles of the EOS R are off the charts as well.
In many cases, I don't have to do any color grading because I like the Canon color profile so much. That's a huge benefit!
Now, I know a lot of people will say that the EOS R's huge crop factor for video (1.8x) is a problem, but for my purposes, it's really not a big deal.
The point here is that it has many other features that make it a great option for me. Again, you'll need to do some research on the best video cameras for your purposes, but I think the EOS R should be on your list for sure, particularly because you can get your hands on a good used EOS R and save some green stuff!
Tools for Content Creators: A Great Microphone
For me, it just doesn't get any better than the RODE VideoMic NTG.
I just got this thing last week, and it's already impressed me enough to say that it is far and away one of the best mics I've ever used.
I've been a RODE fan for a long time, but they've definitely outdone themselves here...
When looking for a great mic for video work, you want something that performs well, is easily portable, and highly functional, and the VideoMic NTG definitely ticks all those boxes.
For starters, it has a battery that can last over 30 hours. That's a huge bonus because you can attend to actually shooting the video rather than worrying if your mic is going to die soon.
The audio quality of this thing is simply spectacular too. It captures beautifully natural sound without any interference from background noise. It has a switch to control everything from the safety channel to the high-frequency boost to the high-pass filter, so it's easy to access these often-used tools.
There's even a peak decibel warning light on this mic, that way you can capture distortion-free sound.
I also really appreciate the fact that RODE incorporated a sliding rail on this mic.
This is a big feature because it allows you to slide the mic forward and back as needed. So, rather than the mic ramming you in the face when you're holding the camera in your hand, you can slide it back on the rail. It's just an ingenious feature that makes this mic so much fun to use.
It's small, portable, packed with features, and produces excellent sound. I think that's exactly what you should look for in a high-quality mic for your videos!
Again, these are just the tools that have impressed me the most, so don't just pick them up because I recommended them. Do your research, so how these tools stack up against the competition, and I think you'll find these video accessories come out on top.
photo byLordHenriVoton via iStock
No matter how much of an expert you are on a topic, if you’re making a video, a teleprompter will help you deliver your message much more effectively.
Teleprompters put the word-for-word message you want to get out right in front of your eyes. It’s like hand-delivering a precisely worded letter to your audience.
Is using a teleprompter a guarantee that you won’t mess up? No. But the likelihood of you delivering a well-worded and passionate message is greatly increased when using one.
You don’t have to have a giant teleprompter like what’s used on the evening news, either. In fact, there are many small, portable, and affordable options for vloggers and videographers today.
Let’s take a look at some of the best teleprompters on the market.
Best Teleprompters of 2019: mPrompter
Even though this teleprompter by mPrompter isn’t going to be available until early in 2020, it still makes this list of the best teleprompters of 2019. Why?
I’ve had my hands on a prototype model the last couple of months and have found that it’s highly portable for shooting video on the go and it’s extremely durable, so it can stand up to use and abuse while on-location or in the studio.
This rig has a stainless steel body and frame with a textured black coating to minimize reflections and glare.
It has a 3mm glass mirror with a 70/30% reflective coating, and the mirror is permanently attached and free floated in a protective stainless steel bezel.
mPrompter is compact and ideally suited for use with a smartphone, but it is adjustable to any kind of camera, so you can use it with your small mirrorless camera or your big DSLR too.
This teleprompter was developed with bloggers in mind: it’s small, easy to set up (it takes less than a minute!), and comes with aluminum adapter rings to ensure it’ll work with your existing smartphone or camera.
On top of all that, mPrompter is affordable! It really is the best of all worlds - portable, easy to set up, durable, and easy on your pocketbook!
Best Teleprompters of 2019: iKan PT-Elite-Pro
Ikan’s PT-Elite-Pro teleprompter is specifically designed for larger tablets like the Apple iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface, and Samsung Galaxy tablets as well as any tablet from 6 x 9 inches to 9 x 12.
But even though it’s designed for larger tablets, it’s still an easy and quick setup to save you time.
It features an adjustable, foldable glass frame, a quick-release base plate, and a much lighter design that makes it more portable than its predecessors.
In fact, the solid CNC machined aluminum construction makes it super lightweight so you can take it from the studio to locations in the field with ease. The custom foam hard case for carrying the teleprompter enhances its portability.
This unit has a 15mm rod base for versatility and ease of use, and includes an elite remote as well.
The scientific-grade 70/30 teleprompter glass ensures high clarity and sharpness for an easy reading experience while the adjustability to various types of camera sizes makes it an excellent option whether you shoot with a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a video camera.
Best Teleprompters of 2019: Little Prompter
Another one of our favorite teleprompters of 2019 is the Little Prompter.
As its name indicates, it's a compact teleprompter that you can use to deliver polished talking points to the camera no matter where you’re recording.
It’s a versatile setup that’s also easy to use, so you can use it with a wide range of cameras without having a long setup time.
This unit can be used with your smartphone, and when paired with a teleprompter app, the Little Prompter can operate with your computer’s built-in camera and microphone.
Little prompter can also easily pair with a mirrorless camera or DSLR, a webcam, or even a handycam.
The lightweight body measures just 6 x 6 x 6 inches and is made of durable expanded PVC. It has an adjustable tripod attachment support bar, spacers, and screws to give you versatile setup options. All these components are manufactured using 6061 aluminum for durability.
The teleprompter glass is made of high-quality 70/30 BeamSplitter glass that gives you beautiful sharpness and excellent transparency as well.
This is just a smartly designed and well-made teleprompter that might just be the ideal fit for your teleprompter needs.
Best Teleprompters of 2019: Padcaster Parrot
Next on our list of the best teleprompters of 2019 is the Padcaster Parrot, another multi-functional, affordable teleprompter.
This teleprompter fully sets up in just a few minutes’ time, which makes it a solid choice for videographers that need to run and gun.
Just attach any camera system to the unit, insert your phone, and read the text that shows on the teleprompter. The companion Parrot app makes it super easy to set up.
Like the other teleprompters on this list, the Parrot uses 70/30 BeamSplitter glass for the highest-quality view of your script.
This unit also comes with 13 mounting rings so you can easily attach it to almost any type of camera lens.
There is a Bluetooth remote to improve ease of use via the Parrot app and there's a glass cleaning kit included in the bundle as well.
Best Teleprompters of 2019: Datavideo TP-300B
Last but not least, the Datavideo TP-300B is a great teleprompter option for videographers that use an iPad or Android tablet for reading scripts.
The scripts or cue sheets that you create can be quickly and easily transferred into the DV prompter application software and scrolled at a set automatic rate. Additionally, it can be controlled via an optional remote if a set rate is not desired.
The prompter software gives you plenty of options for customizing the text size, colors, and fonts so you can make the script as easily readable as possible from a variety of distances.
The unit has a versatile mounting system that enables you quickly and easily mount many different-sized tablets to it.
The strong prompter frame affixes to any standard tripod and gives you the option of using it as a standalone, in front of the camera, or below the lens. Whatever the positioning, you’ll appreciate the 60/40 glass that allows you to see the script clearly.
photo bylisegagne via iStock
So, you’re good to go behind the lens if you’re shooting photos. But what about videos?
Today’s cameras offer all sorts of incredible video features, and more and more photographers are putting those features to use.
By expanding your skillset to include video production, you not only have an additional means of making money (if you’re a pro photographer), but you also have another way to pursue your creative interests.
Learning how to create beautiful videos can actually help you create more beautiful photos, too. It’s a win-win!
Here’s a few simple video tips for photographers you might consider mastering.
Video Tip #1: Use Your Photography Know-How
photo bymolchanovdmitry via iStock
You already understand that to get the best shots, you need to work hard for the composition. Well, the same applies for videos.
Nothing is worse than looking at a bunch of photos, all of which are taken from the same perspective and eye level. Why would it be okay to do that for video?!
By using your photography know-how about composition and framing, you’ll be able to create much more compelling video footage.
photo byozgurdonmaz via iStock
Get down low and shoot up toward the subject to make it seem more imposing and larger than life. Get above the subject and record down toward them for the opposite effect.
Frame your video sequences with the subject positioned out-of-center, just like the Rule of Thirds states. Find interesting angles from which to shoot footage, too.
From a composition standpoint, you already have much of the knowledge and skills you need - you just need to put them into practice!
Recommended Videography Reading:
- How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro
- The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques
Video Tip #2: Steady as She Goes
photo by mixetto via iStock
My dad, God bless him, is the worst video shooter in the world. FaceTiming him is like being on a boat in a violent storm.
No one wants to watch shaky video, and that means one thing - investing in a gimbal.
Gimbals are easy to use and give your videos that beautifully smooth, cinematic look. They can be used for all kinds of videos, from selfie-mode sequences (as shown above) to subject tracking and everything in between.
Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash
You can get a gimbal for your iPhone for about $100. If you shoot with a mirrorless or DSLR camera, a bigger gimbal is necessary. While gimbals for mirrorless and DSLR cameras can be quite spendy, if you're serious about producing top-quality videos, the money spent is definitely worth it.
Either way, a gimbal is your ticket to video footage that looks like it was shot by a pro.
Video Tip #3: Up Your Studio Game
While I love to get outside and shoot footage, a lot of what I do is at home in my studio.
Shooting video in the studio is much more difficult, if you ask me. Perhaps it’s because of the nature of the videos I create at home.
I often create review videos or instructional videos, so I’m spending a lot of time looking at the camera and talking.
While I’m sure some YouTubers can speak to the camera off the cuff and get their point across, I need more organization for my thoughts. And for that, I have a teleprompter.
I did a feature a couple of months ago in which I discussed the best teleprompters of 2019.
One of the rigs on that list was the mPrompter teleprompter, which I’ve really enjoyed using.
This thing is small, portable, and durable. That’s a great combination of features! It’s stainless steel body and frame has a textured black coating that helps minimize reflections and glare, which can be a problem even in the studio because of all the studio lights I have.
The 3mm glass mirror has a 70/30% reflective coating so it’s easy to read the text. The mirror is permanently attached and free floated in a stainless steel bezel as well.
Though it was designed for use with a smartphone, mPrompter can be used with any kind of camera. I use it with my Canon EOS R with great success.
On top of all that, it’s incredibly easy to set up. All you need is about 60 seconds to get it up and rolling. That’s not bad!
Add to that an affordable price, and you have a reliable, easy-to-use teleprompter that won’t break the bank.
Video Tip #4: Give a Green Screen a Try
photo by DGLimages via iStock
There is no end to the creative possibilities if you have a green screen at your disposal…
Usually called chroma key compositing, using a green screen allows you to add special effects onto the green screen in post-production.
You don’t have to get crazy with the backgrounds you use, either. Having a simple landscape displaying as you discuss landscape photography tips is a great idea.
Being able to add whatever background you want adds production value to your videos, creates more depth and dimension in the footage, and allows you to explore creative options that are more engaging for your viewers.
With the popularity of video growing by the day, having tools at your disposal that helps set your videos apart is definitely a good thing!
Video Tip #5: Dial in the Best Camera Settings
By educating yourself about the best camera settings to use for video, you’ll be in a better position to get the results you’re looking for.
There are a gazillion video tips for photographers out there, but these should get you started on the right foot. As always, practicing your craft is what will help you the most, so grab your gear, get out there, and start filming!