Teleprompter Tips

Here's my $0-and-less-than-10-minute special version of a teleprompter - and it works super dandy!


So, how can construct a swell gizmo like this? Glad you asked! There are 2 parts to consider: the teleprompter box, and the teleprompter screen & software:

PART 1: THE TELEPROMPTER BOX

Materials:

  • 1 - 7” x 8” x 14.5” cardboard box (mine's an Amazon 1A7 B47 (you'll find the size on the bottom of the box);

  • 1 - 9” x 12” picture frame with glass (mine was originally from the Dollar Store. It cost me $1 and had been living in a closet for the last 4 years);

  • 2 - 12” wooden kebab skewers. Check at the back of your kitchen drawers – you'll probably find some lurking there;

  • 1 – roll of tape. I used packing tape. Gaffer, masking, and almost any other kind will do;

  • 1 – old black t-shirt (or some other black piece of fabric). I find mine under the sink, ready for it's next life as a rag); ready for cleaning windows; and;

  • 1 adjustable stand. I started with an old music stand, then upgraded to an unused photo light stand after taping an old piece of hardware I could screw to the light-stand.

Tools Required:

  • a pencil to mark where you want a hole in your box for your camera to peek through, and;

  • a knife to cut the hole for your camera to peek through

Assembly:

  1. fold the 4 sides of the box's lid inward. This provides a nice spring-like squeeze for holding other parts in place;
  2. measure and cut a hole in the middle of the box's bottom big enough for your camera to peek through. I cut mine the same diameter as the lens on my camera;
  3.  line the box with your back fabric and tape it into place. The idea is to have a matte black non-reflective interior;
  4. cut a hole in the fabric for the hole in the bottom of the box and tape as appropriate;
  5. slip the picture frame into the box with 1 long edge touching the bottom of the box, the other touching to top edge;
  6. break your kebab skewers to wedge securely between the edge of the picture frame touching the top edge of the box, and the opposite top edge of the box;
  7. test your brand new teleprompter by turning it on its side, skewered picture frame edge up. Slip your tablet or phone into the box and check out the reflect in the glass;
  8. install your brand new teleprompter on the adjustable stand of your choice, pop your camera behind (on its own adjustable stand, and ensure your camera has a clear view.

PART 2: THE TELEPROMPTER SCREEN & SOFTWARE

TEXT PROJECTION
I use an old 5.5” x 8' tablet to project my text in the teleprompter. Basically you want something that will fit in your teleprompter box and has a nice bright screen.


SOFTWARE

There are  lots of free teleprompter apps out there. I use PromptSmart Pro, which has a small monthly fee. It tracks my voice as I read and advances the text automatically, leaving me 100% free just to focus on presenting. 


LAST TIPS

I set my display to 40 point black text on a white background, which is super easy to see, even from 5 feet away. I prepare my texts in Word, then copy/paste to PromptSmart Pro after first reading it aloud a few times to ensure the text fits my speaking style.