Joyco and the Teleprompter
Joyco rented various teleprompter rigs through the years and it became evident that there was much to be gained by being able to offer clients the use of teleprompter system that was up-to-date and versatile. After extensive research, Joyco settled on the TeleScript system because it offered an optimum mix of features at an affordable price point.
A teleprompter consists of several basic elements: first and foremost, a screen to display the copy being read by the on-camera talent. In the old days, copy had to printed on to a continuous paper roll that spooled slightly below the camera's lens. Today, the display is usually an LCD monitor wired to a computer that runs specialized software for displaying text on a screen. This technology is much more flexible and allows the client to edit what is being read on-camera, while the production is on going. The display is very clear and easy to see from a distance.
The second most important part of a teleprompter, especially prompters mounted on the camera, is a semi-silvered, semi-transparent mirror that reflects the words of the script shown on the LCD monitor, so the talent can see it. Because it's semi-transparent, the camera can shoot through it without degrading the recorded image. As a result, the on-camera talent appears to be looking right in to the camera lens, not off camera, while reading a script, and maintaining perfect eye contact with the viewer.
It's also interesting to point out that not all teleprompters are mounted on cameras. The "presidential" model is favored by many politicians and business leaders for speech making during campaigns and important public meetings. With the executive model, the copy on the LCD monitor is again reflected by a semi-transparent mirror that is mounted on a rod and held above the monitor, which usually placed on the floor to the left and right of the speaker's platform.
Perhaps you've noticed during speeches given by the President, what appear to be rectangular pieces of glass mounted on rods positioned on either side the podium. These pieces of glass are the semi-transparent mirrors that reflect the words of the speech in such a way that only the people behind the podium can see the reflection of the monitors sitting on the floor on each side of the podium. The speaker appears to be talking without referring to notes, because he is actually reading from a script displayed only to him by the teleprompter operator.
The whole point of using a teleprompter is to allow the on-camera talent to make eye contact and thereby a psychological connection with the audience. But the process starts, like any video production with a rough script. That rough draft is then refined and finally becomes a full-fledged script. Ah ha, here is where the talent of a good script writer/editor is needed, something Joyco can supply.
Many clients are fully capable of writing their own scripts. But is that script "readable out loud?" That's the true test and one that client-written scripts often fail. For instance, watch any TV news broadcast. We know that newsreaders are reading a script, but it comes across as very conversational, like they're telling a story. Hmmm, I guess they are telling a story.
On the other hand, grab a newspaper and select any article at random and read it out loud. Doesn't sound very conversational does it, even though it too, is telling a story. It's the way it's written. One is written to read out loud, the other to be read "internally." Both communicate the facts, but the TV story sounds better to the ear. Any script that's to be read out loud must be imbued with this property of "sounding good to the ear." Here's where Joyco's experience really helps clients.
Over the years, we've recorded hundreds of scripts. We know what sounds good. We can help clients by either writing the script for you or editing your own script is such a way to make it sound good on camera. Once we have a good script to shoot, we guide our on-camera talent with direction that brings out the best of their ability and communicates the message effectively.
Many clients shy away from appearing on-camera. But the use of a teleprompter and caring direction from Joyco staffers can make even shy folks shine on-camera.
Teleprompter Tips for the Superstar
Here are a few tips to remember when faced with the prospect of appearing on-camera. Most important, RELAX. Stiff, monotone delivery will not win any points from the Speech Department. Secondly, practice reading your script prior to shoot day. This will greatly aide appearing to be relaxed while on camera. Next, remember to speak the words of the script in a conversational tone with pauses and emphasis on certain words. Raising and lowering of the tone of your voice helps too.
Lastly, try to envision the audience you are speaking to. Instead of a camera, try to think of the lens as a person's face. Think of the impression you'd like to make on the person you're speaking to, face to face. Use of a teleprompter will greatly increase your confidence. Your delivery will appear thoughtful and off the cuff, just like when you talk to friends in person.
Without a doubt, one of the most important production tools Joyco can offer clients is a teleprompter loaded with a great script. With Joyco's help, and the right combination of production hardware, production personnel and script, you will be able to deliver your message in a sincere and meaningful manner, reaching your audience and accomplishing your goals.