Teleprompters are a great tool to craft the perfect narrative on camera. When used properly, it can help talent say exactly what needs to be said. If you’re preparing for your first time reading from the teleprompter or if you’re looking to improve your skills, here are our top three tips for working with one:
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Oftentimes we see clients step into the green screen unprepared because they assume a teleprompter is similar to reading a script. In reality, reading off a teleprompter is a skill. In order to not sound robotic, practice and familiarize yourself with the content beforehand. If the words coming across the screen aren’t a surprise, you’ll be able to focus on your delivery instead of just “getting the words right.” Acting on screen can be exhausting. Delivering the same presentation and enthusiasm as you redo takes can take a toll. Reviewing your lines will help to save time, money, studio time and avoid fatigue, making you look great on screen.
2. Watch The Eye Line
It’s distracting when it looks like you are reading your lines. This often happens when the copy is spread across the screen and you can see the talent’s eyes dart back and forth. In order to avoid this and help the talent, most video production companies will consolidate the copy to the middle of the screen. This minimizes the need for the eyes of the reader to move across the entirety of the screen and keep their eyes centered in line with the lens.
When the content is arranged like this, it means that there are fewer words on the screen at any given moment and as a result, even at a slow scroll speed, the copy will be coming at the talent much faster than they might expect. Which brings us back to point 1, prepare. By being prepared and knowing the content, it’ll help you avoid surprises and it’ll be easier to deliver the content that is showing up on the screen.
3. Deliver The Lines Authentically
Anything can be edited – except making someone look comfortable and confident on screen. If you look anxious, nervous, stumble through your lines, that will read on screen. Plan to come into the studio, deliver the lines conversationally, and most importantly, be yourself.
A lot of times, people who are new to being on camera or people that are typically soft spoken feel the need to overact, over project, and boast a bigger personality than is in their comfort zone. This more often than not comes across as forced and insincere. We find that being yourself and delivering in a cadence that’s comfortable for you will come across as more authentic. In combination with being prepared, you’ll be able to keep your eye line in the right spot and deliver content that will truly make you look your best.
We’ve seen people over the years underestimate what it takes to read off a teleprompter which leads to more time on set filming and more work and cost in post-production. What’s great is that reading off a teleprompter is a skill that can be learned, practiced and improved, and we’ve seen that happen time and time again with clients as they come back to produce talking head videos for ongoing social media, quarterly update videos, trading videos, tips videos and more. When its leveraged effectively, the teleprompter can take away a lot of the stress of memorization and allow the talent to deliver lines naturally for great results.