B&H Spotlight: ProPrompter Field Solutions

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Teleprompters have always been a must have tool for speeches, news broadcasts, and industrial videos. By organizing ideas and proscribing specific language, talent is less dependent on memorization and better focused on delivering content. The ability to stay on script and on point saves time, and provides greater efficiency during production. Teleprompters are not without their flaws, however. Broadcast units can be cumbersome, costly, and difficult to use. In the era of new media, however, this might be changing.

The rise of podcasts and webisodes has dramatically changed the way people consume media. Cloud-only networks such as YouTube and Vimeo have given independent journalists and filmmakers powerful new ways to connect ideas with an audience. The proliferation of independent content has also added increased diversity in the market of compact camcorders, video enabled DSLRs, and accessories. News "as it happens" has many independents employing a very specific set of compact, travel-friendly production tools. The Oregon-based company ProPrompter is poised to make quite an impact in this market with a new line of teleprompter solutions that won't break your back or your bank.

Hardware and Software Solutions

The ProPrompter Wing Kit with a 7.0" LCD screen

The ProPrompter Wing with LCD Mount and Mobile Device Clip transforms an iPhone or iPod Touch into a full-featured teleprompter. The unit easily attaches to the tripod mount of any small to midsize camera, and an adjustable swing arm can be positioned to the left or right of the lens. With the included Mobile Device Clip situated closest to the lens, an iPhone or iPod Touch is placed perfectly at the talent's eye line. For videomakers without an iPhone or iPod Touch, ProPrompter also offers a Wing kit with a 7" LCD screen.

ProPrompter's dedicated software makes loading scripts to the iPhone/iPod Touch hassle free. The software is available through Apple's online App Store for about $10. Begin by saving a script as a rich text file (.rtf) on your Mac or PC. If you're running the latest iPhone 3.x software, simply email the script to the iPhone or iPod Touch and port to the ProPrompter app via cut/paste. For those working with lots of content, ProPrompter's Producer website allows the upload and management of unlimited scripts that can be downloaded directly to the iPhone/iPod touch with the tap of a finger.

The ProPrompter app for iPhone/iPod Touch uses intuitive, multi-touch gestures to control start, stop, and prompting speeds. Font and colors are user selectable, and scrolling text is available in both portrait and landscape orientations. The app also supports presentation mirroring. This feature is a must for productions that require through-the-lens teleprompting.

 

The new ProPrompter ProMag offers one of the smallest through-the-lens teleprompting systems available today. Employing a high-quality 60/40 beam-splitter glass, the unit magnifies iPhone/iPod Touch text for clear viewing up to 15 feet away. The ProMag is very well made and can certainly endure the rigors of field reportage or daily podcasting. An 85mm step-down ring is included in the package, and optional adapters are available in standard sizes between 52mm and 100mm. The ProMag packs away neatly in its own Storm Case and carries like a slightly oversized lunchbox. For run-and-gun applications, the ProPrompter Wing is certainly more practical, but at a dedicated location, the magnification of the ProMag provides a higher quality, true-to-studio experience. It's important to note that the ProMag does not include a Mobile Device Clip, so iPhone/iPod Touch users should pick one up.

The ProPrompter ProMag and foldable Wing with Mobile Device Clip The ProPrompter ProMag and foldable Wing with Mobile Device Clip
From left to right: The ProPrompter ProMag and foldable Wing with Mobile Device Clip

The Digital Lifestyle Connection

It is impossible to describe the 21st-century digital lifestyle without making mention of Apple's iPhone or iPod Touch. These products are amazingly popular and stand as some of the best examples of organic technology. ProPrompter products are capitalizing on the popularity of these devices and adding value by expanding their use into the realm of independent video production. Utilizing the iPhone/iPod Touch as teleprompting tools makes sense. Smart phones and PDAs have long been a part of organizing a shoot. It only seems logical that they become a part of production as well.

In the growing world of independent content creation, focused messages stand out in a crowd. Productions are a combination of many things. But talent, production values, and creativity can only take you so far. The quality of a clear and focused message is what distinguishes a good project from a great one. This is where a teleprompter comes in. Indispensable when clarity is of the utmost importance, they keep talent on topic and on point. The latest offerings from ProPrompter add portability and affordability to the mix. Get your message out there. If it's important, you should share it. I'll be looking for your latest dispatch from the field.

ProPrompter products are made in the USA, and come with 1-year parts and labor warranty.