SpeakEasy Teleprompt
   
 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions which are not covered here, please send an email to speakeasy@teleprompt.com.au or contact Barbara on (+61)(0) 408 969 219

 

How Does an Autocue/Prompter System Work?

Answer:
There are three components to our hire service of an autocue/prompting system:
• The camera or conference equipment,
• The computer system & software, and the operator.

SpeakEasy Teleprompt uses laptop computers running the broadcast quality Cueword prompting software. This is specialised software which functions a bit like a word processor, and scripts can be loaded from Microsoft Word documents either emailed or from USB memory sticks, or even typed in and easily edited when required. The Cueword controller sends out a vision signal so that the script appears on a video monitor in a large sized font. The picture on the monitor is usually reversed, which allows it to be reflected onto semi-reflective glass (which are one way mirrors). This software allows the script to be smoothly scrolled up the screen, similar to the end credits of a movie. The operator controls the speed at which the text moves, keeping it in time with the presenter and stopping the text if they need to pause or adlib.

Television

For television, the mirror is placed in front of the camera lens, allowing the presenter to read their script whilst appearing to look directly at the lens. This system has been the mainstay for TV news readers for decades. Because the glass only reflects on one side, the camera is not affected.

Television

On Stage

Conferences or On-Stage Events

For conferences, two monitors are used which sit on the floor with the screen facing upwards. The mirrors are attached to poles, allowing them to be raised up to the height of the presenter's vision. Commonly, these LCD On-Stage Kits will be placed one on each side of the lectern. This system allows the speaker to view their script whilst looking directly at the audience, and allows for them to scan across left and right, maintaining frequent eye contact.
Other Uses

Finally, monitors can also be used without mirrors and reversed text. Interviews, comedy and drama use monitors placed out of frame but at the appropriate eye levels, allowing scripts to be viewed, without it being apparent to an audience. Awards nights, conferences and concerts also use monitors without glass. Large monitors can be placed at the back of a venue, in the middle of the audience, or at the base of the stage, allowing scripts, speeches and song lyrics to be viewed easily.

 

What are the technical considerations when using
a prompter system for Television & Video?

Answer:
Our Flatscreen Camera Displays can be fitted to most industry cameras with ease. Below some more specific details are outlined about their setup and operation.

 
Independent Stand

Our Independent Stand unit is very popular. It consists of the standard 15” hood and monitor normally mounted to a tripod but mounted on a stand. This setup allows the camera to be set for a shot then the autocue hood and screen marry to the front of the lens just prior to shooting. There is some movement limitation but for most stationary “locked off” shots this is ideal and quicker to set up.

The Camera Base Plate / Mounting Systems

The base plates used on standard broadcast ENG cameras will fit onto our prompting systems without problems. The wedge/chip which slots into the tripod and normally screws onto the bottom of the camera base plate is removed and attached to the bottom of the autocue base plate. This then slots directly into the tripod, and the camera base plate is screwed onto the autocue base plate - using the supplied bolts.
Cueword
For a studio camera mounted on a pedestal, you need to request a studio base plate. We use industry standard Autoscript hoods that adapt direct to the standard Vinten pedestals for these setups.
Occasionally there will be cameras which do not have compatible mounting systems or tripods to sustain the weight of our 15" standard prompters. This mostly occurs with small HDV cameras or sometimes film cameras with specialised tripod heads. In this case, a prompter can still be set up on a stand and then placed in front of the camera. Bear in mind that this will prevent panning or tilting the camera. For crane or complex dolly shots, we can mount the prompter on an articulated arm and situate the 7" or 10" monitor just above the lens..

Our new Baby Cue systems are fantastic for use on jib arms or cranes and sport a HiBright 10" screen for easy reading even in full sunlight.

 

The Weight

Our autocue systems have a considerable adjustment range for moving the balance of the added weight. Our operators will work with you to ensure the weight on the tripod head is balanced and not front or back heavy. It is very rare that there is not enough adjustment to achieve this balance without adding extra weights. If you're using a particularly light tripod, we would suggest using the lighter Baby Cue, or independent stand system.
 

The Camera Lens / Prompter Hood

Where light levels need to be precisely measured - e.g. when using film - be aware that the prompter glass reduces light by one third of a stop.

Power

Our systems run off 240V mains power, and we also have Battery operated equipment. If your production will use a location without power, please request a battery system when booking.
 

Vision Feeds

We can output several vision feeds from our Cueword computer via Composite BNC cables. This allows us to provide a feed to more than one camera display, extra monitors, and for a director's feed to an OB truck or control room. Please consider in advance how you might utilise these extra feeds and if you need to run any extra cabling.
For studio cameras, we usually send a vision feed to the control room for the director and to be sent to the autocue camera. We then take power and our vision signal direct from the camera (prompter out) - running it into the autocue monitor using short leads.
 

Answer:
Our Conference Displays are usually used in sets of two, one for each side of the lectern. They are housed in discreet black boxes and our operators both run and tape the cabling where required.

 

Positioning of the Prompters

The prompters work best when placed on the stage, in front and on either side of the lectern - about 1 - 1.5 metres away. If they are too far below the stage level, the poles must be extended higher and the size and brightness of the text (as reflected in the mirrors) is reduced. Please take this into account when positioning and lighting the lectern. If there is no room on the stage for the prompters, an additional riser or some dressed road cases can be of great help.
It is also desirable to avoid stage lighting spilling onto the prompter displays, as it reduces the brightness and contrast of the words and the reflections can be off-putting to speakers. Note also that the prompter displays are designed to work in darkened rooms; venues with a lot of daylight or bright lighting in the presenter's line-of-sight can reduce their effectiveness. If this is a probability, please advise at the time of booking so we can provide a HiBright LED screen system for such venues. On Stage Setup

Positioning of the Prompter Operator

While a position which provides line-of-sight can be helpful, it is certainly not necessary. But we do need to be able to hear the speakers clearly. Please take this into account when scheduling rehearsals for times when audio personnel may not be available.
We operate from laptop computers so we only need a small amount of table space. Sitting near the show director can be helpful for revising scripts during rehearsals, and can limit the need for a talkback headset.
 

Cabling / Vision Feeds

We provide and run vision cables between the Cueword computer and the Conference Display units. When a venue is particularly large and the operator is positioned some distance away, it can be helpful if patch bays are available or an extra cable can be run when the main AV crew set up. We can take several vision feeds from the Cueword computer, as well as loop through the prompter displays, so additional feeds can be provided for other monitors. We would be happy to work direct with your AV supplier to arrange the best solution for your event.
 

Using Floor Monitors

If you are going to use large plasma displays or floor monitors in addition to or instead of On-Stage Conference Displays, we can easily provide vision feeds for them. Try to place them some distance from where the presenters will be, to allow for viewing from a variety of stage positions. Common placements include at the back of the room, in the middle of the audience (with the audio/lighting desk) or at the base or edge of stage. Our 22" stage floor monitors resemble fold back speaker wedges so can easily be disguised on the front of stage. Perfect for the vocalists trying to recall song lyrics.
 

How should the script be provided
for entering into the Cueword computer?

Answer:
Please note: We only require the presenters words. Not the production notes or cues avoid mixing non-dialogue parts into the prompter script.

 
Email the script beforehand; please save the script as a PLAIN Word Document, Text Only or Rich Textfile, and attach the file to an email at the email address shown on the contacts page.
On site (USB stick)- save the script as a Word Document, Text Only or Rich Textfile. You should remove any tables or "audio/video" columns first to avoid mixing non-dialogue parts into the prompter script. We can then transfer the file from the USB stick on location and easily convert it to the Cueword format.
Provide a hard copy of the script on location on the day of the shoot/conference; please allow enough time for the operator to type in the script and format it correctly for prompter presentation. A hard copy is often useful to keep track of script changes.

At the end of the shoot or event we are able to email or save a copy of the script to the USB stick for your reference. Often handy for editors where major script changes have been made during the shoot or stage event.
Note: scripts can easily be edited, when required, on site.

 
 
Great Autocue

ON-CAMERA & ON-STAGE AUTOCUE

NSW, QLD & ACT.
Phone +61 (0) 408 969 219
SPEAK EASY TELEPROMPT ON-CAMERA & ON-STAGE AUTOCUE 2017 © - Sydney NSW Australia