Frequently Asked Questions

What's next?

I am working on marrying the video technology that I developed elsewhere to allow people to use their webcam to record while running the free teleprompter, and then being able to download their recording (which of course won't show the teleprompter script.

Where can I get a real hardware teleprompter?

You can order a real one from Prompter People.

Why did you mention Prompter People, Why Not My Company?

Well I did put together the server, write and run that ecommerce site, and flolight, and the other marketing for them for a few years. :-)

Why is it not smooth?

The animation's smoothness is a function of your computer's resources. Try a different browser, switch off some of the other programs that you are running, change your resolution, or stop using slow browsers, especially MSIE.

What browser do you recommend?

I recommend Firefox 8. This application works on, and has been tested with Firefox 6,7 & 8 (PC), Internet Explorer 9 (PC) , Chrome 13 (PC), Firefox 4 (Mac) and Safari 5 (Mac). This application currently does not work on the iPad.

Can I reverse the text?

Yes. Mirroring has been tested on Firefox 6, 7 & 8 and Chrome for PC. It works occasionally on MSIE, however with MSIE even if it does work with your version, it will use a lot of cpu resources. Why are you still using Internet Explorer, collect viruses, or want to make your cpu sweat?

Do I have to download a special font to use mirroring?

No. Your computer comes with fonts :-) The whole point of this site is that there is no need to download anything, if we were to ask you to download a backwards font, we might as well ask you to download a teleprompter application.

Why would I want to use mirroring?

You would use this mode if you are driving teleprompter hardware with your video output.

Can I use double-byte characters such as in Japanese, Chinese etc?

Yes. I support them on the backend, but your browser will need to support them too. If you can see such text correctly online, you can use this system for it.

Can I use Right to Left read languages such as Arabic, Hebrew etc?

Yes. I support them on the backend, but your browser will need to support them too. Just select the right to left teleprompter mode and paste or type in your text.

Why did you create this site?

Just for fun, and as an experiment. I've seen plenty of online teleprompters, but they just weren't good enough.

What is a Prompter Anyway?

A teleprompter, often called just a prompter is a device that displays a prewritten text block scrolling to allow the viewer to read a speech without using cue cards or paper notes.

  1. Speech, or presidential style teleprompters. These are used in public speaking. Generally you use two so you can pan and scan the crowd while reading a speech, with one slightly offset to each side of you. It is made up of a piece of glass or acrylic at an angle, with a video monitor, generally LCD these days on the ground pointing up. The monitor displays reversed text which reflects off the glass towards the speaker's eyes. When the text reflects the image is no longer reversed. The audience behind do not see the text. You can buy these from a number of companies, generally starting at around $1000 USD.
  2. The other common style of teleprompter is a "through the lens" teleprompter. This is designed for someone speaking into a video camera so as to let the speaker maintain direct eye contact with the camera/ audience. Without one, a speakers eyes will drift downwards to cotes or cue cards which though it involves little movement, is very offputting to an audience. The design of a camera teleprompter is quite similar to a presidential, in that there's an LCD pointing up with reversed text, and a glass sheet at 45 degrees to it. This glass is over the camera lens. It needs to be a pretty special glass so as to prevent as much as possible light "leaks" from the LCD from going back to the camera sensor, whilst allowing as much as possible direct light through it unimpeded. You can buy these from a number of companies such as Prompter People, generally starting at around $500 USD.
  3. Almost through the lens camera teleprompters are used in special situations where a normal teleprompter can't go. Sometimes a Camera may have a light ring of various types around the lens, or a long complex lens which physically impedes the placement of a teleprompter rig, in these cases a monitor will often be mounted just above or below the lens for the speaker to read. This third type of teleprompter is not absolutely ideal as the eye will not be exactly at the camera, but it still represents a vast improvement over cue cards.

Generally people won't encounter prompters on a day to day basis, however in recent years more and more consumer applications are emerging, some of which don't even require any teleprompter hardware, at least when implementing the 3rd type - almost though the lens teleprompters. Most laptops these days have built in webcameras just above the LCD, so it's possible to use the LCD to hold prewritten text when recording a video, or speaking to an audience through the webcam. One good example of this technology in action is the free teleprompter service provided by prompter.tv.

Often if you are talking to an audience over a webcam, and delivering something important there is no opportunity for "second takes" or third or forth ones for that matter. Getting your text all written down in advance, proof read and spell checked can make the process far easier, and the delivery far more professional. Taking the prompter.tv example again you would just copy and paste your speech or notes directly into the free prompter at prompter.tv, hit start, and deliver your speech, reading the scrolling text (after setting your preferred speed and size) and speaking almost directly into the camera.