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How to Choose the Right Teleprompter? | Datavideo

How to Choose the Right Teleprompter?

Jul 09 2024

A suitable teleprompter can significantly enhance a presenter's oral presentation skills and greatly reduce stuttering and forgetting lines, leading to fewer retakes. This not only improves the efficiency of the video production team but also ensures high-quality video content that can drive viewership traffic.

Understanding the fundamental concepts of teleprompting is crucial. Different teleprompters have unique features and functions, with a wide range of prices. This article aims to provide readers with a comprehensive guide to purchasing teleprompters, helping them understand the factors to consider, such as teleprompter size, compatible camera types, beam splitter glass, and applications for playing and editing scripts.

Choosing the Teleprompter Size - Viewing Distance

The larger the teleprompters size, the larger the readable script area, which is beneficial for viewing distance. However, bigger is only sometimes better. Consider the following points when choosing the teleprompter size.

When using a large teleprompter at close range, the speaker's eyes or head will move from left to right with the scrolling text. This subtle movement can make it evident to viewers that the presenter is reading the texts from a teleprompter. The most straightforward rule of thumb is to match the teleprompter size (in inches) to the viewing distance (in feet). For example, a 10-inch teleprompter's screen is best viewed from 10 feet away, and a 15-inch screen is best viewed from 15 feet.


Compatibility with Different Camera Sizes

Different teleprompter sizes suit different types of cameras. Small teleprompters are suitable for small cameras or digital mirrorless cameras but cannot support large broadcast cameras. Large teleprompters are designed for ENG cameras and may not be compatible with lightweight digital cameras.

Teleprompters can be categorized into several types based on the types of cameras they can accommodate. Videographers select the appropriate teleprompter according to their camera type and usage needs, ensuring that the camera can be securely and stably mounted on the teleprompter, achieving the best teleprompting and shooting results.

Desktop Teleprompters:

Compact and suitable for small digital cameras, utilizing smartphones as script players, and can be placed on a desk.

General-Purpose Teleprompters:

These are ideal for lightweight cameras like handheld camcorders, DSLRs, or mirrorless cameras. They offer easy setup and portability for daily interview videos or professional speeches.

Professional Teleprompters:

Designed for heavy professional cameras and accessories, such as broadcast-grade cameras, ENG cameras, microphones, and lighting. These teleprompters feature a dedicated monitor and robust structures for professional studio video productions.

Speech Teleprompters:

These are designed for corporate conferences or public speaking events. They have stand-alone supports and semi-transparent mirrors that reflect the screen text. From the audience's perspective, the transparent glass allows the presenters to appear as if they are speaking fluently without any aids. This type of teleprompter is solely for the presenter's use to read the script and does not support mounting a camera for simultaneous video capturing.


Tripod Payload Capacity

Larger teleprompters are typically paired with larger cameras, resulting in a heavier overall setup. Therefore, when selecting a teleprompter, it is essential to consider that a tripod can support the total weight of the teleprompter and camera setup. The tripod should be stable and sturdy. It must be robust enough to support the teleprompter and maintain stability. Choosing a tripod supporting at least 15 pounds (about 8 kg) of payload is recommended.


Beam Splitter Glass Light Transmission and Reflection Rates

The beam splitter of the teleprompter is the most critical component that affects the teleprompting experience. High-quality beam splitters usually use tint-free mirror coating on the reflective surface to ensure that color distortion and blur are reduced during the imaging process and the clarity and contrast of the image are improved, making the final image more realistic and detailed. In addition, an anti-reflective coating will be used on the back of the beam splitter to reduce the loss and interference of reflected light, thus preventing double images or so-called "ghosting." Anti-reflection coating can reduce the surface's reflectivity and increase the light transmittance, making the imaging more precise and accurate. This design is especially crucial for optical applications that require high precision and high-quality imaging.

Beam splitter specifications are often indicated as 60/40 or 70/30, meaning 60% light transmission/40% reflection or 70% light transmission/30% reflection. A 60/40 splitter offers better reflection, making the text easier to read, though it transmits 10% less light than a 70/30 splitter. By increasing ISO sensitivity, digital cameras can compensate for lower light transmission, making the 60/40 splitter popular.


Script Playing and Editing Methods

When choosing a teleprompter, you must consider hardware specifications such as size and compatible video camera, and the device used to play scripts. 

Small and medium sized teleprompters allow you to use a tablet or smartphone as the manuscript player. Users can download an application to play and edit scripts from the App Store or Google Play, the user only needs to Edit and play the script through an app on a mobile device. Professional teleprompters are equipped with a large monitor, sometimes with the software embedded inside. Users can edit and control scripts through a computer's Web interface, otherwise the computers typically connects to the monitor via HDMI to play the scripts.

 Teleprompter apps can help users play and edit scripts more conveniently. The main functions include:

File Format Support:

The application is compatible with common file formats, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Mac iOS Page, Keynote and PDF files, etc.

Text Settings:

The editor allows users to adjust text size, font type, color, and alignment, even using multiple fonts in a single script. It also supports embedding images.

Mirror Display Mode:

The image reflected by the beam splitter is inverted up and down, left and right. Thus, the teleprompter's application supports a mirror mode display of the script so that the presenter can see the correctly displayed script through the glass.

Hardware Controllers:

This feature allows users to control the playing speed with a hardware controller that can speed up and down the playing speed to suit personal preferences and usage conditions. The remote controller can adjust the font size, jump to specific points (markers) in the script, and switch between scripts in the playlist.


This article provides a comprehensive overview of teleprompters, helping you gain an in-depth understanding of different types and key specifications. Whether you are a new teleprompter user or looking to upgrade your existing equipment, this article can provide you with a wealth of reference information.

Datavideo offers a full range of teleprompters, from lightweight desktop models to professional setups for ENG or PTZ cameras. For more information on our teleprompter range, please visit Datavideo's website or contact us.


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