January 10, 2023
Speaking in front of an audience, live or pre-recorded, requires preparation to ensure that your delivery is engaging and natural. For some, that means writing out a full script, and for others that means jotting down bullet points, or using cue cards.
Unless you have been gifted with a photographic memory, it can be a challenge to remember an entire script, and having physical notes can cause you to not only look away from a camera, and lose ‘eye contact’, but it can also be distracting to your audience. So how do your favorite Youtubers, TV hosts, and content creators not miss a beat when delivering a piece to camera? The answer to that is a teleprompter.
What is a teleprompter anyway?
A teleprompter, also known as an autocue, is a device that provides you with visual access to a script as you speak. Teleprompter hardware like a beam-splitter mirror lets you place your camera lens directly behind your autocue so you’ll appear to be looking straight into the camera as you read the script but some of these solutions are expensive and complicated to set up.
Instead, you can easily turn the devices you already have into a teleprompter. Keep reading to learn how to use your iPhone or iPad to sound and look like a pro in your next video.
How do I turn my phone or tablet into a teleprompter?
The first step to transforming your device into a teleprompter is deciding what software and hardware you want to use. There’s loads of apps and browser options available, so it’s important to figure out what kind of features are important to you. Check out the apps and browser options below that all work on your iOS devices.
One of the first apps you can try is most likely already installed on your iOS device, Pages. The app allows you to either select the document you want to read or create a new one. Thanks to its’ “Presenter Mode” feature, there’s loads of customization options that can compete with some of the best teleprompter apps out there.
This one stands out because it uses a trademarked voice activation feature that enables the app to listen to speech and adjust the scroll speed accordingly. The paid version unlocks additional features.
The free version of this app lets you create custom presentations with photos, videos and other elements. It also allows you to move the text as close to the camera as possible which is helpful if you’re using the same device to record yourself. The premium version unlocks remote control access for Apple watch and bluetooth keyboards.
Browser friendly options
If you’re using a second monitor or your camera is close to your screen, you might be able to use one of these browser based options. These are great if you're just using your script as guidance rather than reading verbatim, and they all work in Safari on your iOS device without requiring any downloads or sign-ups.
This web based app was created by Travis Arnold when he found himself needing a teleprompter to record videos but couldn’t find an app that matched his needs. It’s pretty straight forward with the option of typing or pasting your text to get started. Prompt.co enables a lot of flexibility as it allows you to pick between three different speeds, sizes and text positions.
If you’re looking for more features like the ability to change background and text color, prompter width and height, and text mirroring, Cueprompter.com could be for you. With the option of picking between their Old Prompter and New Prompter, you can figure out which version fits your style best.
Other than selling beam splitter mirrors, Teleprompter Mirror also provides a free browser teleprompter, along with lots of resources and guides to help you navigate their tools and software. They also have a free voice activated version available which is helpful if you want a tool that follows your natural speech flow and speed.
Now that we’ve covered a couple of options, let’s talk about placement. Where you position your teleprompter in relation to your camera is probably the most important part of making your delivery look natural.
Even if you’re not going to be reading your script verbatim, having it as close to your lens as possible will still help you maintain your flow and not look down at your screen or your desk. It’s pretty obvious if you’re facing the camera but your eyes are reading off a screen in a completely different position.
Other than the tripod you use for your camera, you’ll need another tripod along with a mount like the Joby GripTight Pro if you’re using an iPad or their 360 Phone Mount if you’re using your iPhone. Check out the video below for more recommendations on mounting your phone or camera.
If you’re feeling good about your chosen app and set up but looking for more tips on recording and editing your video, check out our Youtube channel. Until then, practice makes better, so test different scroll speeds, text sizes, and more, to find what suits your style best. Let us know if you’re already using a teleprompter today and how it’s going!