A few years ago I explored making videos with my Canon 60D. I made a few and quickly realized how difficult it is to work without a script. I got a teleprompting app for my iPad and that did help. The app takes the text of your script and slowly scrolls it so you can read it easily. You can adjust the timing of the scrolling and the size of the text. There are several free apps, as well as many that sell from as low as 99¢ up to $25. When I tried this, I had to place my iPad just under the camera and it is obvious that I'm not looking directly into the lens of the camera. Recently, I've gotten interested again in doing some video recording and have, therefore, been looking for homemade teleprompter ideas. The advantage of using a teleprompter setup is that your script reflects from the iPad/tablet screen onto a clear piece of glass. You place your video camera behind the glass so that as you look into the lens you are actually seeing the reflected script scrolling on the glass! Commercial teleprompters are quite pricey so to be able to make one yourself for under $15 is a very attractive alternative.
A search for "DIY teleprompters" will return a lot of blog posts and YouTube videos with some very creative - and, sometimes, very elaborate - approaches to making teleprompters to use with iPads or Android tablets. The ones I have found most appealing are those that use two 8x10 picture frames, so that is the route I've decided to take to make a teleprompter for my iPad Mini 3. The video that came closest to showing what I feel is a reasonable and relatively easy approach is one by vinvin121 on YouTube. He uses two 8x10 picture frames to create his DIY teleprompter. He removes the backing board from one frame and leaves the glass and removes the glass from the other and keeps the backing board. The first will serve as the section that will reflect the text from his tablet and the second will act as a platform on which the tablet will sit. Vinvin121 creates a hinge to connect the two frames by using tape. I had planned to use gaffers tape in combination with electrical tape. However, when I went to Michael's, a popular hobby and craft store here in the USA, I was pleasantly surprised to find a two frame combo hinged together with two hinges! Perfect! The cost was $14 and I had a 40% off coupon, so my total outlay was only a little over $9 with tax!
I have my main components and they are already connected, so all that is left for me to do is prepare each picture frame, add some small pieces to the backing board on one to raise the iPad Mini up a bit in case I decide to add a tripod mount to the backing board (not sure about that yet), and figure out how I want to support the frame with the glass at the correct angle when I'm using the teleprompter. Vinvin121 cut a piece from the extra, unused backing board that he then screwed into both frames. I saw another guy use a short piece of wood dowel as a prop to accomplish this and that's what I think I will try to do. I'm not at home right now so I won't be able to complete these final steps until next week when I have access to a dowel and the tools I will need.
So, how will this homemade teleprompter work? After I get it up and running and test it out, I'll let you know! I still need to work out dowel support for glass side of frame and get a teleprompter app that supports mirroring so text is readable as it reflects in the glass. Note that the camera does not "see" the text, thus being able to take a clean shot of the subject in front of it.
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