Howie focusing on his expressions for his 1 min EAE self-intro video.

As a BL2.0 Project coordinator, I work closely with NUS faculty members (FM) to have their lectures recorded and uploaded to NUS LMS. Before any recording is done, pre-work includes checking that the scripts, slides, storyboards are updated according to our FM’s requirements, securing the recording venue as well as liaising with service providers (SP) to arrive early to set up the lighting, scripts and teleprompter.

Ah, let’s discuss a little about the teleprompter. It has been around for decades but I only came to pay more attention to it recently. Thus far, I have assisted a few FMs in getting them comfortable in front of a teleprompter, but never actually done any recording of myself in front of a teleprompter. So, at the recent Shopee 7-7 sale, I grabbed a portable teleprompter (Thanks Alan and Wanyun for the recommendations!) to try it out for myself.

To understand how to better use this particular model I purchased, I searched YouTube for tutorials and this would be one of the better ones I reviewed. I found it quite amazing that the eyeline stays very much centered on the camera and it’s not noticeable that I am reading a script. After trying it out myself, here are my thoughts:

As a content creator, this little device is a very useful invention. Think of the most engaging YouTube videos you have seen. Do the presenters look directly at you or are their eyes darting around? I always marveled at how natural some of these YouTubers are in front of the camera. Especially impressed by those who speak really fast and able to cram in so much content in a short span of time. Now I am 99% sure that Eric Voss was reading in front of a teleprompter! No way can anyone remember so many details while reviewing 100+ movie easter eggs. While this has demystified the aura of New Rockstars, I am still very much a fan of their channel.

As a working adult, you may encounter situations where you have very limited time to bring across your key message. In today’s context, pre-recorded presentations to be reviewed later have become a norm. Hence, being able to maximize the limited time while packing in as much info as possible is a useful skill. Enter the Teleprompter… which helps you to record your video or narrated PowerPoint more efficiently. With a script that is constantly moving down, you are forced to keep pace with the speed of the teleprompter’s scrolling text. This indirectly prevents you from having any awkward silence and also removes the “Ohs”, “Ahs” from your recording. Win-win.

As a student, at some point you will start making video presentations as part of school project work. If you are a Singaporean secondary 4 student, and thinking about joining a polytechnic, some schools might request a 60 seconds self-intro video about yourself when applying for EAE. You have exactly 1 minute to give the best sales pitch about yourself to increase your chances of being called for the interview. You don’t want your eyes to be darting around reading the script and coming back to the camera in an attempt to make eye contact with the viewer (likely the teacher who is watching hundreds of video intros and ultimately deciding your fate). First impressions count. Get yourself a simple, inexpensive teleprompter, you won’t regret it. My son, Howie certainly found it useful for his EAE application.

Howie focusing on his expressions for his 1 min EAE self-intro video.

As a BL2.0 Project coordinator, owning a teleprompter and doing recording gave me a new appreciation of the hard work our FM puts in. Now that I know how it feels to be recording in front of a teleprompter, I can now empathize more with FM. Kudos to our FM for putting in so much effort into crafting the script/ slides and even planning carefully what clothes to wear for green screen recording.

Dr Vincent Gan recording using a much larger teleprompter, while our service providers (VEEV) checks on audio, video and script.

Overall, this portable teleprompter is a nifty invention that gives quite a bit of value back to content creators. Especially those who are just starting out and constrained by budget, just a simple, inexpensive, portable teleprompter will serve you well. Get one and start having some fun with it!

At this moment, I am quite tempted to suggest to our senior librarian, Ms Raudahah to consider this as a future workshop topic for NUS’s jumpstart minis and add portable teleprompter as an accessory to their loanable “cameras and recording devices”. Her team will probably be able to up the ante with small filler lights, boom mics, etc. that compliment this portable setup.

Benedict Chia

16 July 2022

My first Teleprompter Experience