Tips For Reading From A Teleprompter

You’re all set to film your video – you’ve got a killer script and the cameras are ready to roll – but how are you going to remember all that text?

Delivering a speech or message to an audience may be nerve-wracking enough, but confidently and energetically giving that speech straight down the barrel of a camera lens has to feel like one of the most unnatural ways to communicate with people.

There are lots of ways to give script prompts to yourself from cue cards to memory aids but it’s hard to beat a teleprompter. When filming a video where you’re speaking directly to camera you want to avoid the smallest shift in eye-line. If your eyes are darting ever so slightly from on camera to off camera it will be really noticeable to your audience.

This is where teleprompters are great – they’re a simple tool that’s placed in front of a camera lens. The teleprompter will slowly scroll through your script at reading pace. The teleprompter has a special type of glass which means it can be placed in front of the camera, you can see the text on it, but the camera can’t. This allows you to read your script while staring directly into the camera without even realising it.

It’s an awesome device because you can connect directly with your audience by reading your script directly into the camera – but it also takes practice to ensure you look and sound natural.

Here are a few of our top tips to help you sail through your next teleprompter read.

Practice Until You Know Your Script Inside Out

A teleprompter is really there to prompt you – if you’re reading your script from the teleprompter for the first time it will really sound like you’re reading it…and that’s not super engaging for video.

You don’t need to memorise your script word for word, but you do need to have a clear idea of what it says and have your key talking points locked down in your memory.

The best way to practice reading your script is to rehearse it out-loud. Listen to how it sounds, have an idea of pace and master all of those pronunciations.

You want to write your script in a way that sounds natural to the people who are watching your video. During your rehearsal you might realise something doesn’t quite sound right – that’s ok, change it.

Another great thing about teleprompters is that they use software that allows you to make changes to the script during filming. Need a word changed or an extra space? Something added or re-worked? No problem – you can change things as needed on the go.

Rehearse With The Teleprompter

If you arrive early to your shoot, while the videographers are still setting up, there will be time for you and the teleprompter to squeeze in some one-on-one practice time. We really recommend this – it will take some time to get the font size and scrolling speed adjusted just for you and your script plus knowing the script is one thing, reading it as it scrolls up the teleprompter is another.

When using a teleprompter you want to adjust the scrolling speed to suit your talking pace. Often it’s a good idea to wait until the text has scrolled towards the top of the screen before you start reading – this helps reduce lags and awkward waiting-for-the-teleprompter to catch up moments.

Your script may need to be formatted into smaller chunks, this is something you’ll realise as you practice, you may need to insert some extra breaks here and there to help things move smoothly.

The great thing about video is that everything can be edited. If you make a mistake during filming don’t worry – just pause and start again.

Bullet Points VS Word for Word

After practicing your script, you might feel like you just need some bullet points on the teleprompter to guide you or you might feel more comfortable having your entire script word for word scrolling up on the teleprompter.

There are arguments for and against having your entire script on the teleprompter – at the end of the day it really is a personal preference and it also depends on the kind of video you’re creating.

The idea behind only using bullet points is that there’s less on the teleprompter which may be a little less overwhelming for the presenter. It also helps you avoid looking and sounding like your reading – which is the big danger in using the teleprompter.

Using bullet points helps you reference important key messages but also requires you to use your own words and speak naturally.

A great way to make a decision for yourself is to write your key messages down and outline a script, practice it, and then give yourself some dot points – if you’re able to still hit those key messages with just the dot points prompting you then maybe that’s all you need for the filming day.

If you’re more of a word-for-word kind of person that’s great – you’ll love working with a teleprompter, just make sure you practice lots before filming day.

Your Script Is Only Part of The Equation

Now you’re comfortable with your talking points and how to use a teleprompter you want to focus on your overall on-camera presentation.

We recommend you read our blog about preparing to be on camera.

Some key things to keep in mind are:

Keep your energy high – the more enthusiastic you are the better you’ll connect with your video audience. Use your hands, be confident, let people see how passionate you are.

Smile and make eye contact with the camera – remember, even though you can’t see them, you’re talking directly to people. Make them feel like you’re talking directly to them.

If you’re looking for some extra support with your next filming project, get in touch with the experts at PipeWolf Media today.