Picture of Teleprompter DIY for $50.00

If you don't see the video above, click here for a step by step instructional video!

Teleprompters are used in live TV and video productions. They allow the actor to read a script projected on a mirror, directly in front of the lens, so the eyes are also looking at the lens. Professional teleprompters can run anywhere from $3,500 to well over $20,000.00.

I'm going to show you how you can make your own teleprompter for under $50.00
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Step 1: Buy the glass

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Purchase a 16" x 16" piece of mirror glass or beam splitter glass from a local glass shop. This cost me just under $35. You can see through one side of the glass while the other side has a mirror finish.

Step 2: Build the glass frame

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Using grooved trim wood, create a frame to hold the glass. I left the top of the frame open so I can easily remove the glass to clean it as needed.

Step 3: Create the laptop box

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Create a wood frame that's big enough to fit around your monitor. The frame should have a base and three sides. Leave the back and top open.

Step 4: Attach glass frame to computer box frame

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Attach the bottom edge of your glass frame over the back open side of your box frame.

Step 5: 45 degree angle

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Be sure to keep the glass at a 45 degree angle.

Step 6: Secure the front of the glass frame

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I used small dow rods to support the glass on the front edge of the box. This also keeps it from moving.

Step 7: Get the teleprompter software for free

Picture of Get the teleprompter software for free
Download the free version of Prompt Lite from movieclip.biz/prompt.html. It's a great freeware version but it's limited to 2500 carachters. If you need the full version with no restrictions on script size, purchase Prompt! 7 for $44.00.

Step 8: Adding your laptop or monitor

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Install it on your computer, import your script and place your laptop or monitor in your new teleprompter. This should be obvious...but make sure your monitor is laying flat (facing up) so the screen image reflects off the mirror!

Step 9: Line up your camera

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Place your camera with the lens on the BACK side of the glass. Use a table or anything tall enough to sit the teleprompter on, so you can have it in a direct line with your lens.
kathynv7 years ago
Thank you! My kid's high school broadcasts the news every day, and they can't afford a teleprompter. Well, up until now - I suspect that the broadcast kids are going to take a quick trip down to wood shop first thing Monday morning. Thank you again - it will be a lot easier to watch the high school's version of the news (80% sports) if the announcers aren't always looking off to the left or being distracted by the by the cue card person's jokes.
Glad you found it helpful! If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me. keith@metacafenews.com Maybe we can get them to start using a green screen too LOL Keith
cvalencia71 year ago

I recommend you to look this site about How to Use Teleprompter
and extremely helpful with well explanation.

Great design! How does the two way mirror glass measure up against beam splitter glass on sites like http://www.telepromptermirror.com? The two way mirror glass looks very dark
wesley333 years ago
can i use this with an ipad?
PromptDog6 years ago
Great tutorial. If working with timber is more than you want to deal with, you may like our diy teleprompter instructions which use cardboard boxes. Free download at http://www.promptdog.com/downloads/diy_teleprompter.zip
noahh6 years ago
It might be worth mentioning that if you are using a computer or laptop, you should change its settings by turning off sleep mode. Or setting it to go to sleep after several hours.
I really liked your tutorial. I like to use DirectPrompt as my teleprompting software solution. I paid $25 for my copy at the Direct Prompt website.
valiot7 years ago
I love this tutorial. I have a question about the glass. It seems like the camera side is a little dark (tinted?). Won't this affect the image. Like filming through a filter or something?
SmartPhoneCardTrick (author)  valiot7 years ago
Not at all. It's like a neutral density filter. Just open up your lens a little, bump up the gain or make sure you are lighting the set properly :o) Thanks, Keith
Cool! The only I would add is a clip of the someone reading the script to show how well it works.
Thanks for the comment! I thought about that but my good camera (Canon XL2) was on the tripod behind the teleprompter and I was using my small camera to shoot everything and I couldn't hold the small camera and do a shot with me in it at the same time. Great comment though! Thanks :o)
darkmuskrat7 years ago
Nice! I need to get me some mirror glass now.