Cheap Computer Based Tele-prompter

Introduction: Cheap Computer Based Tele-prompter

About: Bytesize articles instead of a trilogy in one post.

This one of those projects that you do on a lark. I needed a tele-prompter, but really did not have a budget to purchase much less build one. This project cost me around ten dollars. If you have what you need around the house, it could be free. I meant this instructable for linux, but decided to make it more generic.

Note: I have no affiliation with Lowes.

Step 1: What You Need:

2- cardboard storage boxes. (16 x 12 x 12)
1 - any computer with a bright monitor that can run a web browser.
1 - mirror that will fit in the storage box. (mine was from the Dollar store).
1 - glass or plastic pane that will fit in the storage box. (mine was from an old scanner).
1 - extra box to prop up teleprompter if necessary.
Stand or table that will be a viewing height. (We used a cheap ironing table from goodwill.)
Stand to adjust mirror angle (i.e . )
Packing tape.

Box cutter or knife.

Step 2: Assemble the Boxes

Glue closed the two boxes except for one top (to easy remove and insert cameras)  if they were ready to be shipped.
Let dry.

Note: Since you are going to cut out part of the box, you only need to glue where it will not be cut out.

Step 3:

Cut hole in the boxes so they match up.

Put the top box on top of the bottom box so the open side panels are in opposite directions

Tape the two boxes together at the center.

Step 4: Putting It Together.

Insert mirror with stand in bottom box so mirror is at 45 degree angle.. (Mine fit through the hole,)
Open top box and insert glass at 45 degree angle.
Camera should be in top box behind glass. (i put mine in an envelope glued to the back of the box.

Step 5: Just Do It.

Go to and just follow the directions and your up and running. (do not forget to turn on the camera),

Note: I used a linux computer and wrote a bash script via the toilet and figlet commands to do the same thing as the web browser so we did not have to go to the web. I decided not to publish the code.

Step 6: HUD

I was thinking of doing a variation on this as a portable computer.

Note: Most operating systems with a gui (graphical user interface) desktop will let you flip the screen in software to make things easier.

Step 7: Local Software,

Just found this software at:

Try at your own risk.

Step 8: Simple Batch File.

Simple batch file to print out text slowly.

$ ./

# A program to slowly cat file or standard input.

if [ "$1" ] ; then file="$1" else file="-" fi

cat "$file" | while read c ; do echo "$c" sleep .5 done


Step 9: Alternative Setup.

This method only requires one reflector.

Create text in OfficeWriter.

Export text to a pdf file i.e. test.pdf

Get software.

$ sudo apt-get pdfjam

Reverse the pdf facing.

$ pdffip test.pdf

which generates test-flipped.pdf.

Show the file in your document viewer.

Do your video.

You will probably have more text that what I used.

Step 10: Alternative Text Reversal.

This kind of a kludge, but it works! We tried it with the Gettysburg address. Then it is just a matter of manually moving the web page. Files are Attached

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    9 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It might be a Linux problem (?.....), but you could easily improve your pictures by enhancing contrast in almost any photo application running on Windows...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanx for the comment. Nothing to do with linux. Photoshop could not even do that well. You should have seen the original picture. . Been there done that. I just did not take the picture in a better lighted area. Plus I used a cheap camera. My good camera died. When I get better equipment, the pictures will be better. I might retake them anyway. Do not have time right now.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You can tweak the brightness & contrast to get rid of the misty/foggy look. However, it emphasises the lack of information in the images and they look grainy.



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Compared to a lot of pictures I have seen on this site, they are pretty good. In any case, the pictures are good enough to get the idea across. I am not a photographer. Missing the forest for the trees here.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I meant that I had tried Bob's suggestion and that was the result.
    You do get the idea across.



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Could you "simplify" the build by using an LCD monitor (or even a laptop) & placing it directly in the box in place of the mirror...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, but I think the text would be backwards if what I am told is true. Then the text would have to be flipped. I wanted something dead simple to deal with.