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
Step 1: Buy the Glass
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
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
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
Attach the bottom edge of your glass frame over the back open side of your box frame.
Step 5: 45 Degree Angle
Be sure to keep the glass at a 45 degree angle.
Step 6: Secure the Front of the Glass Frame
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
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
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
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.
Step 10: Reduce and Glare on the Back Glass
The last thing I did was took a piece of black material, attached it to the top edge of the glass and draped it over the camera to prevent reflections.
Step 11: Here's What It Looks Like When It's Done and Running!
It's hard to see on the picture, but the text can be adjusted larger or smaller as needed. The program automatically scrolls your script at any speed you desire. Look into the mirror, read the script and the finished video looks like you're looking directly into the camera and talking! No sign of reading off cue cards or looking to the side to see what to say!