Now then, let’s clarify some straight away. Autocue is a brand name.
Ok, that said, what is a teleprompter? Well, it’s an autocue :)
Basically, if you want your presenters/students to be able to read their script directly into camera without having to memorise it (and trust me, they never will memorise it) then you need a teleprompter.
The problem is that a professional version costs in the region of £3000. They work really well at that price but there is a cheaper option. I’ve gone through a number of home-made iterations.
Firstly, placing a monitor just below the camera, connecting a laptop to it and running MS Word is actually quite effective, although the presenter’s view can start to drop down.
Using a piece of perspex in front of the camera can work too. You need to cover the camera with a dark material so that the reflection is maximised for the presenter. The problem with this method is that the words are reversed in the reflection. We spent quite a while with a periscope arrangement, bouncing the image of the monitor off a mirror before reflecting it again in the perspex.
This arrangement was very heavy and a little bit scary when using it with the taller teachers. It becomes much safer to actually mount the monitor on top of the tripod. Our CDT technician knocked this up for me:
And I sat down and wrote my software, ASprompt
I’m incredibly proud of this software, having built it from scratch to meet my needs. Programmed in Flash, you can type directly into the white box or paste from any text editor (well, better say most). It has speed controls, countdowns, headings and mirror options.
At one point, I almost got a version working that automatically played videos on another PC, but I really need to learn how to use Adobe Air to make that work.
Because of the amount of work I put into it, I initially asked for £10 per copy, however, I know how schools and budgets are, so contact me here and I’ll sort something out.