Published on February 15th, 2013 | by Kira0
Tiffen Promptware: Bringing Teleprompting To The Masses
The hardest part of being on-camera isn't always the acting. Muscle memory tends to be pretty good, and emotions come naturally to most people. On the other hand, some of the staff here has been recently cast in some bit roles, taking advantage of our good looks and on-camera charm. There is just one major problem to this plan: some of us tend to have to the memory of a goldfish.
So, when I heard of the Tiffen Listec Promptware Pw-04, it was a like a sigh of relief! Finally, I can stop stammering over my lines! I will just use this great little teleprompter every time I am on camera. If you are not aware, most teleprompter systems can cost thousands of dollars, limiting their use to bigger production projects. The Listec Promptware Pw-04 is only $320, making it perfect for smaller budget projects. Unlike other systems, you provide your own video screen here (more on that in a moment). We saw a lot of gadgets at CES, but were pretty impressed by this one, as it is a great way to bring pro-level on-camera gear to a new audience for podcasting or even use in schools.
The system supports a fairly wide range of cameras as well. The Listec Promptware Pw-04 comes with adapters for 30.5, 37, 40.5, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, and 58mm lenses. Meaning you can use this teleprompter with most smaller digital video cameras, but also DSLRs and some professional cameras, depending on the lenses you are using. The kit is very easy to set up, and, just like its larger professional brothers, it comes with a reverse mirror that reflects the words over the camera directly, but making the words invisible to viewers.
Tiffen was ingenious to make the script reader, PromptWare, a free app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android device (update: and tablets, such as the iPad as well, contrary to our original mention). This makes it very accessible and easy to use. Basically, you write your script out and import it into the app; you can set the size and speed at which it displays the text. The Listec Promptware Pw-04 has a built in holder for your device and once your phone or iPod is in place you are ready to go. It even comes with its own Bluetooth keyboard remote and a good solid case.
Overall, I think the Listec Promptware Pw-04 is a great idea. It makes teleprompting accessible to all levels, from professionals to novices wanting to make their own YouTube clips. The only problem is that you are looking at a four-inch screen to read from. Once you get any real distance from the camera and the prompter, you better have really good eye sight. So for groups or even pairs in real-world locations, we'd suggest not having it much more than five to ten feet away if you still want to be able to read the text. Using the model that is build for iPads and tablets will be a little easier, but none of them will be as large as the professional prompters, which tend to have closer to 17-inch screens. Nevertheless, you cannot beat $320 for your own teleprompter-and it is a lot of fun to work with!