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Video teleprompters can cost over $1,000, so I built my own cheap, portable DIY prompter with a camera mount, for only $35 in parts. I used a 10" LCD monitor I already owned, but you could easily modify the build for an iPad, Kindle, or tablet PC. Without the camera and LCD, the unit weighs 4 lbs.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions!
1) It's easy to build a cheap teleprompter!
2) Regular glass, although not super bright or sharp, works pretty well. You may not need to spring for more expensive beamsplitter glass designed for teleprompters. Update: I found even better glass, for free: http://youtu.be/hZaQWkRGtw8
3) At 10' from the camera, it's hard to notice the talent's eyes darting back and forth while reading, and it looks much better than an off-camera monitor or cue cards.
($14) 8x10 solid wood picture frame -- to position the reflecting glass
($7.50) 2x2' sheet of birch plywood -- as a monitor base
($1) 4' pine 1x2 -- for the camera mounting arm
($3.50) small hinges -- to attach the frame and monitor base
($0.60) 5/16" dowel rod -- to support the frame
($1.20) 4 shelf hooks -- to hold the monitor in place
($0.20) 1/4-20x1.5" screw -- to mount the camera
($1.10) 1/4-20" wood insert -- as a tripod mount
($4.50) square yard of flannel -- to shield the unit from light
($1.40) and an elastic band -- optional: for a lens-hugging sleeve
TOOLS I USED
screws and nails
sewing needle and thread
I'm using freeware Prompt! Light for PC/Mac, available at http://movieclip.biz/prompt.html
DETAILS NOT EXPLAINED IN THE VIDEO
-I found the 10" LCD monitor last year through DVXuser: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread....
-Text on the regular picture frame glass looks slightly blurry, especially at small sizes, because the image is reflecting off both sides of the non-mirrored glass, creating a slightly offset duplicate.
-I included a thin strip of aluminum sandwiched between the monitor base / camera mount and bottom strip of plywood. It makes the design slightly more wobbly, but it gives me peace of mind that the camera mount won't crack and fall off.
-The 6x6" transparent mirror sample my local glass shop provided was too dark (even if I bumped up my camera's exposure in a well lit room), but after this video, I found a lighter, 12x12" sample, and my glass shop cut it to 8x10" for free! Video update: http://youtu.be/hZaQWkRGtw8