Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A-Z of Free Online Stuff - 5. EasyPrompter

Image from Procsilas Moscas, under a CC
Attribution licence
E is for EasyPrompter

Sarah recently covered Evernote, so instead I'll go for EasyPrompter. It's a simple, browser-based teleprompter, which allows you to paste in text and have it scroll up the screen as an autocue.

Once you've pasted in your script, you can change the size and speed, and there are other options such as displaying elapsed time and reversing the text. The latter is used if you're using a real autocue setup, in which a laptop's display will be reflected in glass over the lens of a camera, meaning the speaker is reading the text while looking straight into the camera.

I find EasyPrompter very useful when reading scripts out to record a podcast. Having the script scrolling up the computer screen to read out is far better that squinting at printed pages, and prevents you rustling papers while you're recording.

It can be used when recording video on a webcam, but be mindful that your eyes will be looking just below the webcam at the text, with your eyes obviously moving backwards and forwards across it as you read, meaning you will be appearing to look off-camera and therefore a little shifty...

You're never going to get past this completely without an actual autocue, but you can minimise it. A solution is to use a separate camera rather than the webcam, set up on a low tripod (or on top of a pile of books) behind the computer screen with the camera poking above it. Rather than sitting in a position right in front of the computer as you would for a webcam presentation, sit further back from the screen, zooming in to get your head and shoulders in shot. The will result in your off-camera eyeline not appearing so pronounced as if you were sitting right in front of the camera.

The video below shows what I mean. As you can see I'm still looking slightly off-camera on the second part, but the effect is much less jarring.

If you're reading from a script I'd definitely give EasyPrompter a go.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for the mention. I am the creator of EasyPrompter.

    To minimize the 'looking off camera' effect, try 2 things:

    1. Place the prompter as close to the lens of the camera as possible, preferably above or below it
    2. Move the camera further away and zoom in to keep yourself in frame properly




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