Teleprompter R810-10 provides inexpensive option for video bloggers.

I’m terrible at memorization. More than that, I’m horrible at public speaking. So, when you put me in front of a camera and ask me to recite something, bad things happen. I get flustered and lose important details in the mix. Fortunately for me, this is popular enough issue that technology created a solution in the teleprompter.

Teleprompters got their start in the 1950s when Fred Barton, Jr., an actor, suggested the concept of a device that would help television performers who had to memorize large amounts of material in a short amount of time. The first prototype was a mechanical device that utilized an electronic typewriter on a paper scroll.

Teleprompters have come a long way since then. They are composed by a computer, custom software, a tripod rig that allows the camera lens to sit close to the glass and the beam splitter reflective glass. The reflective glass allows the script, being fed to the prompter screen from the custom software on the computer, to show directly in front of the camera lens so that the performer looks directly into the camera. The modern prompters were derived from this “in-the-lens” prompter system developed by Jess Oppenheimer, creator of “I Love Lucy.”

teleprompter

Professional teleprompter setup

I could go on and on about the history of the teleprompter, because to a tech geek like me, it’s really quite fascinating. I have had the fortunate experience of being a teleprompter operator on many video shoots and can say that it is quite a demanding job. You have to learn the pace of your performer and be tech savvy enough to make quick changes when a client changes a script and trouble shoot when the computer doesn’t talk to the prompter correctly.

Within the past few months, we’ve been working to improve our video blogs and reviews. One of the things we determined we needed at MacSources was a good teleprompter. Not wanting to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a professional grade prompter, like the ones used in TV studios or even more compact models that guerrilla video crews use, we began searching for one that would work with our iPads. It seemed to be the most logical method for our set-up. We have been using our iPads with prompter apps for sometime, but just didn’t have the prompter rig to go with it.

teleprompter11

Home Made picture frame

Our research brought us first to the homemade variety of prompters. After hours of watching DIY demonstrations of prompter building at home, we decided to attempt building a prompter using inexpensive picture frames and a few pieces of hardware, like hinges. When completed, the makeshift prompter glass did work. After my experience with the professional grade prompters, I was shocked, but when you set a piece of glass at the right angle (45 degrees), it will create the correct reflection needed for a prompter.

teleprompter12

Home Made picture frame

Even though the contraption worked, we quickly discovered that we didn’t have the right rigging for our tripod/camera set-up. At the time, we were using a Canon EOS Rebel T3i to shoot our videos on a lightweight, photographer’s tripod. The essential part of this set-up is to get the camera as close to the glass as possible. In order to do this with our homemade brand prompter, we had to set a foldable tray table in front of the tripod. This was not ideal since our ‘studio’ is our office space and we were unable to get the frame to sit at the right height (eye level) or get it close enough to the tripod/camera without blocking essential room space. Upon the realization that our $10 teleprompter would most definitely be more trouble than it was worth, we began searching again and found the R810-10 by InteractMedia.

teleprompter2

R810-10 Teleprompter

The creator of the R810-10, Scott Groves, is a marketing professional who came to the same problems we were having. He wanted a simple, lightweight, inexpensive teleprompter rig that worked with an iPad. So, he built one from parts collected at Home Depot.

Groves sells several different models that work with a variety of operating systems and devices – Microsoft, Stand Alone and Universal, which includes the iPad. There are two versions of the tablet-based version – R810-10 and R810-10.1. The difference between the two is that the R810-10.1 comes with an iPhone bracket for the tripod. Because we didn’t plan on using our iPhones as our primary camera system, we decided to procure the R810-10 model.

Upon arrival, the rig needs to be assembled. It has three main parts – the glass/frame, the top platform and the bottom platform. The glass included is beam splitter glass like what is used in the professional grade prompters. The frame is constructed from wood, but it sits inside a bracket that is metal.

teleprompter5

R810-10 Teleprompter Camera plate

The top platform acts as the camera stand. The camera is connected to the top platform with a 1/4” wing screw using the screw hole where a tripod plate would normally be connected. The slot for the camera stretches 6.75 inches to allow for a variety of camera to be able to get as close as possible to the glass.

teleprompter3

R810-10 Teleprompter Underneath

The bottom platform connects the rig to your tripod using a 1/4” wing nut, which screws into the tripod plate that would normally screw into your camera. The slot on the bottom platform is 2.25 inches to allow for flexibility in balancing the rig on your tripod. The bottom platform extends through the front of the rig under the glass and acts as the resting place for your iPad or other 10.1” or smaller tablet.

The kit for the R810-10 also includes a black background cloth, which covers the backside of the teleprompter rig and the camera body. This helps to block out any lights or objects that could cause reflections on the back part of the glass. The cloth attaches to the side of the mirror frame with velcro.

Altogether, the rig only weighs about 5 pounds (without camera or iPad).

Once we got the R810-10 assembled, we tested it out immediately. The result was fantastic. With our Rebel EOS T3i, we were able to balance the entire rig on our tripod and the lens of the camera was able to be right next to the glass.

teleprompter7

R810-10 Teleprompter Front View

Recently, we began using a Logitech® HD Pro Webcam C920 as our primary review camera. It screws into the top platform perfectly and can get right next to the glass. By switching to this camera option, we have decreased the weight load of the teleprompter rig on the tripod.

We’ve been happy with the results of the R810-10. It delivers exactly what we were hoping for – an inexpensive, iPad compatible teleprompter.

A couple of things we found helpful when using the R810-10:

  1. There is no padding on the lower platform iPad resting tray. It’s not very deep so keeping the iPad inside a case would not work too well. I would recommend getting a small swatch of cloth or perhaps purchasing a keyboard cover to place in this area so that your iPad does not sustain any damage or cosmetic marks.
  2. The background cloth can creep into shot if not tacked back. Using a clothespin or a other clamp to keep the cloth taught, would work well.

The R810-10 is a great option for those who are looking for a teleprompter option to use with an iPad or other tablet.

Teleprompter R810-10 with Beam Splitter Glass Retails for
$154.95 from Amazon.com

For more information on the R810-10, visit InteractMedia.net.

Or you can Buy this great Teleprompter here.