LIGHTS, CAMERA, PROMPTING


Prompting equipment may seem to be one of the most standard, reliable and commonplace pieces of a workflow but that doesn’t mean provision should be treated with complacency. Thinking ahead and selecting best of breed is as applicable in this case as it is for a supposedly more mission-critical asset management, newsroom or production system.
In recent years the prompting sector has been cheapened by poor quality product that is simply not up to the job and by companies that won’t provide the security of service nor ability to respond to client needs. However, by running a thorough assessment of products, costly and embarrassing on-air mistakes can be avoided. Here are a few tips.
Location work
A prompting device is not just software for talent to scroll through pre-written scripts and talking to camera in a studio, but an application increasingly used in the field. This could mean an independent prompting device or a device linked to a broadcaster’s gallery via satellite or broadband network, so that any changes either in studio or on location can be made, saved and reflected instantly across the whole system.
If that link is broken then there will have to be a manual download and input of script changes - which in a live environment can be critical.Imagine reporting on an election with results coming in minute by minute; giving that direction verbally to an anchor, no matter how experienced, opens up the broadcaster to embarrassing errors and backtracking.
An FTP connection allows data to be downloaded to the teleprompter, but in excessively busy network periods – given the nature of IP connections - this could be delayed. Ensure that the prompting application can take priority over the PC running the prompting application so that no other background applications hog the CPU speed.
In the newsroom
For a newsroom environment the most critical decision is based around the newsroom computer system (NRCS). It is important to ensure the prompting company is able integrate with an NRCS and has a proven protocol. Given the fast-paced nature of news, a prompting software application has to perform a multitude of tasks and remain stable at all times.
A head of operations or procurement director might ask whether the prompting application can handle the download of as many as 500 stories with just 30 seconds to air, and start prompting on story one, while still downloading the remaining run-order. And if a story changes, that change must be reflected in the story while in the process of downloading the run-order.
A prompter needs to talk to the NRCS so that when a producer makes a change to the script, this is immediately reflected on the prompting system. The ability to control the run-order and edit anywhere within the script, leaving the prompt output unaffected, adds resilience to the overall system.
In addition teleprompting software can enable multi-tasking functions, including the ability to simultaneously prompt and edit, run multiple scripts, change the run-order, mix fonts, and change the font size but it needs to work without fear of interrupting the live TX.
Self-operating
Not all programmes follow the standard ‘sit behind a desk’ approach. A programme presenter may be presenting from a virtual set, a standing position or – the ultimate test - walking and talking. The communication and control from all these potential elements needs designing into the workflow at the outset.
For flexibility, multiple controllers are available including control by foot, voice-activated software to help pace the script, wireless hand controls or desktop control. For certain systems each of the controllers can be connected by just a standard coax and without special cabling.
Even the biggest studio complexes should offer no issues to ease of use. Ask the vendor whether the system handles distances without loss or lag in control. Using tie lines and patch panels you should be able to connect multiple controllers up to 400 metres away from the PC with no time delay. The system should also be able to handle more than one presenter at a time, without the need to switch between devices.
Wireless prompting, optical scroll controls with no potentiometer, dual-colour tally systems and other accessories that are tuned into the needs of the on-air talent and production team can provide depth to your investment.
It’s easy to avoid making mistakes with your equipment with good procurement procedures. At their best, prompting solutions simply fade into the background, able to survive the rigours of daily use so that the talent can concentrate on what they do best.

Tags: Autoscript | prompter | prompting | newsroon | nrcs | iss057 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Autoscript at IBC2011

    Autoscript at IBC2011

  • Autoscript at BVE 2012

    Autoscript at BVE 2012

  • Autoscript at BVE North 2011

    Autoscript at BVE North 2011

  • Autoscript at IBC 2012

    Autoscript at IBC 2012

  • CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

    CueScript EMC prompter and control surface at IBC 2014

  • CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

    CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • CueScript at IBC 2015

    CueScript at IBC 2015

  • Autocue at NAB 2013

    Autocue at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at IBC2011

    Autocue at IBC2011

  • CueiT Software from CueScript at NAB 2018

    CueiT Software from CueScript at NAB 2018

  • Portaprompt at BVE 2017

    Portaprompt at BVE 2017

  • Portaprompt at IBC 2016

    Portaprompt at IBC 2016

  • Portaprompt at IBC 2015

    Portaprompt at IBC 2015

  • Portaprompt at BVE 2015

    Portaprompt at BVE 2015

  • Autocue at BVE 2015

    Autocue at BVE 2015

  • Autocue at NAB 2012

    Autocue at NAB 2012

  • Datavision at BVE 2012

    Datavision at BVE 2012

  • Autocue at BVE 2012

    Autocue at BVE 2012

  • Datavideo at IBC2011

    Datavideo at IBC2011

  • 2110 end to end prompting system from CueScript at NAB 2019

    2110 end to end prompting system from CueScript at NAB 2019

  • IP Prompting from Portaprompt at IBC 2018

    IP Prompting from Portaprompt at IBC 2018

  • IP Ready Prompting Solutions from CueScript shown at BVE 2018

    IP Ready Prompting Solutions from CueScript shown at BVE 2018

  • IP Prompting from Portaprompt at IBC 2017

    IP Prompting from Portaprompt at IBC 2017

  • SGL at NAB 2014

    SGL at NAB 2014


Related Shows
  • BroadcastShow Christmas Special

    BroadcastShow Christmas Special


Articles
Making the Workflow Flow
Bruce Devlin - new The toughest things about being the Standards Vice President (SVP) is that everyone expects standards to be the most important thing. In all the systems that I’ve designed and deployed over the years, I've yet to find any production workflow that is 100% standards based. True, the core technologies may well be standards based, but the overall workflow is made up of many technology pieces from open source code, through de-facto delivery specifications based upon SMPTE or Trade Association Specifications that in turn depend on full, International Standards to work. I can already hear some folks saying "In the good old days, everything used standards", but I beg to disagree.
Tags: iss138 | pye museum | pye-philips | smpte | ietf | ieee | w3c | aes | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve
Anthony Newton Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton Click to read or download PDF
How the Womens World Cup was Boosted by Broadcast
John Griffiths As we write this article, England’s Lionesses have just beaten Norway 3-0 and are smashing viewing figure records, with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to watch them play Cameroon on BBC One. Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2015, and England’s group and early stage knockout games tempted up to 2.5 million viewers for each match. It’s safe to say that women’s football is finally having its moment; what was perhaps once considered a niche sport is finally gaining momentum in the mainstream space with broadcasters giving it the attention it deserves.
Tags: iss138 | wwc | world cup | spicymango | diversity | John Griffiths
Contributing Author John Griffiths Click to read or download PDF
Make Time for Remapping
Alex Macleod For my 4th Kitplus article I thought I’d highlight an effect in Premiere Pro that frankly I would be lost without. Namely - time remapping.
Tags: iss138 | premiere pro | post production | editing | speed remapping | remapping | mediacity training | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation: Wings, Fine Coffee and Fake Nudes
Dick Hobbs - new One of the many attractions of this time of year is that I get to meet with my fellow judges for the IBC Innovation Awards, and see what the industry sees as the most important, most forward-looking projects of the day. For me, this says what the key talking points are going to be in September, far more eloquently than the endless press releases from vendors which are already tumbling into my inbox.
Tags: iss138 | ibc | smpte 2110 | deepnude | cisco | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF