REVIEW: Portaprompt 365 Personal

Sam Dierckx

Author: Sam Dierckx

Published: 01 December 2014

by Sam Dierckx Issue 95 - November 2014

InSync are an online video strategy and video production company. Our roots are in the production of Television programmes, but we left that boat early because of the opportunities that presented themselves online and of course because TV budgets here in Belgium have become smaller and smaller due to online competition. So now we use our skill and viewer knowledge to help companies reach their target groups online.

We do this through an online video strategy which utilises several types of video techniques that gain viewers via organic and paid traffic. Examples of these productions are explanation videos, video content marketing, VSEO, YouTube channel management, Vlog service, and push (paid) advertising campaigns which we can service from concept and video production to setting up and executing the YouTube pre-roll campaign.

The results we achieve for our customers often amaze online bureaus, while most traditional advertising companies fail to understand how online video marketing should work in a consumer driven market. For us as Television producers, it\'s hard to understand why they are still trying to make virals. Those virals often don\'t have a positive effect on sales or market share; you can look up the results of the Evian dancing baby\'s campaign in the UK (25% market share drop while the bottled water market grew by 2%). That\'s why we stress the importance of creating relevant content for select target groups.

Our customers include companies like Xeikon, Verisure, Colgate, Toyota, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Smartphoto, etc. Our video strategies are implemented all over the world, from Europe to Japan and the United States.

About 6 months ago, we realised that we needed a prompter in order to speed up some of our production processes. So the search for one began... It was hard to find one that offered the flexibility that we needed since we work with a wide variety of cameras: DSLRs, Sony PDW-700, Sony F55, etc., depending on the desired look and feel and, of course, the budget.

Our initial search was postponed because none of the solutions available at the time offered the flexibility that we needed. In September we went to IBC, hoping to find a solution, and somehow I walked into the Portaprompt booth. There Jon showed me the 365 rigging which seemed to have the flexibility that we needed along with a great extra function: the Passive Interrotron.

The Passive Interrotron offers a solution for a problem that reoccurs one or two times every month. It\'s the moment where we have to ask a nonprofessional speaker to talk straight into the camera lens. It\'s always a struggle to have people do this in a natural manner. Most of the time, they look as if someone is pointing a gun at them instead of a camera. The stutter that these people produce while doing this only confirms that they experience a similar feeling to looking into a gun barrel.

This has already cost us hours of time and the people that we\'ve asked to do this aren\'t going to stand in front of a camera forever. With the Interrotron it\'s easier for these types of people or even children to talk straight into the lens because they can look - via the Interrotron - into the interviewer\'s eyes instead of a lens.

As for the prompting with the 365, we had to use it 12 hours after receiving it. Mounting was easy and the prompting software works intuitively. We had two 18 - 40 second scripts to shoot over two days with two actresses in French and Dutch. The i-Scroll and i-Glue for the iPad allowed us to flexibly scroll through the text and adapt the speed of the prompting to the speaking pace of the actresses.

We\'ve worked with another system before which used a smartphone as a remote for this, but that wasn\'t convenient at all compared to the i-Scroll and i-Glue combination. Smartphone battery life problems, connecting issues, and an awkward navigation: all solved with the i-Scroll and i-Glue.

For the first shoot we didn\'t need any "camera on shoulder shot\'s", but our cameraman was amazed about the lightness of the 365 and said that he wouldn\'t hesitate in using it in an on shoulder workflow. It didn\'t bother him while walking around with camera and 365 rig, and he really likes that his normal freedom to operate the camera is maintained when the 365 is mounted. For him it was the first time to see a system that had all these benefits.

For all of these reasons, I was pleased to write about my experience with the 365 prompter, as it\'s an intelligent solution for different problems that we are all faced with today.

It\'s nice to see that a company like Portaprompt has listened to its professional users and found a way to speed up our production process and make our lives just a little bit easier.

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