Kitplus Magazine by TV-BAY

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ON LOCATION IN THE FIELD – the perfect location for prompting solutions by Robin Brown, Autoscript T raditionally teleprompters were seen solely as a studio staple, but for more than two decades they have been consistently supporting talent in the field in a variety of locations around the globe. The numerous step changes in technology, which have had such a dramatic impact on all types of television equipment, have also revolutionised the world of teleprompting both inside and outside of the studio. If we look back twenty years, the set up in the fi eld is hard to comprehend compared to the slick location prompting equipment of today. Even the simplest fi eld presenting would have needed a team of people, a huge CRT monitor, a clunky PC and a bag full of batteries to keep the equipment powered up. Fast forward to today and everything is lighter, smaller, smarter and infi nitely more user friendly. Historically, the single most important transformation in this generation of teleprompters came with the development of the microchip. In the days when prompting became paperless, there was no more re- typing scripts, as these could easily be imported, and instant clean script changes made where necessary. The appropriate software, such as Windows, allowed a huge selection of international fonts to take prompting into many more regions. Now, we are into the realms of wireless and tablets and prompting has entered an entirely new era. Away from the studio, the latest prompting solutions on the market have not only transformed fi eld news reporting they have also created a thriving market for alternative location applications. Teleprompting is growing at a signifi cant rate outside of broadcasting, and today, common applications include everything from corporate announcements to educational and government training videos. For these types of productions, budgets and time are limited, and the prompting solution is used to bring a quick, professional and polished performance from the amateur presenter. The prompter can be invaluable, particularly for company announcements, where there is precise statistical or factual information that has to be presented by a busy company director. The script on the prompter can ensure the accurate message is portrayed, while removing 82 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 93 SEPTEMBER 2014 the need for a multitude of time consuming takes. These applications require a simple entry level system with a pre-set script that runs off a laptop, such as Autoscript’s Xbox Lite, which includes the company’s WinPlus smooth scroll circuitry incorporated into its broadcast standard products. The entry level Xbox Lite still incorporates full-featured prompter software, and the scrolling can be performed via the deskpad scroll control. This type of minimalist equipment allows the necessary rapid set up for simple pieces to camera and pre-recorded presentations. The prompter can be used to ensure that the talent gets the piece to camera right, fi rst time, making it far quicker and more cost effective. The more common location prompting scenarios with which we are all familiar in this industry is fi eld news reporting. The basic requirements for prompters in these applications are simple. Firstly, they need to be light and bright. As obvious as it sounds, shooting outside demands a high bright monitor which is easily visible in sunlight so it has to have a high contrast ratio, and additionally it needs to be as light as possible and portable enough to be transported with all of the additional fi eld equipment.