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STUDIO Picking the right prompter – Some ʻTips & Tricksʼ by Jon Hilton T here is so much choice available today for prompting devices. From phones and tablets to full Broadcast Studios systems and with non-word prompting techniques like Interrotrons becoming popular choosing the best prompting system for your productions needs some serious consideration. 1. The Talent comes fi rst is one of the prime rules of prompting. The Operator follows the Talent’s speed of delivery, never the other way round. 2. Getting the right size screen and minimum reading distance is one of the fi rst questions we get asked. We use our “Reading Matrix” to determine the maximum distance from presenter to camera lens. This is a suggestion as some presenters prefer larger screens to help with eyesight (without spectacles) issues! 3. Tablet or PC tends to be a cost driven decision. PC systems may be what you want but can’t be cost justifi ed whereas a self-driven tablet or Personal Prompter to buy or hire can. Sure tablet based systems have limitations. Be aware they work in standalone operation as there is no external script connections (which can also be a benefi t for handheld operation), editing script changes is not as quick as on PC and fi nding a software / control system that will properly scroll rather than run at a fi xed speed is paramount (we use Pico Prompt & i-glue / scroll). However anything that saves production budget by helping reduce the number of takes and makes your presenter look more professional is a must consider! 4. Interrotron is a technique developed in the 80’s by Errol Morris, a US fi lm director. It allows a nervous interviewee to see the interviewer’s face instead of the camera lens whilst they give their answers direct to the camera for a more natural delivery. This is especially useful when the presenter may not do this for a living or does not seem natural when reading. There are two variants a Passive system using refl ections by way of a customised prompting hood and refl ector and an Active system which takes a video feed from a second camera feeding the prompter display. 5. Direct Read is a technique used with Jibs, Cranes (and DronesJ) where you do not want to be fl ying mirrors and glass over the studio fl oor (Health and Safety) or where you are using a Green Screen Light Ring. Mounted either above or below the camera lens eye line will be not be visibly lost on a mid-shot or wider. 6. Talent Monitors are rigged beneath the main prompting monitor these are popular with presenters who need to understand where they are positioned in a Virtual Studio and are a useful production tool for talent to see the programme output on the studio fl oor. 56 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 104 AUGUST 2015