The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications

E024 - Should We Use A Teleprompter?

James: Today on the show Joanna we are talking about teleprompters and what are some affordable options for that and how it can best help your church.

James: So Joanna about three or four months ago we started at our church using a teleprompter and I'll be honest with you I was kind of hesitant about it. I've had some bad experiences with teleprompters but what I found with what made me made the change is one I found something online that it's some great reviews that was affordable and it really helped. There was a few people that we were working with that tended to struggle with coming up with ideas and doing our things and then we put the teleprompter in front of a few individuals and they were like they were amazing. I couldn't believe how good they were they were one take wonders all of a sudden and I tell them it was all because of the teleprompter. It was it was amazing.

Joanna: Yeah. And then there's the other people who we gave him a teleprompter and they became stiff and really have struggled since we've gone to teleprompter. So there's some pro's and con's. But first let's talk about what is the main teleprompter simple machine that people can probably afford to use?

James: So the one that we ended up buying here at Visualmediachurch was the MagiCue Mobile Teleprompter Kit, It's on B&H for three hundred fifty nine bucks. And so what's nice about it is it comes with a case which can be kind of bulky but it's really easy to set up. It works with our big camera and it also works with our smaller cameras and it just hooks up to any you can you can put an iPad any size iPad or any kind of tablet device underneath. And that's what projects onto the mirror. It comes with a free app that is great that you just basically import from email or text file or WordDoc and you just choose your settings on your scroll speed and the size of the text and away you go you hit play and it also has a feature where it can follow along and hear your voice and this is a free app that comes along with it. So for three or fifty nine bucks it's a pretty good option for teleprompters.

Joanna: Yeah and it's not of course it's not just an iPad playing your script. It's actually like a mirror system that projects it up so that the person can look directly into the lens.

James: Yeah. So for people who don't know what a teleprompter is it's used every every TV station uses the newscaster is never just looking at the camera and figuring out the words to say they are reading and they have some person on the side using a machine to kind of scroll up and down and they are just reading a script and they are kind of not thinking about what they're saying they're just doing what it's saying they mean there's the there's the Ron Burgundy where he just reads whatever is put in front of them right from Anchorman. But that's what it is. And that can really help because most people who work for churches who you're going to asked to be in news videos or announcement videos, or a ministry update and they want to do a video for the church to see they are not TV people they're not used to me in front of the camera so asking them to say two minutes worth of information can be a struggle especially when you add the pressure of lights and audio and camera and people standing around staring at them. It's nice to just have a script that they've written or you as a communications person has assisted them with and they just read it through and we've seen some great results with it.

Joanna: Yeah. And so overall the teleprompter has sped up, we use it specifically for filming news videos and some people listening would be like oh my goodness how have you gone so long without using it. But actually the reason was from from my perspective I actually wanted people to speak naturally. I wanted it to feel less like news and more like casting vision week after week after week so talking from the heart about why that not just "baptism is on next Sunday and it's this is how you sign up and here is the website". I actually wanted people to speak from the heart about the power of baptism why it matters for people to do it in their life. And so I was trying for the last number years we were trying to do it that way to get people to speak naturally. But what we found is there were some people who could do that.

James: Oh absolutely. Like you know one of our pastors he is he's amazing. You just say show up at this time and talk about this thing that you know a lot about and he will just nail nail it it'll be like two minutes. You say we want two minutes long and at 1:59 he ends and you're like well that was it all right we spent half hour setting up in two minutes filming and now it's done.

Joanna: But then of course like for a bunch of other people the teleprompter is the thing that helps them win helps them be successful. Now the challenge with teleprompter though is of course the way we write isn't usually the way we talk. So even for me as a communications person I'm learning how to write scripts for them that sound more natural so that they can sound more like themselves even while reading. You know if people have practiced it a few times in advance they're not surprised by the next words coming up on the screen. They should practice out loud so that when they show up to film they aren't going to be surprised by what they're reading.

James: And one thing that we always do as we tell them on the first read through if you mess up just keep going. Just just just go through and pretend like mistake didn't happen. That way you get a feel for what's about what you're about to read and the flow. And then I think I'd say 95 percent the time on the second read is that it's the take that we use right. So just say if you make a mistake you say the wrong word, or it's behind. Just skip and keep on going. Read through and then the second take is usually the take that we use.

Joanna: That's it. And so maybe even if it's like a ministry update instead of like a news thing that I've created they've written out their own script and I can be their editor to help make sure it sounds as great as it can be. But they're the expert at the contents to let them write it out. And then we throw it up on the teleprompter and it's a very fast efficient way to fill names.

James: All right. So that's our thoughts on teleprompters. Go check out the MagiCue Mobile Teleprompter Kit. Check out the article on our website. And tune in for the next episode.