Parrot Teleprompter 2
I have a love hate relationship with teleprompters. Part of me says not to use them because they make you look less natural on camera and when they don’t work properly, they can be quite frustrating. The other part says it saves you time when you have complicated scripts with lots of technobabble to recite and you’ve got to get it done.
I’ve found myself more in the latter category as of late doing more sponsored and corporate videos. In the past I’ve used very expensive teleprompter setups that require special rigging. I’ve used iPad teleprompters (several different brands) and lots of different apps to control them.
I stopped using a teleprompter a few years ago and the production quality increased because I was forced to memorize lines and deliver them more naturally.
Then I found this.
This is a minimalist and fairly inexpensive solution. It works with every lens that I’ve got. I can use it with my iPhone X, and I can even use it with my 6th gen iPod Touch. I have never used the remote that it comes with or the software they suggest. As with previous teleprompters, I have only used PromptSmartPro and its companion remote app. It listens to your voice, or you can use the brilliant remote app to control it.
What I don’t like.
While the way you install it is brilliant (I’ve never seen a teleprompter as easy to setup and use), that can get in the way. If your lens is a zoom lens that moves in and out, your camera can think it’s “stuck” and report an error, preventing you from filming. When this happens you have to shut off the camera, take off the prompter, turn on the camera so it’s happy, then re-install the prompter. I’ve had this happen a couple of times now.
The other problem is that because it is larger than the lens itself, it can make putting your camera (with it on) on a tripod or taking it off impossible. So you have to remove the prompter every time. Not a huge deal. It’s an “ok” sacrifice to dealing with a more cumbersome and heavy camera rail system.
Due to its size, you still have to be fairly close to the camera (unless your vision is 20/20). Don’t even think about being across the room with this thing.
The plate that holds your device isn’t the easiest to grab and pull down. In fact at times it can be a royal pain in the a$$. Why not add some sort of flip-down handle to it to make our lives easier?
SOLUTION: Add a pop-socket to the bottom of the spring tray, such as a metal ring type. Now you’ve got a pull down handle for it! Thank me by smashing the “Helpful” button, below.
What I like most
It’s very light and portable. It works just as well with my smaller iPod Touch 6gen as it does with my larger iPhone. I often find myself inside vehicles or in tight situations where a large camera rig with rails and a massive iPad teleprompter just won’t work. With the software I use, I can just sync it to Dropbox and import it into the PromptSmartPro app and I’m good to go.
For most of what I do, this is a braindead easy solution. Even though I told myself I wasn’t going to use a teleprompter anymore, I know it’s going to make my life easier. I’m still going to memorize scripts because it keeps that skill in check, but there are times when I resort to recording audio from the script on paper and then adding b-roll over my VO. In those situations, now I can just read from the prompter so I have usable A-camera footage in case the b-roll footage isn’t possible for client videos.
After starting my YouTube channel, I was frustrated at how my takes were so time-consuming due to the need to quickly memorize the content and spit it out quickly in front of the camera. I knew a teleprompter was the answer, but you were looking at $200 for the cheapest option, and they were large, which for someone who does a lot of recording outdoors was almost a non-starter.
I found the old Kickstarter for this device, and after reading a couple of reviews decided it was worth a swing. After a single use I was convinced that this was an amazing innovation and worth every penny I spent.
You get the plastic frame with the reflective glass, a Bluetooth remote to control the app, and the full set of screw-on adapters, which you had to originally purchase separately when the device came out. You screw the appropriate adapter onto your lens, slide the cover onto the adapter, then affix your phone to the bottom with the spring plate, and use the remote to control the text in the free app. The app is pretty easy to use, and with Dropbox integration you can write your scripts and use them without any awkward file transfers.
There’s only two tiny quibbles worth noting:
(1) The spring plate that clamps the phone doesn’t have a handhold, so you’re grabbing the entire plate and trying to attach the phone at the same time. With an iPhone X in an Otterbox, it sometimes feels a bit awkward to do and I’m scared the plastic might break.
(2) Be aware of your zoom settings on your lens, as if you’re going really wide (Like less than 24mm), you might catch the edges of the frame in your video. I noticed it with my 18-55mm kit lens, so I assume some wide-angle primes and zoom lenses might run into this issue. Just make sure of it before you shoot a take and you’re good to go!
I was a television news anchorman for 3 decades, so I read a lot of scripts on teleprompter. Now, I do YouTube segments all by myself. I fooled myself into thinking I could “memorize” my script or ad lib. But there are times when you have complex ideas, facts, figures, and information. This little prompter fits easily and perfectly over my Panasonic Lumix G-4 with a wide-angle Olympus lens.
Easy to set up, works great. I look like a real anchorman again. I’m only sorry I waited so long to purchase this item.
check my YouTube channel: search for: Cryptoviewing
Works well, but there are a few things that make it tricky. First, the 77mm ring didn’t catch right away. And the unit doesn’t slide easily onto it – it’s a bit tight. The phone holder is completely flush with the back and sides which makes it hard to open, especially if you have the phone in your hands. You end up struggling a bit or touching the glass. Some sort of ledge or tab would be nice. The controller is VERY clickly clicky loud, but if you have a lav it might not pick up. I didn’t risk it.
However, it’s perfect in every other way, and worth the 5 star rating. I think future versions would benefit from an ease of use upgrade tho.
I just started using my Parrot Teleprompter, so some of my issues may go away with familiarity.
On the up side, it is easy to put together, with well written instructions. It works pretty much as described. As a nice bonus, the description here says the device works with cameras with filter diameters >49mm, but there was also an adapter for 37mm, which I may find useful with an older camcorder.
On the down side, the remote control is useless. It connected smoothly through Bluetooth to my iPhone, but never worked properly. For example, pressing the “play” button (which is meant to activate the script you are running at that time) resulted not in playing the script but in playing my iTunes library. That happened repeatedly, until I gave up trying to solve the problem. Unfortunately, without remote capability, I had to rely on the phone app which is bare bones and awkward to use in conjunction with taping.
Bottom line, it works. I’ll use it. And if I can get the remote to behave properly, I’d say it was a great purchase. For now, I’ll call it a “good” one and hope to solve the problems.