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  • Teleprompter for Seeing Zoom Conferencing Faces in Vivid Color

  • Greg Ondera

    April 28, 2020 at 3:56 am

    Friends – I have a situation in which a teacher wants to lecture with a teleprompter, not to read text but to have face to face contact with a large audience. Is there a teleprompter system in which we could simply take the HDMI output from his laptop and send it to the prompter in vivid color? Is there a large one of these, like a 24″? I know prompters aren’t usually used for this, but is there anything out there? I have seen the face-to-face prompters, but that is not what I am looking for. I am hoping to project the Hollywood Squares look onto the screen. Thanks!

    Greg Ondera
    Surgical Video Production Coast to Coast

  • Blaise Douros

    April 28, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Almost any of the teleprompter setups out there should be able to take a feed. Check B&H, there are a ton.

    These days, they sell you a monitor and some software, and the software just uses the monitor as a second screen for your computer. No reason you couldn’t fire up Zoom and drag it over to the prompter monitor. It might not show up as clearly as, say, white text on a black background, but it would probably work. Put a bluetooth earpiece in his ear, and he could even take questions.

  • Mark Suszko

    May 15, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Greg, I do this all the time, in fact, we built a custom 40 inch diagonal prompter head to play powerpoints on, that’s big enough to put two studio cameras behind it, one on a wider version of the shot, one tighter, so not only do we have perfect eye contact with the audience the whole time, I can live switch between the two cameras to keep things more interesting and punctuate ideas better. Getting a beamsplitter mirror for that size is tough and expensive: we wound up getting a mylar film to make the glass half-reflective, but even with naked glass, if we crank the maximum brightness from the LED tv set built in to this unit, it works.

    So, to feed your laptop to a prompter you might be able to use HDM , SDI, or VGA, depends on the prompter’s monitor section… or you might have to first run a cable out of the laptop into a scan converter, then the scan converter feeds the prompter head. The “gotcha” that can come up is, at some point the video needs to be reversed and inverted, so that after it hits the mirror it reads correctly. Some prompting software does this automatically, but if you’re playing VGA graphics out of a laptop using powerpoint, you will need to flip the video stream coming out of the laptop. There’s a specific scan converter made just for this job, I will post the info on that tomorrow if I remember. That’s how we do it.

    In a pinch, while saving up for said scan converter, you can cheat by taking all the PPT slides into photoshop or similar and pre-reversing them. You’re trading time for money here: save three hundred or so bucks by not buying the scan converter, but if you need to change a slide or add one on a moment’s notice, you can’t do it on the fly; you’d have to first pre-process it in photoshop. Or export the stills from PPT as jpegs, then re-import them and use powerpoint’s editing functions to flip them.

    You have a good idea; pursue it! We did!

  • Greg Ondera

    May 15, 2020 at 5:30 am

    Thank you! I am going to pursue this. I very much appreciate this.

    Greg Ondera
    Surgical Video Production Coast to Coast

  • Mark Suszko

    May 15, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    The scan converter we use is By Hall Research, model SC-VGA-2B. When you look for scan converters and scalers having this specific inverting/reversing feature, several identical-looking boxes come up. They are all Hall Research boxes with different branding and a mark-up on the price, so I’d go with the OEM supplier and save a little. The unit is discontinued but available used on eBay for as low as 99 bucks. There may be newer scalers out there that can do the same job but I haven’t shopped for them in a while.

    Best of luck, come back when it’s done and let us know how it worked out!

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