A Teleprompter Display Based on a Smartphone

While recently cruising the Internet, I came across a website offering a smartphone based mini-teleprompter display product. A quick internet search brought up several such product offerings. Thinking that this display concept was quite clever and perhaps as novel to some Display Daily readers as it was to me, I chose it as the topic of this Display Daily article.

It is worth mentioning that I have previously reported on two other product categories that are cleaver in much the same way as these teleprompters. I am referring to the inclusion of a smartphone in a head mounted “case” to produce a personal 3D viewing device. An early example of this was the Google cardboard VR viewer. A second example is the integration of a smartphone to a dashboard mounted “case” to produce a vehicle Heads Up Display. An early example of this was the HUD developed by Hudway.

First, a few words of background information on teleprompters.

Paraphrasing an article that can be found in Wikipedia, a teleprompter is an electronic display device that visually presents a speaker with the text of their presentation. As illustrated in the figure below, the display is (typically) located in front and below the lens of a video camera. The text on the display is reflected to the eyes of the speaker using a beamsplitter. The image of the speaker, on the other hand, is captured by the lens of the video camera directly through the beamsplitter. A shroud surrounding the lens and the back side of the beamsplitter prevents unwanted light from entering the lens.

Typical configuration of a teleprompter system.

Since the speaker does not need to look down to consult notes but, rather, can look directly into the camera lens, the teleprompter creates the illusion that the speaker is presenting spontaneously. To discuss the teleprompter application, I will use the example of a product offered by the company Quickstarter.

A video illustrating the set up and use of the Quickstarter teleprompter can be found at the end of this article. A photograph of the Quickstarter teleprompter system is presented in the figure below.

Quickstarter 3The Quickstarter smartphone based teleprompter display system.

The beamsplitter is made of glass, not plastic as in some inexpensive systems, and has a transmission of 80%. Given that the beam splitter is 125 mm wide X 100 mm high, the teleprompter can accept a smartphone having a display with a size up to 6.5 inches – such as the iPhone X.

The entire device is 125 mm high X 129 mm long X 80 mm wide. Since the case is produced from 3D printed plastic, the company claims the ability to rapidly manufacture and deliver product.

An adaptor ring is required to mount the video camera to the case of the teleprompter. Rings having a diameter of 82 mm and less are acceptable.

Many free Apps are available that can enable use of a smartphone in a teleprompter mode. The Apps are available to download from the various apps stores. Just search “teleprompter.”

The Quickstarter teleprompter is available for purchase from the website of the Sceneway Garden (Hong Kong). The teleprompter is currently selling for $58.00.

A physically larger but otherwise similar product is the Parrot Teleprompter. It is compatible with an 11 inch iPad Pro and includes a Bluetooth remote to control the App. The Parrot sells for $139.00. -Arthur Berman

Quickstarter, Wong Wing Ho, [email protected]