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How to Make a DIY Teleprompter Tutorial!

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching a lot more media during the COVID-19 pandemic that is being produced from people’s homes. As I watch, I sometimes notice people looking off screen either at whatever they’re using to prompt their lines. It’s not like most people have access to a teleprompter at home…or do they?? That’s why I created this DIY teleprompter tutorial!

Things you will need:

DIY teleprompter tutorial materials
  • Camera (whatever you’re using to capture video: webcam, phone, DSLR, etc.)
  • iPad or other tablet
  • Painter’s tape
  • Picture frame (roughly the same size as your tablet)
  • Carboard box (shoe box would work great for this)
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Some black or dark fabric

Watch the video below or skip to the full tutorial further down.

DIY Teleprompter Tutorial

First figure out which direction you want your video to be. This will determine how you set up your box and place your camera. Which will also determine where you need to cut your hole in the box. I want to shoot horizontal video so I’m going to put the hole in the upper middle part of the box.

Next, mark a spot for the hole. I used the roll of tape to trace a circle on the box. 

DIY teleprompter tutorial

Then use the utility knife to cut the hole in the box. Don’t worry if it’s not totally smooth. 

DIY teleprompter tutorial

Next, you’re going to want to clean off your picture frame and tablet. Any smudges are going to mess with your reflection and potentially show up in your video.

Now we place the picture frame next to our box, hold it up at approximately a 45 degree angle from the box and secure it with a piece of tape.

DIY teleprompter tutorial

This is where I used some cans of beans as ballast to hold down my box, otherwise the picture frame pulled it over.

Then I taped some paper over the printed words on the box because it made the teleprompter easier to read. If you want to go the extra mile, cover the box in a solid dark color fabric or paper because then your words will show up nicely. I used white paper because, hey, it was right next to the table.

DIY teleprompter tutorial

Next, place your tablet under the frame and make sure your teleprompter app is in ‘mirroring mode’ which means that it shows the words backwards. Why? Because then when they are reflected in your teleprompter they show up so that you can read them!!

Use some shims to adjust the position of your tablet to get the best possible angle for viewing the words…

And now you’re all set to go!

What Teleprompter App To Use?

I use the app Prompt Smart Pro. You can click here to check it out. I get absolutely NO MONEY for saying that.

In fact, I paid for the app after searching through NUMEROUS teleprompter apps months ago while researching for an app to help with recording my own videos. It’s fairly inexpensive (less than $20 for the iOS version) recognizes your speech so that it moves the teleprompter appropriately when you say the scripted words, and allows for batch importing of scripts from sites like DropBox and Google Docs.

Did This Tutorial Help You?

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear what you’d like to see in the future!

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The Nerdy Photographer
The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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