July 30

Teleprompters for Video Making, (Post Includes Link to Free Online Teleprompter App)

A teleprompter is a tool for video making that projects the script for a talking-head shot.  As you can see in the photo above, a mirror reflects the script, so it is at a perfect angle for whoever is in front of the camera.  The camera goes behind the prompters, so the lens is directly behind the words.  This gives the best eye contact for a person reading on camera.  Here is a photo of the exact same teleprompter from behind the camera.

In this still of a teleprompter made specifically for an iPad, you can see where a person on-camera will see their script. This is a photo taken for advertising purposes, so they used a script giving the features of their product. This Glide Gear prompter usually goes for just under $200.


Teleprompters are extremely common in the professional world of television production and public speaking.  You might hear them made fun of sometimes, insinuating that only a dummy with nothing to say would ever use a teleprompter, but that simply is not true.  Everybody uses one.  If you’re going to do talking-head videos, it’s best for you to have one too.

However, if you don’t have one of your own, there are still options.

Perhaps the cheapest and lowest tech is merely Scotch taping the script to the bottom of the camera lens, but the on-camera person’s eyes will not be looking directly into the camera, so viewers will find it distracting.  This is reminiscent of the practice of using cue cards before teleprompters were common.


Using cue cards goes back to the first days of Hollywood and are nothing more than a large sign near the camera lens to remind an actor of their lines.

cue card

Cue cards are still sometimes used when the actor just needs a few words to remind them of a larger point.

cue cards

Like everything in film and video, cue cards have gone high-tech.  The best choice today if you don’t own a teleprompter is to use one of the many apps available.

One free online teleprompter app that works well is called Cue Prompter, and it is not only free, it’s extremely easy to use and has all the basic features you’ll need in a teleprompter.

free online teleprompter
Screenshot of the free online teleprompter website, Cue Prompter

Using a teleprompter will make your talking head videos so much better.  With a teleprompter, you do not have to memorize your script. You’ll be able to stare straight into the camera while the words of your script float effortlessly by.

Using a teleprompter makes your talking head video look professional. There is not a professional TV person on the planet who does NOT use a teleprompter.

The lens of the camera does not register that the teleprompter is even there, so it gives the illusion that the person reading on camera has memorized the script, or is able to speak perfectly off the cuff.  The teleprompter is set to move the script forward as the person reads, so for the person on camera, the words just keep coming.


how a teleprompter works


It’s sometimes a challenge to get the reader’s speed and the speed of the moving words in synch, so they match.   This can cause the reader to lose their pacing and get flustered.  Hopefully, the reader has practiced reading the script enough that they can keep their cool and continue reading as though nothing is wrong.

So, if you are using a teleprompter, practice in order to get the speeds in synch before you actually start recording.    It’s often not as easy as it looks, and it takes some practice and coordination to get it right.

I hope this information helps you make better videos!

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips.

Lorraine Grula


  • In your own words, describe what a teleprompter is used for.
  • Name one of the biggest challenges in making the use of a teleprompter appear smooth.
  • What was commonly used before teleprompters were invented?


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  1. As usual, another practical tip. I checked out the teleprompter and can see how useful it will be. Thank you for letting me know about it.

  2. Hey Ken,
    So good to hear from you! I absolutely LOVED the online teleprompter. Handy dandy tool indeed! One of the best things ever and you can’t be free. So easy to use All the bells and whistles one could ever need. Unbeatable. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Great source, Loraine. So, you’ll be looking at a laptop screen for prompts. Best location for laptop is?? Or did I miss something.

  4. Hi Gene.

    Teleprompters are always located directly beneath he camera, as much directly in front of it really as the situation will allow. The large, expensive ones have mirrors and glass that actually do go in front of the lens. You can not block the view of the camera of course, but you want the on-camera person to appear as though they are looking straight into the camera. So a situation like this online prompter assumes you have a web cam on the top of your laptop. If you are not using a webcam, then you can have your tripod peaking over the top of your laptop.

    Thanks for your comment and I hope this helps. I should have made this more clear in the article, my apologies!


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