A teleprompter is designed to let you read a script while looking directly into the camera and using one gives videos a more professional edge. There’s no more looking furtively to one side or having to memorise your script.
The Parrot Teleprompter uses a smartphone to display the script which is reflected in glass over the camera lens. Using a phone running an app to scroll the script also helps keep the cost and size of the teleprompter down in comparison to old traditional models.
Rather than broadcast cameras, the Parrot Teleprompter is built for use on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras when shooting video. It’s compatible with smartphones of up to 5.5-inches height or smaller – I use it with an iPhone 7 – the bottom section just pulls down so you can slot the phone in.
The Teleprompter attaches to the end of the lens via the filter thread. Nine adaptor rings of sizes from 49mm to 82mm are supplied to enable it to be attached to the lenses in most common use.
Build and Handling
Parrot bills the Teleprompter as the worlds most portable and affordable teleprompter’ and it appears to hit those marks. However, portability also translates to low weight and the units plastic construction doesn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence. It’s something you’ll want to treat with care.
A benefit of the lightweight construction, of course, is that it doesn’t stress the camera’s lens mount and you’re unlikely to find the tripod head sagging during your shoot.
The sprung grip at the bottom is a little awkward to open, and although it could be a bit deeper, it holds an iPhone fairly securely.
One word of caution if you’re using a full-frame camera, you may find that the teleprompter is visible in the corners when you use wide-angle lenses that have an 82mm filter thread. With the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8, for instance, you need to zoom into almost 50mm to avoid seeing it in your footage.
Parrot offers a free app for displaying and scrolling through your script on a smartphone. This enables the font size and scrolling speed to be adjusted to suit your eyesight and reading speed.
In the US the Teleprompter is sold with a Remote control but in the UK you have to buy it separately. I’d strongly recommend purchasing the remote control at the same time as the teleprompter as enables you to stop/start, speed up/slow down and return to the top of the script without having to reach to your phone.
The Parrot Teleprompter is easy to use but it takes a little while to find the correct font size for your shooting distance and you may need a few dry runs to check that the scrolling speed is okay.
The app flips your script so that it can be read off the reflection, but don’t expect it to look as clear as it would if you were reading it directly from your phone. Nevertheless, I found it possible to read a script indoors and outside in bright sunlight.
Here’s a short video in which I used the Teleprompter and as you can see, it means I’m able to look directly into the camera while reading. Don’t feel you have to watch the video though, I find it painful viewing.
If you regularly present to camera, or you’re getting into vlogging and want to use a script, the Parrot Teleprompter is an excellent addition to your kit. Having a script will help with planning your videos and make editing them easier.
Using a teleprompter means you don’t have to look to one side or above the lens, you don’t need a helper to hold a script and there’s no rustling of paper.