Written by StreamYard
How to Use a Teleprompter for Live Streaming
Most live streams work on the popular one-to-many model. This means usually there’s one content creator or individual interacting with multiple followers on a real-time basis.
This very nature of live streams can be overwhelming for some – especially for those just streaming for the first time. Beginners can be worried about slip-ups or not being able to connect with their followers because there are too many things going on at once. For example, maybe they're trying to be present on their live stream, but also want to manage live comments from viewers during their broadcast.
If you’re one of them, hang in there. It gets easier with time, and of course, practice.
But, if you seek instant results where you go live on camera and know what to say and when to say it, without fumbling through your words, then you may want to consider using a teleprompter for live streaming.
Often an ally of newscasters, politicians and public speakers, teleprompters are slowly making their way into the world of live streams. They serve as an excellent tool to help you create a flawless live stream.
But how does a teleprompter help in live streaming?
First, let’s understand what a teleprompter is and how does it add to your live production value.
What is a Teleprompter?
A teleprompter is a device that gives a speaker access to the script as they speak to their audience. Here are a few of the most common teleprompters:
But, wait, that’s what cue cards or notes are for, right?
Cue cards, signal cards, or notes require the speaker to look at them before speaking. A lot of presenters may even look down at their cards or notes when they are speaking. On the other hand, a teleprompter is a screen or mirror that sits close to the camera lens (yet hidden from the audience).
By projecting scrolling text for the speaker to read from, this device helps maintain eye contact with the audience, while still giving cues to drive the speech in the right direction. You can also display your slides, a presentation, or even have the broadcast open directly in front of you. This way it looks like you're looking right at the attendees.
Why use a Teleprompter for Live Streaming?
A teleprompter acts as a powerful tool in a live streamer’s ability to make much more professional-looking broadcasts.
Apart from making a live streamer’s job on camera easier, it also saves their time filming and editing videos for pre-recorded live streams. Thus, a teleprompter is a great help to produce more live content faster.
It’s also an excellent pick for someone who wants to jump into live streaming, but prefers to be an off-camera person. Using a teleprompter for live streaming gives the speaker the confidence they need to go live, knowing that they will have a great interaction with their audience.
But that isn’t to say that a teleprompter won’t work as well for a live streaming pro. For example, by listing the bullet points of topics they’d like to cover in a particular live session, expert live streamers can also leverage a teleprompter to keep their conversation on track.
Setting up a Teleprompter for Live Streaming
While some manufacturers have different instructions on setting up teleprompters, the general idea is to have it at eye level so that you can easily read the text during your live streams.
It’s usually recommended to mount a teleprompter on a tripod that comes with a quick release adapter to not only secure, but also release the teleprompter quickly when needed.
Step 1: Attach the teleprompter to the tripod
Once you have a teleprompter and a tripod with a quick release adapter ready, slide the teleprompter onto the adapter, tighten the quick release knob, and secure the device.
Step 2: Mount the camera
Next, mount the camera on the teleprompter and secure it. You can use a riser block to adjust the height of the camera.
Step 3: Position the camera lens
While you can position the camera lens as per your preferences, the optimal position is usually the center of the teleprompter. It gives the illusion that you are talking to the audience instead of reading from a teleprompter for live streaming. Once you have positioned the lens, don’t forget to pull the hood over it.
Step 4: Place the mirror
To install the teleprompter mirror, begin by removing the protective film first. Be cautious enough to avoid scratches. Once you’ve removed the plastic sheet, slide the mirror onto the top of the teleprompter frame. Ensure that the mirror is placed at an angle of 45 degrees to reflect the text better.
Step 5: Install the monitor
You can install an LCD monitor, iPad, tablet, or even use your phone in conjunction with your teleprompter. Position the screen and lock it in place.
That's it! Your setup is now complete. Adjust the tripod height to bring the teleprompter to your eye level and keep it at few feet from you.
Using a Teleprompter for Live Streaming: 6 Things to Consider
Even though it comes naturally to experienced speakers, it may be challenging for beginners to synchronize with a teleprompter at first, during a live stream.
We have a few tips and tricks which can help you leverage a teleprompter to its full potential.
1. Prepare the script well
While live streams are loved for their spontaneity, you can still prepare well for them, especially if you have some stats to share or want to convey some important information that you don’t want to miss out on.
Depending on your choice, you can either have the whole script on the teleprompter or just a few bullet points. But don’t forget to add your personality into the script to make your audience feel like they're part of the natural conversation.
If you have your script written by someone else, read it carefully before using it. Chances are, you may not be completely aware of the vocabulary used.
So, make sure you edit the script to make it sound like the language you normally use. This will avoid awkward silences during the stream and prevent the viewers from suspecting that you’re reading from a screen, rather than speaking naturally from your memory.
2. Read your script out loud
Once you have the script ready with you, don’t just read it. Read it out loud. This will help you figure out how it will sound when you use it as you go live. Also, read it out again before starting your live stream to help your mind get comfortable with it.
Pro tip: If you need to practice, you can use the record only mode in your StreamYard dashboard to see how you look and sound beforehand.
3. Adjust the settings
Before giving the speech, you can make necessary changes to your teleprompter screen, like the background color, foreground color, font size, etc. This can make it easier for you to read during your broadcast.
4. Use your body language to your advantage
It does not matter if it’s your first time using a teleprompter for live streaming, or you are a veteran. Don’t let your smile turn into a frown. Instead, be your natural self because confidence can easily mask any flaw.
Always remember to blink and modulate your voice while speaking to avoid sounding robotic. Remember, you don’t want your viewers to feel like you're rigid, stiff, or nervous. So, show them that you are enjoying the broadcast as much as you want them to.
If this is your first time using a teleprompter, you may need to put in some practice. This way you look natural when reading from a prompter during your broadcast. Remember, the more time you spend, the easier it gets. In no time, you'll look like a seasoned professional.
6. Enjoy the process
Adding to the point mentioned above, the shortcut to achieving your desired outcome is patience and pleasure. If you enjoy the stream, even if it’s scripted, it will look natural. So, bring some emotion to your stream, make it personable and enjoy the process.
We understand that live streaming can be intimidating; however, by using a teleprompter for live streaming, you can streamline your efforts and look more comfortable on camera.
So, go on and use the tips mentioned above and use a teleprompter. Sound confident, smile, and make sure your body language doesn’t show that you are reading from a teleprompter. Don’t forget, it’s just a tool that lets you control your live streams better. Don’t let it control you.