How Teleprompters Revolutionized the Television Industry

How Teleprompters Revolutionized the Television Industry

Teleprompters allow actors and television presenters to combine reading their lines with looking directly into a camera, creating a powerful and winning combination that has revolutionized the moving picture industry. It has combined the relaxed, controlled presenter with the spontaneous, intelligent presenter allowing producers to have their cake and feed it to the audience too with a new breed of direct and comfortable performer that audiences adore.

Before teleprompters, in order to remember all their lines, anchors, newscasters, and other performers would hold a sheet of paper in their hands containing all the relevant information that they were supposed to communicate to the camera. Depending on the proficiency of the presenter and the size of his memory, he would usually be found somewhere between occasionally glancing away from the camera to focus on the paper in his hands and practically never looking at the camera while he furiously read the text from the paper. Naturally, audiences would lose interest in the program as much as they perceived the presenter was losing interest in them. Channels were constantly changed. The ante had to be upped.

No matter how much the producer insisted on the presenter fixing his gaze on the living audience inside the camera, this was simply impossible to do if the material was to be delivered correctly. Eventually, the presenter would inevitably draw a blank and have to look down at his trusty little paper.

Soon, cue cards were invented. Cue cards would feature printouts of the highlights from the text in large letters and be held by a novice employee as close to the camera as possible. Even when the sore arm of the person holding the cue cards was replaced by a mechanism to hold up scrolling cards, this could only be placed somewhere near the camera, never directly in front of it.

When the teleprompter arrived on the scene using a simple system of reversed text, glass and mirrors to project the words right in front of the camera lens, television was changed forever. No longer would the presenter look distracted and odd as he recited the text on camera. He could now be reading the text verbatim while seeming to look directly into the eyes of the audience back at home, making him appear more professional, thoroughly relaxed, and always spontaneous. Audiences at home found their attention spans increased. The ante was upped.