We shoot a LOT of talking head messages at Lime Crane. Several times a week, we have a client that needs to record a short 5 minute message about a new initiative, give an update on long term goals, or make an appearance in an orientation video.
Because of their tight schedules, many executives will gravitate towards any solution that lets them avoid memorizing any kind of script. The most popular request is the teleprompter. From youtubers to presidents, everyone loves the magic box that puts the words right in front of the camera.
Bad news… the teleprompter is WAY harder than it looks.
The font has to be the perfect size so the talent doesn’t squint or rush, the words must have the right margins so the camera doesn’t see that they are reading, and the camera set up takes twice as long to make it look perfect (teleprompters don’t work if the camera isn’t at perfect eye level). Not every executive has the knack for naturally reading on screen.
Many of our clients are much more natural when speaking in their own words to bullet points, or going without a script at all. Generally, the more nervous the talent is on camera, the harder time they will have with the teleprompter.
The most important thing in your message is that the talent seems relaxed and authentic. A bad teleprompting session will take up much more time and cause the CEO to feel frustrated and embarrassed.
Here are the teleprompter tips and alternatives we give out at Lime Crane
Have Talent Review the Script
It can be tempting to use the prompter as a crutch, but we have seen it a thousand times: If your talent is not familiar with the content, they will NOT be able to read it naturally on the prompter.
This is the true skill of a newscaster and takes years of practice. Your executive has other talents. Send them the script and have them read it aloud several times.
Use the prompter to remind them of the next word, not to show it to them for the first time. Better yet, have the talent write their own script. Their words will always sound better coming out of their own mouth. Our best communicators use this approach.
Use Cue Cards
Saturday Night Live has a budget of millions, and they aren’t too good for plain old poster board cue cards. Our advice, when your talent has not had time to prepare and review the script, cue cards are the way to go.
The downside with cue cards taped below the camera is that your talent’s eyes will keep looking down the whole video, so our tip is to NEVER put the word-for-word script on the cue cards. Just put bullet points to remind them of each topic, or of any figures they need to remember. No single take will be perfect, but this method is easily spruced up in the editing room.
Break Up the Script
One of the easiest ways to make the shoot smoother is to not even attempt a perfect take of the whole message. Find places in the script where there is a natural pause, and record each section individually.
It is much less intimidating to read just one paragraph at a time until it’s right. Make sure to keep the paragraphs over about five sentences. It looks disjointed with too many quick takes.
About Lime Crane
Lime Crane creates collaborative and engaging experiences for our clients and their audiences. Our unique webcasting solution enables clients to stream live town halls and panel discussions with every employee in their entire organization. We integrate our webcasting technology with your existing video conference systems to overcome the limited capacities of Skype, Zoom, Webex and others.
If you would like to learn more about virtual events and high-quality broadcasts to large unlimited audiences, contact the live stream experts at Lime Crane. Our team offers a rare mix of high-level expertise in Video Streaming Technology, Video Production, and client relations that you will not find anywhere else.