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One of the coolest inventions ever is a simple piece of glass. Why you might ask? Well, the answer is the humble Teleprompter.
Content creators of all types utilize this tool to streamline their creation process, usually by reading a script. You have:
- Voice Actors
- News Anchors
- Government Officials
- The President
- & many more.
They all utilize this simple angled glass to project a readable script out in front of the camera. All in the name of promoting eye contact with the lens, and thus, eye contact with those on the other side of the screen.
How a Teleprompter is Advantageous to a Streamer
While streamers don’t typically utilize a script, this technology may be repurposed. After all, the only thing it does is reflect a display, like a phone or a tablet, while allowing light to pass through to reach the camera. You can reflect anything you want onto it.
- For streamers, this thing is Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, Discord, etc. Chat.
- Instead of using your teleprompter glass for a script, you can use it to project your stream chat in front of your camera lens
You probably can instantly see the appeal of doing such a thing if you’ve been wondering on a way to keep up audience engagement.
Using a Teleprompter in this way can drastically improve the feel of your stream. You are reading chat and can directly respond with eyes on the camera; On your audience directly.
This is immensely valuable to sending out body language to your viewers that are normally lost with streaming. What we mean is eye contact. Instead of turning your head to read chat, up, down, left, or right, you look directly at the camera. This also makes you appear more confident to those watching you.
Just look at how confident Technology Connections on YouTube looks when he reads his script! (Also, thank him for releasing his video on Teleprompters, Without it, this article likely wouldn’t exist.)
The Disadvantages – Cost, and design
Now we will mention now that a professional teleprompter is extremely expensive. And even the Budget options stretch into the hundreds of dollars.
Next, most teleprompters are designed to be used with Expensive DSLR or Mirrorless cameras, not cheap webcams like most streamers utilize. This means, at best, you’ll have to jerry-rig your webcam into the shroud to get it to appear right.
But there are options available, even to those with an extremely tight budget. We’ll address those later in the article, and layout what you are sacrificing by going that route.
What you’ll need to use a Teleprompter for chat
Essentially, all you really need is a simple piece of glass or plastic that can reflect the text from a screen. If you are willing to shell out a bit of extra money though, you could get something a bit better for the job. That something is called “Beam Splitting glass”.
We’ll go over what that is in a few, just know that teleprompters can be fairly expensive.
Our recommended option for this is something called the “Glide Gear TMP100“. This is an excellent entry-level Teleprompter with a rail that mounts on a 1/4” thread screw mount. Those mounts are commonly found on tripods and the ever-popular C920.
That mount is important because it is used by hundreds of different devices:
- Tripods & Monopods
- Lights & Light Stands
- Studio Microphone Shock mounts
- Studio Microphones
- The list goes on, but yes, Also Teleprompter mounts.
The main thing is, of course, the mounts. See, there are a wide variety of mounts available that use this 1/4″ mounting screw.
How to display ONLY the chat of stream on Twitch in a browser window
There is a neat little feature built into twitch that allows this to work flawlessly in our case, and it is accessed with a little bit of url manipulation.
Typically, to access a channel on twitch, you add the streamer’s channel after tv: Example: https://twitch.tv/kittylulu (Side note: Check her out, she’s very fun to watch! Here is a rather funny clip I managed to capture.)
But did you know that you can add /chat at the end and get ONLY the stream chat window?
Replace kittylulu with your channel, and you now have the ability to get the stream chat in a Teleprompter-ready format! Neat!
Budget Options for those who cannot afford one of the teleprompters
If you can’t afford a teleprompter, all is not lost. Simply cut it from the equation, and jerry-rig the heck out of a way to mount your phone or tablet in view of your webcam.
Basically, the idea here is to mount a screen slightly above your webcam using a gooseneck arm mount. The specific one here also bundles in a little ring light, so really, it isn’t a bad choice starting out. Especially if you have some old phones sitting in a drawer like we did. The process is the same for the most part, it just isn’t direct eye contact, but close enough.
The one we used is this selfie ring light, which is very cheap, but a good start. Be advised, it WILL destroy your desk. We strongly advise beefing up the padding with a microfiber cloth or something like that; Either that, or clamp it on something you don’t care about.
That said, these days, there are better options out there, particularly in the DIY department, if you know what to look for.
DIY Mid-cost Mounting solution for a Webcam, Light, and Phone mount(AKA, your Teleprompter), all in one.
Starting off with the main component, a universal rail with 1/4″ – 20 screw mounts. This solution is a bit more expensive than buying something like the selfie ring light but still cheaper than what a Teleprompter would cost.
This component is the key piece that allows us to create this mount.
The next piece you will need is the Universal clamping mount to secure it to a tripod or wall mount. This allows you to screw into another, you guessed it, 1/4″ screw socket. There are some tripods that come with such a clamping mount, like the one included on our BonFoto Tripod we bought awhile back, but we can’t guarantee compatibility without being able to personally test it.
Next, you will need a pair of Goosenecks with 1/4″ screw mounting points and one of these SMALLRIG Articulating arms for the center screw on the rail. This center one would be a great spot for the phone or tablet mount, but if you can find another mount to your liking that uses that 1/4″ – 20 mounting screw, then it will be compatible.
On one Goosneck, you’d mount a light, like this Raleno LED Panel light, and on the other, your C920(Though, maybe not that right now, it’s not really available for a reasonable price right now due to the popularity of streaming these days.)
Finally, simply align the webcam below your phone or tablet, and the light wherever you like. Just remember, a High key light is best.
Let us know what you think about this solution, and share pics of your setup in the comments below! Or join our discord!