Anchor persons on the telly look you straight in the eye as they give you
world news or make smart, 'well considered' observations on reality shows.
Amazing feats of memory? No! Very simply, prompting technology at its best - the
Today's techno generation will find it quaint, but before the advent of
teleprompters, newscasters on TV used to actually read news items from a
sheaf of papers clutched in their hands. The good ones managed to triumphantly
look into the camera lens at the end of each sentence and, sometimes, in between,
to make a special point.
But Teleprompters have radically changed the on
camera presentation style,
elevating it to new heights. And more recently, the teleprompter has even
evolved into its new avatar, as the speech prompter, which has become a
mandatory requirement for top-notch corporate presentations, live
demonstrations, award functions and all genres of stage presentations.
Hollywood actors who prefer not to tax their memory are also known to use the
teleprompter when called upon to deliver lengthy dialogue. Not to
be left behind, Bollywood actors are also experimenting with the teleprompter to
get more packed in their busy schedules.
Harish Bhimani, the renowned TV-Radio broadcaster of India was the first to realize
the dire need for the teleprompter in the Indian broadcast media. In an environment where
even presenters were wary of using a machine that prompts, he was the first
person to acquire a teleprompter and start renting it out. Today, there is not a
glittering stage event or an anchor based TV show that does not hire a
teleprompter from Mr. Bhimani's SmartAnchor.Com.
Says Harish Bhimani, "I started my career as a
TV newscaster. We used to
read news items from badly typed or even hand-written sheets. During one of my
foreign tours I saw the teleprompter for the very first time on the Trinidad and
Tobago TV (TTT). Keen to observe newscasting in other countries, I made it a point to
attend a live news broadcast. The news presenter on duty invited me to
present news. I hesitated, saying "You guys speak real fast..."
"Not a big deal." He said, "Come try it. Here is the teleprompter."
And that was the first time I laid eyes on that magical friend of a TV
Later, during my visit to the United States, I happened to
meet the eminent news presenter Jim Jones - whose help led me to fulfil my wish
to introduce the contraption to the Indian media.
The teleprompter is mounted atop the camera facing the presenter. The
presenter's text scrolls on the monitor screen. An operator moves the scroll in
time with the presenter's speed as he reads from the teleprompter. One can also
feed the text from a computer or laptop and then scroll it with help of mouse.
The Teleprompter has two components. The on-camera unit,
which comprises the screen & a specially-treated reflecting glass and the script feed
that transports the text or a computer. The distance between the screen and the
adjusted with the help of a cable.
When the script is in the form of a print-out, pages are taped in the form of a
scroll. And then this is fed in the script feed table and moved manually, in
time with the speed of the presenter. Often, the script comes as an email or a soft
copy, in which case it is saved on the laptop and scrolled with the help of the
I have a team of operators working for me. One operator per teleprompter, who
takes the teleprompter to the location, sets it up and operates it during a
teleprompters for all major TV shows and stage events - not just in Mumbai but all
over India. A superstar no less than Amitabh Bachchan insists on hiring a
teleprompter from SmartAnchor.com.