2 ways to read a script while looking into the camera

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Written by: Dexxter Clark, 19-05-2022
There are 2 ways to read a script while looking into the camera:
1) with a little investment, and you need some skills
2) is free and everybody can do it.

Teleprompter

The first and obvious one is a teleprompter.
This is basically a piece of glass that bounces light of a screen with text.
The beauty is, that the camera doesn’t pick up on this light, so it is invisible for the viewer.
There is one condition, that the space in between the camera lens and the glass needs to be dark.

A teleprompter can be attached to a DSLR camera or system camera lens and some even to a mobile phone.
Therefore you need to make sure that the teleprompter fits the diameter of the lens, otherwise it isn’t dark enough.

A teleprompter usually has a remote to control the speed and position of the text.
You can connect a remote via Bluetooth to your tablet or phone.

Downsides to teleprompters

There are a couple of downsides to teleprompters

1) A lot of cheap teleprompter solutions like this involve a mobile phone or tablet.
The cheap teleprompters are usually produced in China, but the software sucks.
That means that you have to install a Chinese app on your phone or tablet.

In this case, the website of the manufacturer is offline, the ipad version doesn’t work and the version for my phone what wants to know my location.
There is no valid reason for a teleprompter app to use my location.
I’ve had another one before this and the app didn’t work because the keyword was over the display button, so I couldn’t use it.

2) 2nd the remote, it sucks.
Then you need to connect every time you want to use it
These remotes only work with that app, otherwise the buttons are mixed up, yes, I’ve tried it.

3) transporting scripts is cumbersome
Not only is typing on a mobile phone or tablet is annoying, you can also type it on your computer and then transfer it to your phone.
You need to email to yourself and copy paste it.
If you see an error, it is really hard to edit, because you can’t directly edit the text, you need to go to the edit mode, edit the text, start the teleprompter mode, find where you left off.

4) a lot of people have shifting eyes from left to right when they read the teleprompter, which looks unnatural

5) The other big downside is, is that reading a script from a teleprompter takes skill,
First, You need to learn how to write speaking-language and then perform it I a way that is sounds natural


I’d like to argue that by the time you got your teleprompter up and running, you could have recorded half your video already.

I am looking for a solution where I can connect the teleprompter as a second screen to my laptop.
This way I can write and edit on the spot.
My idea was to connect a small monitor like you have on your camera, only it needs to be able to mirror the image.
I haven’t found that one yet or the setting in windows to do that.

Reading the script

But there is a way that makes it much more natural: winging it, but with a with a twist.

You can write the script, or outline it with bullet points.

Personally I’d like to use a script because English isn’t my first language, and I can think about how you can formulate sentences.
I often get blackouts on camera.
With bullet points when I have to do 5 or 10 takes, halfway I don’t know what I said in this take and I say things twice or omit things, which takes so long in the edit to fix that.

So what I do
  • I write the script with all the content as you normally would.
    I have a free script template and example script that you can download.
  • Now I add scene numbers. Every 2,3 or 4 sentences is a scene.
    If you use bullet points, every bullet point is a scene.
  • Every scene is a jump cut in the edit.
    So for every scene a change the camera position or I zoom in or out.
    Since a lot of my videos are talking head videos this is a pattern interrupt, so it is less boring to look at.
  • I use my laptop to display the script, so I can make little changes in between scenes if necessary.
  • I don`t have to stick to sentences literally but it gives me a direction to phrase the topic, I allow myself freedom to wing it
  • In the beginning of every take a mention the scene and take number, so I can separate them in post.
  • I keep an administration of all the good and bad takes.
    This saves me a tremendous amount of time in the edit because I don`t have to scout all the footage.

The trick

Now the trick is, I look at my script every single time between scenes.
You don`t have to remember to whole script, but only 2 or 3 sentences at a time.
  • note scene number
  • read the script
  • record talking into the camera
  • note scene number
  • read a scene of the script
  • record talking into the camera
  • etc
By using your own words and not reading the script literally (like you would with a teleprompter), your content looks instantly more natural.

Separate files

By working this way, every scene is a separate file on the camera
In the edit, I drag all the footage to the software.
Because of the administration, I know I had 7 takes, so 6 mistakes so 6 times pressing delete on the timeline.

Another approach

For bullet point lists I use a different approach.
You can do one scene per bullet point, but that is mostly one sentence, but keep the camera running while looking at your script.
You have to edit out those later of course.
When you screw up and clap in your hand, you can see a spike in the edit
So you know to disregard the previous portion.


Camera performance will get easier over time, but I do have some hacks for you in my article to overcome camera shyness.



If you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my YouTube e-book.
The book takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
How to get more views, subscribers, make money with YouTube, go viral ... and much more.
Click here for more information about my YouTube e-book: "What Big Tubers Don't tell you"

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Dexxter Clark
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