Sony FX6 Teleprompter Rig
A great presentation to camera requires a lot of practice and a good understanding of the subject you are talking about.
Presenting to camera can often look easy, until the lights are on, the camera is rolling and it’s time to give the presentation.
At Motion Base, we conduct a lot of interviews and piece to cameras every week and although some pieces to camera look and sound a lot better “off the cuff” and improvised. There are times when you just need to get the words 100% verbatim. Think stats, percentages, annual report figures etc.
As a DP / filmmaker, you are almost definitely going to be asked by production agencies and businesses if you can supply a teleprompter with your kit for a piece to camera.
In this article, I’m going to go into detail on how I quickly rig up a small teleprompter solution in a couple of minutes on the Sony FX6.
A lot of the third party equipment used in this article is also used on the off the shoulder fx6 rig we have. I’m all about purchasing equipment that can be used in as many configurations as possible.
Read on to learn how to rig your FX6 for a teleprompter setup and start offering the service to your customers!
Table of contents
Part 3 - Rigging a teleprompter on a Sony FX6
For 99% of the work we do that requires a teleprompter, a simple iPad connected to my phone is completely sufficient.
There have been times in the past where if the project requires it, we bring in dedicated Autocue / teleprompter specialists. That’s what they are there for and they provide an excellent service.
However, an iPad prompter is a great portable solution for a basic teleprompter setup. The setup we have also travels very well fitting in a case and adding less than 1kg to the total weight of the camera kit.
One of the goals of the rig was to be suitable for plane travel when needed. This photo was taken on a rural winery in Western Australia.
In my opinion, purchasing in a teleprompter is one of the best investments you can make as a video production company, even solo shooters and filmmakers will benefit in the long run of adding one to their arsenal.
There are many, many options available when it comes to choosing a teleprompter to purchase. The model you decide to go with depends on how far you want to go with your teleprompter services.
We found that the Onetakeonly prompter suited our needs and after using one for over 2 years now, it’s still going strong.
We went with the model that comes with 15mm rings instead of the light stand version as mounting the prompter onto the camera rig allows for more freedom when moving around as well as having to pack one less light stand in the bag (especially when travelling).
The prompter can handle an iPad up to 12.9″ which is enough for our needs.
Attaching the teleprompter onto the camera
In part one of this series, I covered the shoulder rig setup for the FX6 we have in-house here at Motion Base.
One of the key pieces of kit we use in this setup is the Chrosziel 401-FX6 light weight support base plate. The reason we chose this is due to the option to add 15mm rails to the front of the camera.
These rails allow you to add a number of accessories to the front of your rig. The main two reasons we use it are for lens support options with the matte box and also as a way to quickly mount the teleprompter.
Front 15mm rail mounts on the front of the rig
One of the key parts we needed to buy in order to mount the prompter onto the rig was a small, 10cm long 15mm rail set.
Connecting the 10cm rail set to the front rail mounts on the camera base plate.
The reason why you’ll need to get a set of short rails is because you will want to mount the teleprompter at the correct distance away from the sensor of the camera in order for the blackout curtain on the prompter to fit snuggly around the front of the lens.
As nearly all lenses are a different length, I would suggest measuring the distance of the lens you intend to use and purchasing a set of rails that match that distance.
For reference, the lens used on this 10cm rail is the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 Mk2. It also works well on the Sony 35mm f1.4 Mk2.
If the 10cm rail was any longer in this setup, it would hit the back of the prompter platform. Inhibiting us from bringing the prompter closer to the camera.
Once you mount the short rails to the front of the camera, simply attach the prompters step down mount to the other side for a nice, tight fit.
The 15mm rails attach to a Railblock underneath the prompter.
Underneath the teleprompters platform, there is a 15mm Railblock. Once you have mounted this to the platform for the first time, there really isn’t any need to remove it. It’s been transported attached to our teleprompter for over 2 years and it’s been perfectly fine.
The Sony FX6 with a Onetakeonly teleprompter / Autocue rigged to the front.
That’s the rig setup! It’s ridiculously quick to setup in a pinch. Less than two minutes from shoulder rig to teleprompter is really good.
It’s also just as quick the other way around. When we have finished a piece to camera and need to get setup for b-roll, it’s just easy.
As a bonus, we can also power the iPad from the USB output on the Smallrig v-mount battery at the back of the rig.
Teleprompter App Software
Just like with the hardware, there is a ton of choice out there for running teleprompter software.
For the past few years we have been using Teleprompter Premium. Our experience with it has been a bit mixed.
Sometimes the bluetooth connection between the iPad and iPhone (controller) has been a bit jumpy and slow to respond. Other times it has been solid.
The software itself is great and has all of the features you’d expect from teleprompter software such as font size, scroll speed, and the ability to import a range of document formats.
What we have found to be the easiest and quickest way to import scripts into the prompter software is to:
- email a .docx or .pdf file to our email address as an attachment
- open the email attachment on the iPad
- Tap the share to button at the top (small square box with an arrow point up)
- When you see the list of apps to share to, scroll all the way to the right and tap “More”
- This will open a list off apps on your iPad, scroll down until you find ‘”Teleprompter”
- Select “Teleprompter” and this will then import the script into the Teleprompter App
Being able to quickly adjust on the fly with the tools we use to create video allows video producers to be flexible.
We actually keep the teleprompter, iPad and rails in the production van at all times these days.
Combined with being able to set it up in less than two minutes makes this rig a nice little project to get right. It’s pretty much a set and forget rig until the moment you need it. When you do, you’ll thank yourself!