Teleprompters, at least the good ones, are wicked expensive. But I have to admit we’ve suddenly found a black swan in the video pond: one that is quite inexpensive, yet thoughtfully designed and well-constructed. But that’s not what makes it a black swan.

At 1/10 of the price of a machine of similar value, teleprompting has now become democratized, just like HD videoย was back in 2008. Anybody can do it to some extent. I believe this black swan is going to give birth to many more of them as word gets out.

And as the rest of the video world slowly wakes up to this development, you have time toย ask yourself the big question. You see, it’s no longer about whether you should be on camera. It’s about how you will be on camera.

This is not an insignificant question. It raises issues about your authenticity, the way you prepare content, the substance of your web series, and more.

And it all comes down to the question “should I use a teleprompter just because I can?”

So in this video we’ll give you the criteria needed to make that decision, and look closely at one new device that will soon be changing the game for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs.

By the way, here’s where you can find this new machine if there’s a teleprompter in your future… FYI, we’re not affiliates, just fans ๐Ÿ™‚

    32 replies to "To prompt or not to prompt. That is the question!"

    • Eran Malloch

      Hi Steve

      I brought on of the Caddie Buddy’s last year and was MOST impressed with what you get for the low price.

      Definitely worth the purchase in my case, so I recommend it to my clients also.

      As always another great video from your good self! Keep up the good work.


      • Steven

        I procrastinated. Good on you that you did not! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • John Charbonneau

      Definitely a price point worth checking out!!

    • Rich garetano

      I purchased this teleprompter three mounts ago to shoot a video and it works great. It was well worth the investment.

    • Peter Anthony Gales

      Really fantastic to learn of this Steve. For a guy who doesn’t do video, I can’t seem to stop watching yours. A big part of why I don’t do much video is because of the need to rehearse and then the editing because the rehearsals weren’t enough. This seems to be a Godsend, sorry StevenSend.

      Thanks much. Couple questions: 1) how do you avoid your eyes tracking back and forth as you read, giving that shifty inauthentic reading look? 2)what app do you use on your iPad for the teleprompting?


      • Steven

        Great questions, Peter! There’s a formula for determining the optimum distance from you to the camera. I teach this in Master of Video Presence. It’s basically 4 feet for every 12 inches of screen space used. Or something close to that. I don’t have the exact figures on me. Anyway, if you’re far enough away, there will be no shifty eyes.

        I’ve been using PromptSmart Pro for the iPad. It follows your voice, which is super-cool. But there are many others, and as long as you can vary the rate to a fine degree, (in other words, sort of analog) they’re all fine. And many of them are free.

        • Peter Gales

          Quick question on PromptSmart Pro. How far away can you stand and still have the app scroll with your voice?

          • Steven

            Good question. I’ve been as far as 15 feet and didn’t have to raise my voice!

    • Duane Hoffbauer

      Great small company out of Colorado. I bought several products from Caddie Buddie. Everything is well made and works well.
      Customer service is excellent too.

    • Mel Hardman

      Very interesting, Steve. Do I take from your comment to Peter that an iPAD actually “follows your voice” i.,e., scrolls with your vocal pace of delivery? I control the scroll rate of my Prompter People unit with my wireless mouse (somewhat as I wish it would move!) If the SmartPrompt Pro is what you’ve said, you might make me a Mac-convert, yet!

      BTW… Visible Authority is a very nice addition to your fine services.

      • Steven

        Mel, I’ve scoured the planet and have yet to find any teleprompter software for the PC that will do what PromptSmart Pro will.

        If anyone here has some better information, do let us know! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Caryn LeMur

      Loved the video! Now…. I am sensing success is possible!

      Based on your response to Mel, I will need to borrow my wife’s IPad… and see what SmartPrompt Pro will do.

      Great info!

      • Steven

        Thanks, Caryn. Love it when a plan comes together. Have fun!

    • Allison Rapp

      I’ve known about Caddie Buddy since last November, and I have and addition to your list of reasons for buying a teleprompter–

      If you consistently tell yourself that the reason you don’t make more videos is that it all just takes too long to get the clips you need when you’re trying to remember your script, you definitely want to try this one out.

      It’s all you said and more… good quality, easy to use.

      TeleprompterPro says it voice scrolls with iOS and Android … haven’t tried it yet, not free, but at $7 it would be so worth it if it works well.

      • Steven

        That is a ridiculous price for voice-activated prompter software. I’ll have to give it a try.

        Thanks, Allison!

    • Ian M Butterfield

      Hi Steve,
      I watched your video and my eyes lit up. Just what I’ve been looking for for ages (you may recall I even asked you about teleprompter recommendations ages ago and you said you were working on something).


      I’ve just been in contact with Mike at Caddie Buddy – they don’t have a supplier over here in the UK. They can ship to the UK but it costs an extra $49.95…!! And I don’t trust international shipping and UK delivery men not to break the glass before it gets to me. It’d be a nightmare to try to resolve that one if it did get broken in transit!

      Are you aware of any other similar products that might have a distributor in the UK.


      • Steven

        Ian, there’s nothing like this that I know of at the moment. But if you go to the link, you’ll see a video Mike made that shows how it’s packed. I think it would be very difficult to break the glass. First of all, the glass is embedded in plastic, secondly, it’s packed in hard foam on either end of the prompter, and thirdly, $50 to save $1,000 is a pretty good deal in my economy. And I imagine it could be insured against breakage. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sarah

      Hi Steve,

      Just wanted to let you know that I watched the video and immediately bought this. It’s being sent to Australia, and Mike has already emailed me to say that it’s been shipped – just a few hours after purchase. I’m certainly impressed so far ๐Ÿ™‚

      Looking forward to trying it out, thanks for your great recommendations. (And I bought my camera as a result of your personal recommendation to me a few years ago, it’s been great too.)

      • Steven

        That’s cool, Sarah. As for your camera, I agree. I’ve seen your videos. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sarah

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Steve.

    • Sarah

      More than due to make some new ones!

    • Doug

      Voice-activated teleprompter app … I sure like the sound of that! Bummer they don’t make PromptSmart for Android. ๐Ÿ™

      • Steven

        I know, right? But I can’t believe it’s not coming soon…

    • Sheryl Kurland

      You’re. So. Awesome. I will be making a purchase, for sure.

      • Steven

        Hey Sheryl, now you can do a full-out comedy routine!

    • Eran

      Hi Steve & fans,

      I emailed PromptSmart about the availability of an Android version and got a reply that I thought you might find interesting/helpful:

      “We are planning an android version with the hope that we can launch it in the fall.

      If you do find an apple device, then I recommend an ipad air or newer, or iphone 6 or newer. The latest iOS is best for us.

      Hope this helps,

      In the meantime, Teleprompter Pro’s website said:

      “Unlike most other Teleprompter apps, Teleprompter Pro will soon let you use your voice to automatically scroll the script at the speed you need.

      Coming Summer 2015”

      HOWEVER, I cannot find any confirmation that this feature has been implemented into the app, so I have tried contacting them to ask but got no answer, so am trying a different email address now. Fingers crossed, it has been added, in which case this is a viable option for Android users wanting a voice controlled app.


      • Steven Washer

        Ah well, so far the ONLY app I am aware of that uses your voice is PromptSmart pro. It would be really nice if someone could figure this out for Windows. I thought Windows was supposed to be easier to program for. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thanks for the update, Eran, and let us know if you hear anything new!

    • jon hernandez

      Hi steven, just discovered your site and first thing i purchased the prompter app.. its great that moves with voice just what i was looking for. Our youtube channel is a bit complicated as the production goes with multiple cameras and we are using an ipad prompter at the moment but it kills the contrast and makes really dificult to mix with the other cameras.

      Is that the usual thing with prompters or is just ours? we have a TelemprompterPAD that was about 200โ‚ฌ and the color thing is killing it for us, makes it really dificult.

      do you happen to have an example of a video with and without the prompter?


      • Steve

        I assume all the cameras are the same and that the only difference is the silvered glass in front of one of them? If so, one solution is to put a promoter on the other cameras. The other is to raise the brightness on the prompter camera, as the glass is neutral in terms of color. Hope that helps!

        • jon

          Thanks, yes the problem is the glass.. the idea of putting a second prompter was part of our plan but would rather invest in one that doesnt affect contrast.

          color seems fine, the main problem is contrast for us..

          do you happen to have a sample of one of your videos with and without prompter before editing? i would order the prompter you recomend if it doesnt affect contrast!


          • Steve

            I dont have any before and after footage. That isnโ€™t how I use a prompter. Iโ€™ve never heard of one affecting contrast, but if it is noticeable, I would simply restore it in post by adding a touch of sharpness.

            • jon

              thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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