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CueScript Prompters Central for Dem Debates

CueScript monitors were utilized by both moderators and anchors for ABC’s broadcast of the debate in New Hampshire. (Image credit: CueScript)

WATERTOWN, Mass.—One of the biggest stages in broadcast TV is a political debate. While the candidates do their best to make a good impression on voters, the equipment behind the scenes must perform flawlessly. When our ECS Video Systems team rolled into Manchester, N.H., for the Democratic debates taking place just days before the state’s Presidential primary in February, we relied on teleprompter displays from CueScript to keep everyone on script.

ECS Video Systems, a Boston-area-based video equipment rental company specializing in teleprompter gear, was contracted by ABC News to provide prompter support for their production of the primary debates, as well as additional coverage of the debates for “Good Morning America,” “ABC Live” and “World News Tonight.” The broadcasts occurred in two venues, including a skating rink that was turned into a very large studio for the debate, among other broadcasts.

INCREASED DEMAND

We were contracted by ABC several weeks in advance, but it became evident as the requirements evolved, and as other requests for gear during the primary came in, that we would need more equipment to fill all the order. The customer service I received from Michael Accardi and CueScript was great. We were on the phone Tuesday and I had six very large boxes couriered to our office on Thursday, ready for us to transport to New Hampshire the next day.

Across the venues, our team installed six displays, using a combination of 17-inch (CMS17) and 19-inch (CMS19) LED high-bright HD-SDI displays. Each display had an output of 1,500 nits, so we were confident these high bright prompters would give us exactly what we needed in terms of readability, clarity and brightness.

The displays also worked well with the different support equipment used on the broadcast, and their rigidity allowed for wobble-free movement. It also helped that these displays set up relatively easily thanks to most pieces being able to be assembled by only using a slotted screwdriver. Finally, the monitors are equipped with multiple input options from composite through HDMI and SDI; for the New Hampshire primary debate, both composite and SDI were utilized.

The CueScript displays handled intro and outros during the debate, as well as text for the moderators and anchors. When someone has a prompter that is bright, crisp and clear, they are more comfortable, they present better and the event can flow more smoothly.

The bottom line is the equipment has to simply work in a live production environment, and that was the case with the New Hampshire primary debate’s use of CueScript displays.

Eric Silverstein is the president of ECS Video Systems Inc., in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston. ECS Video has been renting teleprompter gear to the corporate, broadcast and staging communities for more than 30 years. Eric can be reached at erics@ecsvideosystems.com.

For more information, visit www.cuescript.tv or call 203-763-4030.