by Tom Castellano
SAN JOSE, CALIF. Independent Productions has been producing high-end video productions for Silicon Valley high-technology companies for more than 20 years. Our customers include Intel, Cypress Semiconductor and Trend Micro.
In the past, whenever a prompter was required we always rented. A couple of years ago we purchased a Prompter People DV11 unit. Since then our DV11 has been in constant use.
VERY FAST PAYBACK
Tom Castellano Many of our customers have never used a prompter before. In a number of cases the shoot didn't call for prompting, but we would set up the DV11 anyway. When the talent appeared on the set they would ask what it was. I'd just say it was a prompter and it was just there in case they needed it. Once the talent tried it they loved it and became a true believer. Most of our customers now demand a prompter on the set. We charge a rental fee for the unit and the DV11 paid for itself in the first month.
Our on-camera talent is typically the director, vice president or CEO of a high technology company. Their time is extremely limited and they appreciate how much time is saved in their on-camera segments by using the DV11. Many of the executives that we shoot prefer to do their on-camera presentations using PowerPoint. In those cases I just run the PowerPoint presentation through the prompter unit and avoid having to type up a script.
LIGHT ENOUGH TO HANDHOLD
The DV11 has been a real workhorse for us. It's extremely durable and easy to set up. It's also lightweight enough to be used handheld with our Sony HVR-Z1U camcorder. I can connect the lithium ion battery pack and transmit the script feed via a UHF signal to the DV11 prompter. We've gotten some fantastic wireless moving shots with it. The software is extremely easy to use and imports all of the standard formats including Word, .txt and .rtf files. We have the software on a USB stick so that we can just plug it into any laptop and start prompting. PC and Mac versions give us the flexibility to use our Macs or the customer's PC laptop. There's also plenty of extra room on the USB stick for all of our scripts.
I would really recommend that any corporate producer look into purchasing a prompter. It's got far and away the fastest payback of any equipment we have purchased. It's really a win-win solution for both producer and talent. It makes shoots go much faster, saving time for both talent and producer. Also, it reduces editing time dramatically by eliminating the need to search through multiple takes, or worse yet, having to stitch multiple clips together to make one good one.
The DV11 has made a huge improvement in our productions. Its combination of durability, lightweight, easy setup and break down, and a flexible and easy to use software package have made it an indispensable tool in our production arsenal.
Tom Castellano is the owner of Independent Production, a video production company based in San Jose, Calif. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Prompter People at 408-866-9100 or visit www.prompterpeople.com.