Teleprompter Delivers Lines for 70 Years


Did you know that the first teleprompter was made out of a suitcase and butcher paper? Over the years, it’s been adopted by politicians, newscasters, and presenters. Also known as an autocue, cue, or prompter, this invention allows a speaker to maintain eye contact and connect with their audience without missing a word.


Live television, with the pressure on actors to memorize lines, was the impetus for the teleprompter. There was a push to find an alternative to clunky cue cards and in 1948, Hubert Schlafly, an electrical engineer and director of television research at 20th Century Fox, was asked to come up with a system. His response was a motorized belt and pulley system connected to a scroll of butcher paper. Actors’ lines were written in half-inch letters on the paper. Schlafly applied to patent his “television prompting apparatus” the following year, calling it a TelePrompTer. Here are some other milestones:

  • First used on December 4, 1950, in the CBS soap The First Hundred Years
  • Jess Oppenheimer, the producer of I Love Lucy, took out a patent for the first in-camera teleprompter in 1952
  • Politicians were using the technology in the 1952 presidential election
Teleprompter Delivers Lines for 70 Years
I Love Lucy was an early teleprompter adopter
  • I Love Lucy used one in 1953, the same year it was adopted for newscasts
  • The Compu=Prompt was a computer-based teleprompter invented in 1982

Teleprompter Types

Teleprompter Delivers Lines for 70 Years
Teleprompters let a speaker maintain eye contact with the audience

There are two types of teleprompters: podium and camera. A podium teleprompter, also known as a presidential teleprompter, is the kind used in speeches made by—you guessed it—the president! It’s also used by others delivering speeches to a live audience. From the audience, this set-up looks like two clear Plexiglas panels mounted on stands to either side of the speaker. The speaker sees words reflected from a device that sits at the base of each stand. Placed three-to-five feet from the speaker, having prompters on both sides means the person can turn to address the entire audience.

A camera teleprompter is the kind of device used by newscasters and others who are addressing a camera. This kind of teleprompter uses a reflective screen placed in front of the camera lens, as well as a monitor displaying the script. The screen is see-through on one side and reflective on the other. That means the camera operator is looking at the speaker, while the speaker sees a scrolling script. Because this is done as a reflection, the script must be reversed on the monitor so it can be read by the presenter.

When to use a Prompter

Teleprompter Delivers Lines for 70 Years
A teleprompter can help with complex facts and figures

When it comes to corporate video, when do you need a teleprompter? We find clients who have long or complex speeches benefit from using a teleprompter. If there are a lot of facts and figures that need to be accurate, it’s helpful to have this information fed to the talent. A prompter is also useful if the speaker is especially nervous or hasn’t had a lot of time to prepare.

There are advantages to using a teleprompter. It helps the person on-camera connect with the audience because they can maintain eye contact instead of looking down at notes. Preparing a script ahead-of-time means others can vet the material for accuracy or legality. A scripted delivery can be written to time, which helps with the overall planning of a video. Generally, a shoot using a teleprompter also goes more quickly.

Teleprompter Tips

If you choose to use a teleprompter, keep in mind that it takes practice to feel comfortable. Don’t get frustrated, especially if it’s your first time. Here are some more tips.

  • read over what’s written, so you’re familiar with the material
  • adjust any wording to make the delivery sound like something you’d say
  • write out all words, including numbers, to avoid mistakes and make reading easier
  • speak at your own pace
  • use gestures and vary pacing to sound natural and less like you’re reading off a page
  • don’t forget to blink
  • if you’re a visual learner, go here for a tutorial on how to use a teleprompter

Our Set-up

At Key West Video, we use a laptop, an iPad, and a program called Teleprompt+ for our set-up. It works just like any other camera teleprompter, which is to say great! If you think your video could benefit from the use of a teleprompter, we can provide one on shoot day. It’s just one of the ways we make clients comfortable in front of the camera. Call us today for a free quote on your next video.

Crowdfunding Video

crowd with money and lightbulb

What happens when you have a million dollar idea, but not a million dollars? You go online to raise money by seeking individual donations that can add up to a vision realized! It the basic premise of crowdfunding. Without platforms including GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter, we wouldn’t have the Veronica Mars movie or the Ostrich Pillow. While videos aren’t a required part of the process, the most successful projects have them. If you’re going to crowdfund, here’s why you need a video.

The Goal of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Video
Your video should compel people to invest

The whole idea of crowdfunding is to tell people about your idea and compel them to invest. They provide the funding and you provide the reward, which can be any kind of incentive or the actual product you’re promoting. With a stated funding goal and deadline, you only collect the money if you reach your or surpass your total in time. If you’re going to put the thought and effort into a campaign, you may as well do whatever you can to cross the finish line. A crowdfunding video can boost the possibility of success.


Include This in Your Video

If you visit the Kickstarter website, one of their project recommendations is to make a video. In fact, they made a video on how to make a video! Very Meta. The site says a video is the best way to let people know who you are and why you want to raise money. Here are some of the things you can include in your crowdfunding video to get noticed and get funded.

Promote yourself. Connect with your audience by letting your passion for your project shine through. If you’re working with a team, introduce them. If you’re excited about your project, you can get other people excited.

Promote your idea. Where did it come from? How did you come up with it? What’s your idea’s origin story?

Have a business plan. Showing potential investors things such as a timeline and budget make your idea seem like it can come to fruition. And it shows that you’ve put thought into how to make your venture successful.

Outline any supporting materials. Have you done research on your project? Is there a prototype? Are there people who have tried it and can give testimonials for your crowdfunding video? Is there an influencer or person of note willing to endorse your product?

Include strong visuals. It helps people understand what you’re talking about. Plus, it will stop people in their tracks when they’re perusing Kickstarter. You can also include infographics

Crowdfunding Video
People want to see your product

Captions and subtitles make your video accessible to all potential donors.

Can you demo the product? Then do it!

Our Crowdfunding Videos

At Key West Video, we’ve worked with some pretty diverse crowdfunding clients, from custom caskets to a carry-all belt. This fall, we produced a video for Neat Jug.

Crowdfunding Video

We Can Help

When it comes to crowdfunding, a video can be the difference between reaching your goal and heading back to the drawing board. Remember to keep it short and help the viewer understand who you are and why your idea is worth their money. Key West Video can work with you to take your crowdfunding to the next level. Call us today for a free quote.

Disability Representation in Video

disability video

We’re often asked to create videos that are representative of a diverse population, including people with disabilities. Whether we’re shooting live action with casting or making an animation, this can be accommodated. How we do it is a discussion to have with the stakeholders.

Many clients are concerned that if they present us with a list of disabilities, the attempt to show diversity will be too blatant. But that’s kind of the point. If the person using a cane stands out to the viewer, and they recognize that person as seeing-impaired, then the viewer is recognizing the inclusion of a seeing-impaired person in the video. There are many people with invisible or hidden disabilities, which can be difficult to represent unless you’re speaking specifically about that person. However, if your goal is simply to show diversity, it’s useful to employ symbols that everyone can identify.


When it comes to including people with disabilities in your video, consider your audience. Are you speaking to your internal workforce? Do you want to include examples that reflect your employees? Are you targeting customers with particular needs? Every viewer finds it easier to relate to a video in which they see themselves. Our clients often want to make it clear that their services and products are available to EVERYBODY, so they want to be as inclusive as possible. Think about how you’d like that inclusion to look on video. We’ve created videos specifically geared toward people with disabilities and their families, including a promotional piece for Red Roof Retreat.

Disability Representation in Video


Diversity can be easier to show with animation. This is true of any video looking to show a diverse population. With animation, you can create any character you like and be as specific as you want to be. When we worked with client Ophea on videos for their Healthy School Certification program, they asked us to show a varied student population. Our animator included various children in wheelchairs and riding accessible bikes, as well as students playing inclusive games.

Disability Representation in Video

Making Video Accessible

When it comes to making video accessible to everyone, think about the standards your project needs to meet (see AODA below). These can include closed and open captions, transcripts, various forms of description, and ASL . We’ve made several videos that feature ASL and LSQ, including this explainer for Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services.

Disability Representation in Video


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has a mission to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. This act sets standards when it comes to accessibility in all areas of daily life. We’re often asked by clients to make our videos AODA compliant. This covers formats such as closed captioning and video description for hard-of-hearing and blind or low-vision users.

Canadians with Disabilities

It’s not only lawful to make video accessible to all Canadians, but it’s also representative. Here are a few stats on Canadians with disabilities:

  • an estimated 3.8 million people over 15 have a disability
  • more than 80% of persons with disabilities reported using at least one aid or assistive device
  • over a quarter of persons with disabilities who were employed indicated that their employer was not aware of their work limitation
  • among the working-age population with disabilities, 24% required modified or reduced work hours

Inclusion is Easy!

If you’re interested in making an inclusive video, Key West Video has the experience to make that happen. We want you to be able to address every memeber of your audience. Call us today for a free quote.

Budget for Video in December

Budget December video

This is it. The last day before the last month of 2018. Time to do some housekeeping. For many businesses, that means looking for ways to spend money left in the yearly budget. We an idea when it comes to the best way to zero your books and get a great return on investment: budget for video.

Use it or Lose it

Sometimes a budget surplus in December is just as bad as a shortfall. There’s a use-it-or-lose-it mentality that compels management to spend every last dime so they don’t see a budget cut in the future. Whether you’re looking for a way to spend what’s left, or you’re working from a zero-based budget and you’d like to add another project, video can fill the void.

End-of-year Hiring

Budget for Video in December
Make a hiring video in December

Typically, December is not a good month to look for a job because not many places are hiring. People are on vacation or they’re thinking about vacation or they’re trying to frantically get work done so they can go on vacation. But if you’re looking to take a bite out of your year-end budget, December is a great time to hire. Contract a freelancer or consultant to help with end-of-year tasks or prep for the new year. Even if you don’t hire in December, you can get ready for January hires. Attract new employees with a video. Show them what it’s like to work for your company by interviewing workers, giving a behind-the-scenes tour, and talking about plans for 2019.

Add Gift-Giving to the Budget

Budget for Video in December
Employee gifts are a great thank you

It’s been a long year, so why not reward your employees? They won’t even mind that your generosity is also contributing the to the bottom line. Buy gift cards or cater lunches as a way to thank workers for all the time they’ve put in this year. A holiday party doesn’t have to be over-the-top to show that you appreciate the people you see every day.

Think outside the office. Is there room in your budget for a charity? Make a straight-up donation or involve your team in a fundraising effort. Pick something that reflects the values of your business so everyone feels invested. Fundraising videos promote the charity and your business—it’s a win-win!

Stock Up

A penny saved it a penny earned? We prefer the adage you have to spend money to make money. December is a good time to stock up, especially if you’re trying to deplete your budget. We’re not just talking about office supplies and software upgrades—we’re also talking about video! Record holiday greetings from upper management to send a video message of thanks to workers. You could also invest in raw footage shot now to be made into a video in the new year.

Time to Refresh

Budget for Video in December
Get ready for the new year with a new video

Pump up your digital presence with a new video for your website. Make your first video ever or refresh a piece with outdated information. Hold the reveal until January and start the new year with a fresh look for customers. If you’ve worked with us before, we can pull archived footage and rework or add to an existing video.

Happy New Year

Money left in a budget at the end of the year doesn’t have to cause panic. Invest in video and reap the benefits long into the new year. Call us today to discuss ideas and we think you’ll have a happy new year.

App Demo Videos

app demo videos

So you made an app? Good for you! Now you need to let people know about it so they can start downloading. You can promote your app on a website, push it on social media, or buy search ads. But one of the fastest and most effective ways to create awareness is with an app demo video.

Why Video Works

Video generates awareness. When it comes to apps, people want to see them in action. You can describe what your app does, but showing how it works enables the viewer to imagine using it. Reading that an app matches paint colour is one thing. But watching a short demo showing you how the app takes a picture, matches your wall colour, and identifies nearby stores that carry your paint is something else. Once you’ve seen the demo, you’ll remember that app when it comes time to put a fresh coat of paint on the living room wall.

App Demo Videos
Your app stands out with a video demo

Whether a potential customer comes across your app in a search or stumbles on it by accident, a video can lead to conversions. In a search, your product will stand out if it has a video attached. If you’re selling your app on the Apple App Store, take advantage of the app preview option. Google’s Play Store also allows you to include a short video. Use this opportunity to convince the buyer that your app will make their life easier.

App Demo Essentials

The first thing to remember when creating a video for your app is to keep it short. You may only have fifteen seconds to sell your product, so get right to the point. For super short videos, you need that hook that convinces an audience why they can’t live without your app. Tell them what problem you’re solving or how you’re making life easier. When you have a little more time, start with the practical features and navigation. Does your app save the user money? Will it make a commute less dull? Show people how it works with a simple demo. Brand your product and tell the audience where to get it. Ideally, this video is appearing in tandem with an option to buy and download. If not, make sure you tell people how to buy your app with a CTA.

Format and Tone

App Demo Videos
Speak to your target market with a demo

Choose to make a video that aligns with the spirit and branding of your product. When it comes to a format for your video, both animation and live action work well. Have a look at some existing demo videos to see what you think would work for your app. As for tone, what kind of service are you promoting? If it’s fun and whimsical, use that approach for everything from scripting to music. A financial investment app may call for a more serious tone. Consider your Target Market and what will appeal to them.

App Stats

How many apps have you used today? Here are some numbers illustrating how much we rely on apps.

  • There are 8 million apps in the Google Play store
  • You’ll find 2.2 million in the Apple App Store
  • Total mobile app downloads last year: 197 billion
  • People use an average of 9 apps daily and 30 apps monthly
  • Last year, mobile apps were the source of nearly half of global internet traffic

From Our Files

At Key West Video, we’ve been asked to make a variety of video demos to promote apps. There was the one for parties and events, the one for online investing, and now we’re working on a video for pet services. We also created this demo for Crosslinx.

App Demo Videos

Let’s Talk

Make video part of your marketing plan to promote an app and see the results for yourself. Boost awareness and conversions by letting your customers know what your app is all about. Call us today for a free quote.