Anybody who’s ever had to sit (or stand) and do a spoken piece to camera will know the struggle of trying to learn and memorise a script. Even if we think we’ve got it nailed down pretty well, we’ll often find ourselves doing two or three (or twelve) takes for some lines that just don’t seem to come out right, especially if they’re pretty long ones. This is where teleprompters step in and this one’s pretty awesome.
Designed by Modern Hobbyist (MH), this is the second iteration of his teleprompter design and features a built-in Raspberry Pi 3B+ and 3.5″ touchscreen so you don’t need to mess around trying to slot your phone into it each time you need it and thanks to running a Linux web server you get external button control thanks to an Arduino Pro Micro pretending to be a standard USB keyboard.
This is definitely one of the more elaborate DIY teleprompter designs I’ve seen. For a start, most don’t incorporate any kind of electronics at all. The one I designed a couple of years ago certainly doesn’t and just lets me rest my phone on a tray below the screen. MH’s design, though, is designed to be used absolutely anywhere without having to deal with arranging multiple items on location. And it’s all powered by a built-in battery and charges up off USB.
Another thing that makes MH’s design unique is that it has a built-in handle (that’s where the batteries live) so you can use it handheld while vlogging, too… Although I expect it’ll be somewhat heavy so I don’t know that it’d be useful for all-day use. The use of the Arduino Pro Micro to make external buttons to scroll through the page and adjust the speed is another fantastic feature in this design. Gone are the days of having to try to awkwardly scroll and tap on a phone screen – that inevitably ends up leading to fingerprints on the beam splitter glass!
You could potentially expand the Arduino keyboard capabilities here by using NRF24L01 transceivers and a second Arduino in order to give yourself wireless remote control over the teleprompter system. If you’re standing out of arm’s reach of the camera, this would make life much easier!
Most of the parts for the teleprompter are 3D printed and MH has made all of the files available to download on Thingiverse and the Schematics and PCB fabrication files are also available to download from GitHub. As well as the video above, you can find out more about how to build one for yourself on the Modern Hobbyist website.
A very cool design!