Designing and assembling a working teleprompter was a lot easier than I thought! Yesterday I rode my bike over to the Dollar Store and picked up a picture frame to use for the glass.
If I ever dis this again, the big change I would make is try to find glass that’s the exact size of the part it’s attached to. I’d also make a slot for the glass to slide into. Right now the camera’s screen is obscured, so I can’t see where I am in real time in the frame. This isn’t a huge deal, as I plan on using this for things where I’m not that active and moving around.
I’ve always said that getting better at magic is a lot of solving problems. This solved a problem. If I use it and like it, I may end up investing in a more professional setup…but maybe not.
Lately I’ve had a bunch of virtual MC work I’ve been doing. I feel like people’s introductions are getting longer and longer. Gone are the days of three bullet points and a name. I’m having a need for a teleprompter, so that I’m not reading off of a sheet of paper. Someone suggested I look into Padcaster:
This goes onto the front of your camera which looks through the hole in the back. Then you use your smartphone to make the text on the glass. The idea is you can read off the teleprompter while you look directly into the camera.
The camera I use is a Sony Handycam and it’s got a big front around the lens. I was worried I’d spend $100 and have a teleprompter that didn’t fit. I decided to give making my own a try. A quick google search led me to some premade 3d templates for teleprompters, but none was quite want I wanted. I custom designed the one below for my specific camera and cellphone:
The top part that goes on the camera has printed and it fits great! The tray to hold the phone is printing right now, and I need to go to the store to get some glass. I’m hoping this will work!!!
It took some work, but the MC videos are finished. These are tricks I was doing for a virtual MC gig. I had to do 7 introductions and wanted to have some magical things to happen while I did them. The thing was I didn’t want to do any full routines. This is an interesting shift from live to prerecorded virtual hosting. There aren’t any stage delays to cover, you really just need to move the show along.
Of the seven tricks I planned on doing, four of them turned out alright. There other ones are just straight intros. Here’s a highlight reel of the four tricks:
I think my favorite is the floating card. I’m not sure how subtle it is, but just letting go if it and it not moving is fun. You’ll notice by gesturing with my hands as I talk, I’m waving them over the top to show “there are no strings” without saying it.
I’m hoping people like that style, I’m having a lot of fun doing things like this. It’s making flex a creative muscle that I don’t normally use. The event happens on Thursday of next week, so we’ll see how it was received then.
Last night I picked up a last minute gig hosting a showcase. This is for a conference where people go to book acts, I showcased last year and can’t this year. However when I was asked to host their virtual showcase, I agreed as getting face time is always good!
Hosting these is more complex than simply doing material and then announcing acts. The host isn’t supposed to showcase their act. That said, when I accepted the gig, I immediately got started writing down ideas that were fun magical moments. I have seven acts to introduce, which is a lot of material to figure!
How I did this was write down a lot of ideas. Basically I’m just looking for a way to produce the acts name. These have to be quick, and not too involved. After the initial brainstorming, I started to make one of the ideas. One of the acts had a really long introduction. The idea was to have all the text written out, then have all the words change to his name. My first thought was to use black art on the table, but didn’t like that as it’s harder to frame my face. Then I thought about making a flap card. When I first learned to make more modern flap cards, I made an index card that was a flap card. It looks like Blake Vogt is currently selling one called Acro-Index, check his out if you like the idea, and don’t know how to make one.
Once I had the index card trick, I looked at all of my other ideas and started to look at all of the ones that could be adjusted to an index card. I got about 4 of the ideas to work with an index card, and then brainstormed three more.
That gave some options, not every act needs an trick with the introduction. I’m going to record all of them two ways. One as just the introduction and one with the trick. I’ll pick the one that flows better. I’m recording these today, even if they don’t work out, at least it was a fun creative exercise!