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Vlogging? Make a Teleprompter

If you’re serious about vlogging, you need a teleprompter. Without one, you can’t read text while looking directly at the camera. In other words, you look amateurish!

Not to worry. Max Rottersman shows how to make a video blogger PlastiPrompter using a laptop computer, some CD cases, a little tape, and a webcam. McGuiver would be proud.

If you’re looking for something a little sturdier (and larger), visit, where Brian P. Lawler shows how to make a teleprompter using glass supported by a wooden frame.

Visit both sites to get detailed instructions with larger pictures.

Combining the Plasti-Prompter’s small size and integrated construction with Brian’s teleprompter’s sturdy wooden construction and glass could result in an improved second generation, do-it-yourself bloggi-prompter. You can search the web for “teleprompter” and investigate the commercially-available teleprompters for more ideas.

With either teleprompter hardware solution, you will need some way of displaying mirror-image text on a computer display. Max describes how to use SnagIt, available for $40. Brian outputs a mirror-image PostScript file (.ps) that he converts to portable document format (.pdf). Another option is to use software designed for teleprompters. Geoff Park offers EZ-Reader, a $50 shareware teleprompter software package to display smooth-scrolling, mirror-image text.

Happy vlogging!

Hat tip: Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine.




18 responses to “Vlogging? Make a Teleprompter”

  1. Rogan Avatar

    A homebrew solution: A graphics package to mirror the text, and a little javascript to scroll the image in your browser. Supporting software is always great, but some bloggers don’t have any $.

  2. Brent Logan Avatar

    Rogan, good point about the money (or the lack thereof).

    Here’s another solution that requires a mirror-image font. I couldn’t find any free mirror-image fonts online, but you can make one yourself using Font Creator from High Logic. They offer an evaluation version that lasts for 30 days. I assume that you can actually make and modify fonts during the trial period without violating the license, but didn’t read it closely.

    The easiest way to make a mirror-image font is to start with one you already have. (Modifying the font may also violate the font’s copyright or license. None of this stuff is easy…) Open the font you want to mirror in Font Creator, save it to your desktop with another name, and then select Tools > Glyph Transformer… from the menu. Under Outlines, select mirror, check the Horizontal box, and select Okay. You may need to select Format > Naming… and make some modifications before you can save and install the font.

    Once you have the mirror image font, create a HTML page with the following style between the <head> and </head> tags:

    <style type="text/css">
    body {
    font-family: BackArial;
    font-size: 100px;
    width: 10em;
    direction: rtl;

    BackArial would be the name of your mirror-image font (can you guess what I used?). I also made the font-size large and limited the width to minimize eye tracking back and forth to read.

    Scrolling the resulting webpage is left as an exercise for the reader. ;-)

    I first learned about the direction:rtl attribute while reading about hiding e-mail addresses from harvesters.

    Update: I accidentally omitted a couple of lines from the code. I have added them in.

  3. Brent Logan Avatar

    I created an HTML file that includes the style code from the previous comment and some JavaScript found on the web to create your own HTML Teleprompter. All you need now is a mirror-image font.

  4. Brent Logan Avatar

    Prompt! is a teleprompter program that comes in a free “light” version limited to 2500-character text files. The full version is $44.

    Simple is the key to Prompt! as it has very little word processing functions (only cut, copy, paste and whatever you decide to type from within the program) and the ability to scroll the type, either mirrored or not.

  5. Irish Hermit Avatar
    Irish Hermit

    Another bit of html code that you can use are the fliph() and flipv() tags. They will take any normal text and either reverse it or flip it upside down or both. Here is some sample code:

    hello this is backwards

    hello this is normal

    "Fish and visitors stink after three days" – Poor


    hello this is upside down

  6. Irish Hermit Avatar
    Irish Hermit

    Sorry about the above post. It should have been the html code. Here is the code that I used:

    <div style="BACKGROUND: white; FILTER: fliph(); WIDTH: 440px" align=right >
    <font>hello this is backwards

    hello this is normal

    <DIV style="BACKGROUND: white; FILTER: fliph(); WIDTH: 440px" align=right>
    <p><font face="Courier" size="5">"Fish and visitors stink after three days" - Poor Richard </font></p>


    <div style=" FILTER: flipv(); WIDTH: 440px" align=right >
    <font face = "Courier" size = "5">hello this is upside down</font>

  7. Irish Hermit Avatar
    Irish Hermit

    Free backwards font: Do a web search for “strait kcab”. It shows up on a number of free font sites.

  8. Brent Logan Avatar

    CSS visual filters, such as fliph() and flipv() are Internet Explorer only. You won’t want to try this in Firefox.

    Thanks for the pointer on strait kcab.

  9. Abhinav Avatar

    I would like to do some backward print in Word Doc, but am unable to do so…tried various ways but..nothing happened,,could you help me to do something like that..

  10. Dennis Avatar

    Reversing (mirroring) the text on a conventional picture tube type tv has always been a simple matter of reversing the horizontal yoke wires. Put the red wire where the blue wire is at and the blue where the red is at. Or flip the picture upside down by reversing the vertical yoke wires (typical the yellow and green wires). The yoke is that mass of tightly wound copper wire that fitted onto the neck of the picture tube.

  11. Bob Avatar

    Blogan, Thanks for the HTML teleprompter above, how do I change it so that its not mirrored?

  12. Bob Avatar

    I figured it out, change the rtl to ltr in the comment:
    direction: rtl;.

    Now off to play with some other elements.


  13. Arthur Thum Avatar
    Arthur Thum

    Guys allot of trouble for teleprompter reverse fonts. There is a FREE app called Prompt7Lite for MAC and Windows. Does the reverse text, auto scrolling using keys or mouse and the price is right FREE

  14. Brent Logan Avatar

    Arthur, you’re probably right. But three years ago in 2005…

  15. John Avatar

    I like to use DirectPrompt as my teleprompting solution.

  16. Brent Logan Avatar

    John, DirectPrompt looks nice, but it’s not free. Not that $25 is very expensive…

    Also, in the interest of full disclosure, your e-mail address (unverified) suggests you’re associated with DirectPrompt.

  17. John Avatar

    I put a free app up on directprompt now, it was inspired by you.

  18. Brent Logan Avatar

    Awesome, John — thanks!