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Teleprompter

Summary

Just a couple sentences explaining exactly what the project is about. Usually it will be just slightly more detailed than the title of the page

IMG 6849 (1280x853).jpg
IMG 6849 (1280x853).jpg

Motivation

I'm recording some videos at work and I like to have a script or slides so I don't forget anything. The problem is that if you have a camera next to a computer monitor you can only look at one or the other and it's pretty obvious from the recording if you're not looking at the camera. Enter the teleprompter to save the day.

Introduction

Design: If you've never used a teleprompter it's basically just a two-way mirror set at a 45 degree angle. A screen sits on a flat surface facing upwards and gets reflected towards the viewer. On the other side of the glass sits a camera under a shroud. The two-way mirror allows the viewer to see the contents of the screen reflected while still looking into a camera.

This project has definitely been done before. Many other projects use an actual two-way mirror or beam-splitter glass. I was in a bit of a hurry and couldn't find any glass shops nearby that sold this type of glass so I made my own using Lexan (similar to plexiglass) and mirror film. I also found a page online that talked about how to treat actual glass with a series of chemical compounds including silver to make actual reflective glass. The other benefit of using Lexan rather than glass is that I could screw directly into it.

What you'll need

Part Cost/Unit QTY Total Link
Lexan (12" x 24" sheet) $11.00 1 $11.00 This is what I got at Home Depot, size depends on the screen you're using
Gila Mirror Film $25.97 1 $25.97 also from Home Depot
Plywood (1 sq ft) - - - I already had some on hand, left over from other projects, should be able to get this much for <$10
Saw (I already own the following tools)
Drill
Screws
Screwdriver
Carpenter's triangle
Gila Application Kit $8.49 1 $8.49 Helps you put on the film smoothly
Total $45.46 Under $50 ain't bad (and you have enough materials to make 2!)

Steps

1. Measure the screen you're going to use. My laptop screen is a 12.1" diagonal so with the frame and everything it's just under twelve inches wide. Thus I chose 12" x 12" for the "glass".

2. Using good ole trigonometry you can calculate the size of wood triangles you need to cut for the size. Either SOHCAHTOA or since it's an isosceles right triangle and you know the hypotenuse, you can use the Pythagorean theorem to get the lengths of the sides. Also note that you probably want to leaves some room for the thickness of the screen lying on the tabletop so you probably want to add some height to the sides to accomplish this. You can also built a bigger stand for the whole thing. I just used copy paper at the office to raise the whole setup higher.

3. Measure and mark the two triangles on the plywood using the carpenters triangle. Then cut the plywood.

4. Cut the Lexan to the desired size and then remove the plastic cover sheets. I used Lexan because it doesn't shatter when you cut it like plexiglass. (Lexan is a brand of polycarbonite.)

5. Get a friend to help you hold the plywood and Lexan while you pre-drill and then screw it together on each side.

6. Vacuum all the saw dust in the area and dust off the Lexan. You want it to be as clean as possible so the film is smooth.

7. Follow the instructions for the mirror film. If you bought the applicator kit (I promise i'm not affiliated with Gila :-) ) you just spray it heavily (you can probably use windex) and then squeegee it.

Sources and inspiration

If you used someone's idea, please document it here.

Further Ideas

If you have some ideas about slight modifications to your project, list them, perhaps it will spawn more cool stuff.