It’s not often that a hardware product comes along and overhauls and improves how I work on a daily basis. Elgato’s new Prompter has done exactly that in the few days I’ve been using it, offering up an all-in-one teleprompter and additional monitor that can be used with a Mac or PC for $279.99. If you’ve ever wanted to have eye contact with people on Zoom calls, talk directly to your Twitch chat, or easily read a script for a presentation or YouTube video, then this is for you.
I’ve been considering a teleprompter for months now, but most on the market at $200 or less typically need to be connected to a phone or tablet. Elgato has created a teleprompter that connects over USB-C to a PC or laptop and doesn’t need additional power.
The Prompter has a large nine-inch display (1024 x 600) that reflects onto beamsplitter glass that allows cameras to record through the glass without recording whatever you’re showing on the display. Elgato has thought about everyone who might want to use its Prompter and included support for DSLR / mirrorless cameras, its own Facecam Pro webcam, and even phones and other cameras through a universal adaptor.
In the box, there are nine step-up rings that can attach to the thread on the lens of a DSLR or mirrorless camera. There are ones for 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm, so most camera lenses will work with this. There are also multiple quarter-inch threads and cold-shoe mounts so you can mount microphones and accessories onto the Prompter. Once you’ve attached the step-up ring, it’s as easy as slotting the Prompter onto the lens of your camera and plugging in the USB-C cable.
Elgato’s Camera Hub app provides the necessary Prompter software, allowing you to display auto-scrolling full-screen text or even a Twitch chat feed. You can also use this as a regular display on a Mac or Windows PC and drag your Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls onto it so you’re looking directly at people during meetings.
The Camera Hub options are fairly basic, including font size, colors, and scroll speed for the teleprompter. You can also control the brightness of the display from here — I found moving it all the way down to 10 percent allowed me to more easily see the center point of the camera behind it to maintain eye contact during video calls.
I’ve used Prompter multiple times during Zoom and Teams calls recently and to record two videos for The Verge. We usually create scripts for YouTube videos, and having to memorize them can greatly extend the production time. I used the Prompter for the video above, recording the whole thing in a single take.
Elgato has also created a Stream Deck plug-in for the Prompter so you can easily play / pause the teleprompter text, tweak the display brightness, or adjust the font size on the fly, all at the touch of a button (or a tap of your foot).
Elgato’s Prompter goes on sale today priced at $279.99. That’s not cheap, but I think it’s justified based on how it improved my own video work. There are plenty of less expensive options that you can slot your phone or iPad into, but Elgato has really nailed the combination of hardware and software here for its target market of work-from-home professionals, streamers, and YouTubers.
Photography by Tom Warren / The Verge