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iPad puts broadcasters in control

Several systems can turn an iPhone in to an on-camera prompter, now there is also a version for Apple's new iPad.

Several systems can turn an iPhone in to an on-camera prompter, now there is also a version for Apple’s new iPad.

Bodelin Technologies’ new ProPrompter HDi is made of lightweight aluminium, into which you firmly clamp the iPad. It has a 16:9 hood and mirror, anti-reflection mask, Camera Bar mount, handheld grip, hood lens sock, and comes in a waterproof carry case.

It costs less than $1,000, although the iPad is extra, as is the ProPrompter App, which is $9.99 from the iTunes App Store. This is claimed to have been the first prompter app for the iPhone, and the latest version allows users to remote sync an iPhone or iPod Touch with the iPad, and use either of them to control the prompter via Bluetooth or WiFi. For a multi-camera shoot, the iPhone can control multiple iPads at once. Of course, an iPhone can also be used in its own smaller rig as a prompter, but won’t be readable at the same distance as the iPad.

Videohub controller
Blackmagic Design used an iPad to control the Videohub 3Gbps router that ran its stand at NAB via WiFi and intends making the app available free on the iTunes App Store. The app was created in just a few days, as the iPad was then only newly available.

It meant that someone could change a monitor to a different input with just two taps (first to select the output, then the input you want to go there).

Being able “to walk around cable free and change your video routing from a handheld device is enormously practical,” said Simon Westland, Blackmagic’s Director of Sales, EMEA.

Script replacement

A lot of TV shows still use paper scripts, just in case the prompter fails. While many news shows now use laptops or in-desk computers as this back up, that option isn’t so useful for a standing presenter, which is why Fox affiliate WFXL in Albany, Georgia, has started using iPads to replace paper scripts.

It has bought six iPads for its news shows, but believes the move will save about $9,600 per year in printing and paper costs. The scripts and running orders are created as usual, but then saved as PDFs and emailed to the iPads.

Telestrator too
The US sports network, ESPN has also put the iPad (and indeed iPod touch) to good use, this time as a remote control for a telestrator, allowing presenters and commentators, to control on-screen graphics and draw on the screen. Rather than creating a telestrator app for the iOS devices, it runs a VNC (Virtual Network Computing) client to control the telestrator’s Windows XP-based interface via WiFi.