With “Interrotron rental” becoming such a hot topic on the web, many are asking just “What is a damn Interrotron and why would I want one?”
The “Interrotron System”, (sometimes misspelled as Interrotron) invented by famed documentarian, Errol Morris, is fast becoming the standard way to shoot interviews. The system uses two special teleprompters, each equipped to accept a video image. The talent sees just the face of the director and the director sees just the face of the talent. Often the room is darkened and the two units are separated by a curtain. Basically, at its heart, the system is similar to standard teleprompter systems such as the presidential prompter (aka speech prompter) but with an internal video system.
So, instead of looking into a cold and often intimidating camera lens, the interviewee sees the human face of the person talking to him or her. This solves several problems at once:
First it gives the interviewee a more natural environment. They see a human face, not an intimidating film crew.
Secondly, this approach relaxes the talent, especially if they are not professional actors.
Thirdly, it helps maintain the proper eyeline during the shoot and helps prevent that natural tendency for talent to look off camera the second they finish speaking.
And lastly, by looking at an animated face, the talent can better assess the real intent of the question and the mood of the questioner. So answers are often more useful and to the point.
The director is helped as well. He sees exactly what the camera sees. He’s literally looking through the lens of the main camera and can assess both the camera framing and the body language of the talent at the same time. No longer is he/she a disembodied voice in the darkness or a visual distraction destroying eyelines. The director now is in the position to have an intimate conversation with his/her talent.
So, Interrotron rentals are rising rapidly simply because these oddly named units are so dammed useful.
The systems are credited with not only saving time getting useful footage but substantially improving the quality of that footage as well.
While, the Interrotron System is increasingly used by top directors, the availability of professional units set up by skilled operators has lagged. It’s not just a question of renting two prompters. The Interrotron monitors need to be professional, have the proper video inputs and be configured and set up properly. So, some research should be done before in order to insure a successful Interrotron Rental.
The good news is that more and more of the Interrotron Rental units should soon be available, at least in the major film and TV centers such as New York and LA.
A professional Interrotron System contains two teleprompters, each with high quality video monitors, an additional video camera and tripod along with all necessary cables and accessories.
Facilities that offer Interrotron Rentals usually can also supply standard teleprompters, Presidential Prompters, battery powered Prompters and Stedicam Prompters. Some, like those below, can supply Tricasters as well.
For Interrotron Rentals on the East Coast check out www.AmericanMovieCo.com and www.Teleprompterrental-NewYork.com
On the West Coast www.TeleprompterLA.com
And www.TeleprompterRental.com everywhere.
So… why the hell would I do an interview without an Interrotron?
It is magic!