What’s new in the Mark IV?
Features of the new Mark IV
- Both Interrotron monitors are now 100% HD 1080p. Our competitors use standard definition prompter monitors in their “so-called Interrotrons.”
- The new talent monitor is now a full 19″ and three times as bright and sharp as the old SD computer monitors. The talent can now see the director’s face more clearly and realistically.
- New remote HDMI switch to change from Interrotron mode to Prompter Mode and back in an instant.
- The Director’s unit contains a 1080p professional 16X9 camera monitor as with the Mark III. But now the system is ready for our sound expansion module. Speakers built into the Mark IV monitor allow the director to speak into our microphone and out to the talent monitor. No longer does the talent see the director’s face in front of the lens only to hear a disembodied voice come from somewhere else. We also have a version with invisible earpieces for the talent so as to totally avoid any potential feedback.
- The director’s unit camera is now a 4K Blackmagic with a Canon 24 to 70 Zoom and a Leica 50 mm 1.4 prime. This means you now have a 4K version of the director’s interaction with the subject to cut into your final footage.
At this time, the new Mark IV is only available in NYC and LA.
The new 4K unit was designed and built by the American Movie Company, the parent company of TeleprompterRental.com and is now in Beta.
The Mark III is the industry standard.
It’s not one of the “fake systems” pawned off by operators who simply hook two old technology SD teleprompters together and charge you for a real one.
A real Interrotron comes with:
1. A Talent Unit with a 16X9 HD monitor and an Autocue gold plate professional prompter with a 15mm sliding rod, sliding base to accommodate any camera and lens.
2. A Director’s Unit with professional 16X9 camera monitor with HDMI, HDSDI and component pass-throughs for direct HD input from all professional cameras. It also comes with a professional camera (Blackmagic Cinecamera, BlackMagic Pocket camera, Canon Mark II, Panasonic PBX 170, or Panasonic HMC 150, etc.) and tripod.
The Interrotron is delivered and operated by a professional technician who understands the system and how best to use it.
It is not a coincidence that Errol Morris, who invented the device, uses our units when he travels to the East Coast.
This is the real deal.
Given that the Interrotron and its inventor, Errol Morris, have become such a hot topic on the Internet, many are asking, “What is it and why would I want to rent one?”
Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker found a novel way to get non-professional talent to relax, look directly into the lens, maintain correct eye-line and give a genuine, believable response.
Morris is credited with naming the device, but actually, his wife, Julia Sheehan, thought of combining the words “interview” and “terror.” The device prevented “terror,” as it were, in his non-professional actors. Top directors are demanding the device.
No more white-knuckled talent staring in fear into the cold, unblinking eye of the camera or the ever colder eyes of a mutant TV crew.
In a typical setup, the director/interviewer sits in “video village” or simply behind a sound blanket separating him/her from the direct sight of the subject.
The interviewer sees the face of the interviewee and vice versa. The two can then have a “one-on-one” personal conversation. Each can observe the expressions and body language of the other while immersed in a comfortable Q & A session devoid of anxiety.
We all know that non-professional actors are usually scared or nervous. They are often completely uncomfortable in front of the lens. They look off camera at every opportunity. They never maintain proper eye line. At the end of their speech or answer to a question from the director, their eyes dart off-camera leaving the poor editor without even a few frames with which to cut.
The above is doubly true if the talent is very young. Kids are wonderful performers when you can get them to relate to the director. And that’s exactly what the Errol Morris invention succeeds in doing so well.
It removes the “terror” from the actor’s performance. The device is essentially a pair of specially modified teleprompters.
The talent looks into the face of the director. The director looks into his/her unit and sees the face of his/her talent.
Since the director sees exactly the same image as the camera is recording, he/she can monitor the shot for composition, focus, etc. while speaking directly and intimately with the talent.
It’s almost ironic that technology allows the simple process of question and answer to become so much simpler, easier, less stressful and more productive.
As an added bonus, the talent maintains that final “moment of intention,” continuing to look right into the lens with the proper expression. This gives the editor the right final frames he needs.
Rentals are rising rapidly simply because these oddly-named units are so practical. The systems are credited with not only saving time and getting useful footage but also most importantly by substantially improving the quality of that footage as well.
While the system is increasingly being used by top directors, the availability of professional units set up by skilled operators has lagged. It is not just a question of renting two teleprompters and cabling them together.
The monitors need to be professional 16 X9 HD, have the correct video inputs (HD-SDI, HDMI, Composite, and Component) and be configured and set up properly.
Producers love the fact that, in most cases, the system more than pays for itself by getting better footage in a fraction of the time.
Although the Interrotron has multiple functions, it can be difficult, but not impossible, to transport. If traveling to different destinations, the EyeDirect or Skytron may also be a better option. The EyeDirect can be shipped across the nation as it does not require an operator. The Skytron, on the other hand, is more complex than the Interrotron, and thus requires an operator in each location.
Due to the complexity and bulkiness of the Interrotron unit, we do not rent out the equipment without a professional, experienced operator.
Rates in other cities may vary.
Please call Bill at 917-414-5489 to get a quote today!
The EyeDirect unit is not as fully featured as its siblings, the Mark III and Mark IV. It’s a single unit that uses mirrors to give that all-important “face to face” interview experience.
It does not let the director sit comfortably in video village and interact in a one on one with his subject while simultaneously seeing the image through the lens of the camera on a professional 16X9 camera monitor.
It is a simple to operate, easy to ship, low-cost alternative when the Mark III is not available.
Often, clients will shoot domestically with the Mark III or IV and then once we train their staff, take the EyeDirect on the road with them internationally.
It fits in one relatively small case. It comes with extra mirrors, a riser plate for DSLR’s and can be equipped with an iPad teleprompter to prompt on location.
We can ship it anywhere with setup instructions. It is the perfect portable option.
Pros of the EyeDirect:
- Simple to operate and requires no highly skilled technician. So if you are traveling, there’s one less crew member to house and feed. Once one of your regular crew is trained in its use he/she can set it up and then return to other tasks.
- It operates right on the same tripod as your camera. So you can pan and tilt with no issues.
- Simple, rugged construction with few parts that can fail. We even include a backup mirror, just in case.
- The double mirror technology gives you the proper left-right orientation for viewing the subject.
- The least expensive Interrotron solution.
- It’s “right for the road”.
The Mark I is a compact, smaller version of the Mark II, suitable for micro-budgets shooting with a DSLR. It functions with mirrors in the same way as its big brother.
You might also consider the new SkyTron. Think of it as a remote Interrotron Mark III or Mark IV.
Bill Milling – 917-414-5489
How to Set Up the System:
The director is usually hidden back in “video village.” He/she sees the talent through the unit, and the net result is that despite the technology, the effect is a real intimacy. Fear is overcome. Eye lines are preserved.
Instead of the director dividing his/her attention between the actor and an image of the actor on a production monitor, the director and actor have an eye to eye “conversation.”
And, as a bonus, the director can read the body language of the talent and the talent can be guided by the expressions of the director.
The system contains a pair of specially-modified prompters which allow the director and talent to see each other’s faces in glass mirrors set directly before the lens.
Basically, the benefits of the Interrotron are:
- The talent can focus on speaking directly to the director. It becomes an intimate conversation between the two.
- The talent can relax as they are having a human conversation, not staring into the intimidating lens of the camera.
- The director sees exactly what the camera lens sees so he/she can monitor the framing while looking at the talent.
- It is especially useful for children and non-professional actors.
- Among many advantages, they preserve eye-lines and relax the talent who carry on a natural “face to face” conversation with the director.
- They are available both in New York and Hollywood, delivered with a technician.
The original device was created by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Errol Morris. According to Morris, it was named by his wife who liked the combination of the words “interview” and “terror.”
Morris discovered a way to get his non-professional talent to relax, look into the camera and see a human face in order to have a natural conversation with the interviewer.
This new gadget proved to be so much more effective than the traditional method of the talent staring fearfully into the unblinking camera lens, his/her eyes darting all over, squinting into the lights trying to find the voice of the director.
Thus Errol Morris’ invention dramatically reduced “terror” and stress, and gives a much more natural and relaxed performance with nonprofessional actors and children.
He also found it had a lot of additional practical advantages over traditional interviews.
The early version of the device was a large, ungainly machine. It was time-consuming to set up and adjust and difficult to transport.
However, it did an amazing job.
Unprofessional talent, children and those who had little or no comfort facing a TV camera found they could relax and give natural, effective performances in front of the device.
Basically, it’s two modified, improved teleprompters connected by a video cable. Both have cameras which feed the signal to the other. Thus, the talent and director can see each other “face to face” on the screens of the Interrotron units.
So, an unprofessional interview subject does not have to stare into the cold lens of a video camera. Instead, he/she sees the face of the director/interviewer and the two have a simple, relaxed conversion. Each is able to read the facial expressions of the other and get all of the non-verbal cues involved in normal conversation.
The director sees his subject directly via the lens of the main camera. He sees the framing, focus, etc. at the same time he judges performance. Because the talent is relaxed and comfortable, the process not only goes faster but also elicits a more realistic, believable, authentic response.
It got Errol Morris an Academy Award.
The American Movie Company refined the device and created the Mark II.
AMC has been renting this improved device with a trained technician in major cities all over the country for the last five years. It’s been the favorite of professional commercial and documentary directors who feel they can get the performance they need, often on the first take.
Now, in response to the many directors who have found the device gets them substantially better interviews, we imported the new Mark IV HD model. At this time, The American Movie Company and TeleprompterRental.com are the only sources to rent the Mark III or Mark IV in North America.
The Interrotron saves shooting time and thus money, but more importantly gives the director the “award-winning” video he/she needs.
The director would now see the talent directly through the lens of the camera to see exactly what the camera sees. So, now he or she could not only monitor the framing and other technical aspects of the shot but also could directly assess the body language of the talent at the same time.
And in return, the talent could not only hear the director’s voice but also see and react to body language as well. So, all types of useful, natural, non-verbal communication can go on while the camera is recording.
Top directors love the Interrotron, especially when working with children and non-professional actors.
Call Bill Milling toll-free at 1-800-811-7805
We’ll rush a unit to you.
Interrotron Style Direct Gaze and Neurocognition
Recent quantitative studies in the areas of neurocognition reveal deep-seated connections between eye-to-eye communication, and brain activity: 4-month-old human infants prefer to look at faces that engage them in mutual gaze. Neuroscientists have documented marked increases in their brain electric activity when interactions are accompanied by direct gaze (Farroni et al., 2002).
Likewise, a 2011 study proposed that a live face with a direct gaze is processed more intensely than a face with averted gaze or closed eyes, as the direct gaze is capable of intensifying the feeling of being the target of the other’s interest and intentions. “Direct gaze elicited greater face-sensitive N170 amplitudes and early posterior negativity potentials than averted gaze or closed eyes, but only in the live condition,” (Pönkänen et al. 2011).
Interrotron Direct Address Issues
With direct-address video and film interview proliferating, fundamental questions about the nature of encounters it facilitates remain unaddressed. The nature and scope of this design investigation seeks establish and define a more formal investigative process of the technique. By employing techniques of participatory design research with in a series of direct address interviews I hope to generate insightful responses and reflections about the nature of direct-address based interviewing:
- What does it feel like to be the subject of a direct address video interview?
- Does the machine promote a more balanced, more level, perhaps more egalitarian encounter?
- Do slight variations in hardware orientation facilitate or hinder this leveling?
- Does it enable insights and connections for the interviewing participants that are hitherto unavailable using conventional face-to-face techniques?
- Does the artifice of the Interrotron allow conversant subjects to leverage the confrontational quotient of their conversation without alienating the other?
- Likewise, can the device leverage improved listening memory and empathy?
- What would subjects, given public access to such a device make with it?
- Is the direct-address appropriate for all video recorded situations?