Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Video Talk

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

DIY Teleprompter

RE: DIY Teleprompter
$300 to buy -- about $60 to build!!!
WOW!  That was my reaction when I saw the video at  With credit to Tom Beattie, he discovered that many folks following the "Video Revolution" have a need for teleprompters.  He then discovered they usually cost more than $1200.  Even the cheapest are in the $600 range!

So, Tom got inventive and built a DIY product that he sells for $299.  He even provided a video about how he built it.  INVALUABLE!

I went out to Bed Bath and Beyond today (as Tom suggested), bought the Laundry BackPack Bag for $9.99.  I then drove across the street to Home Depot and bought a 24" X 18" acrylic sheet (1/4" = .22mm) for $17.74 including tax and used a propane torch to bend it at 45 degrees.

Before bending I wanted to make the sheet 14" wide to fit my laptop, so I scored the acrylic (MANY times with a carbide ceramic tile scoring tool), and placed the score over the edge of my workbench, then hit the small section sticking over the edge of my workbench with a rubber mallet.  It broke off "fairly" cleanly.  To smooth the rest, I ran the edge along a grinder (slowly and carefully so as not to heat it up).  I had previously tried using a jigsaw [unsuccessfully] on an earlier acrylic project - as it just heated up the plastic and made an ugly cut as the cooled plastic just filled the line where I had just cut :-(

Marking a line with a grease pencil at the spot where I wanted the bend (10" from one edge),  I ran along that line with the propane touch on what was to become the outside of the bend.  I did make a few passes along the inside too, but focused the heat on the outside bend area.

When it was ready, I again used the front edge of my workbench to act as the bending mandrel.  To make sure I had the angle right, I had drawn 45 degree lines in pencil on my workbench and compared the bend of the acrylic against those "target lines" holding it in place until the acrylic cooled down.

The canvas bag from Bed Bath and Beyond required me to cut off the shoulder straps and use a thread remover from my wife's sewing kit to remove the "Pocket", but with a little patience and the chance to review the video a couple more times, we got it right.  My plexiglas was longer than the one Tom used, because I could not get anyone at Home Depot to cut it to length, and I wanted to avoid a second cut... so I kept the full 24".  This means I had to mount my top strip of Velcro 2" down from the edge of the acrylic, as the bag would not stretch around the entire perimeter.

I am bringing the custom cutout bag to a tailor tomorrow to have him sew velcro all away around the edge that will attach to the acrylic mounted velcro.  I am having it sewn to the OUTSIDE as I plan to turn that 1" width of velcro under/in as I attach the bag to the acrylic-mounted velcro strips.

What I did with the top two inches of acrylic that will stick out beyond where the top of the bag attaches, was to put strips of electrical tape along that space, so it will provide a black backing which (once applied) will allow the Biekert Slate 50 Mirror Film  to act as a reflector.

Thanks also to Tom for giving me Excel Glass Tinting as a source for the film as I am sure it would be tough to find something like that near my home in NW Chicagoland.

All this started with my search this morning for some free teleprompter software that our Technical Director was speaking about as I was in the conrol room of our Video Ministry at Mass this morning.... so it must be God working his wonders in my life again.  For that, I am grateful!

I can't wait to apply the film and try this out!

Jim Bannon
Your PC Guru Jim