QTV SSP07 & QStart Compact Teleprompter  Reviewed

QTV’s great little teleprompter – the SSP07 – is a complete package that’s compact, lightweight and quite capable of delivering professional results. If you’re tired of wrestling with cue cards, you’re definitely going to want to check this one out.

Cracking the Case

The unit comes in a strong plastic case with a rubberized, cushioned handle and large, sturdy latches. Inside, protection comes in the form of a custom fitted semi rigid material on the bottom and egg crate foam on top.

Contents include the fully assembled teleprompter unit itself, power supply and other necessary cables, remote control, security dongle, assorted hardware, software installation disc and operation manual. QTV also sells a pistol grip accessory and iPhone mounting plate.

Setting Up – the Hardware

Setup is straightforward and relatively easy. The unit comes fully assembled so all that is required is to remove it from the case and attach the mounting plate from your tripod to the underside of the SSP07. Slide the mounting plate onto your tripod head and lock it into place. Loosen the thumbscrews on the monitor, swing it out, slide it into place and re-tighten the thumbscrews. Raise the hood into position and secure it by tightening its thumbscrews as well.

Using the supplied bolt, secure your camera to the mounting plate directly behind the hood. Loosen the thumbscrews at either side of the hood frame to raise it up or down so the lens of your camera is centered squarely behind the broadcast quality prompter glass. Pull the light-excluder cloth tightly around the lens and secure it with the drawstring to ensure that no light enters the back of the hood. Make sure the lens is inside the hood, as close to the glass as possible.

If you need to make any adjustments to accommodate your tripod or camera you will find that the unit’s mounting system is fully adjustable. Plug in the power supply, connect the VGA cable to a computer containing the QStart software and you’re set to go.

Setting Up – the Software

Install the QStart software (found on the included CD) onto the computer -probably a laptop – that will be used to drive the teleprompter. A USB dongle is provided for security, allowing you to move the software to any PC while using the dongle for validation. The software features dual screen functionality. This allows you to view the text properly on your PC while reversing it for reflection in the prompter. In addition to saving and importing its native QStart files, other file formats may be imported as well, such as .doc, .rtf. and .txt files, for added versatility.

You’ll need to access your PCs display settings through QStart’s System Options menu to enable multiple monitor capabilities. The software is quite user friendly. It is icon based with formatting options found along the left side of the screen. Various file functions, system options and the Begin Prompting button lie across the top. The black text area with its flashing cursor dominates the majority of the screen. Formatting is available using bold, underline and italic as well as several text-coloring options, any of which may be applied to each letter individually or to all text as a whole.

Once you have entered and formatted your text simply click the Begin Prompting button to… well… begin prompting. Several options are available for controlling the rate at which the text scrolls across the screen including the computer keyboard’s number keys as well as the included remote control.

Other Cool Stuff

QTV also sells a pistol grip, which allows the 7″ monitor only to be mounted to the front of the mounting plate, holding it securely beneath the camera. This configuration is designed for hand-held use and probably wouldn’t work too well with my rather heavy Canon XL2 but is ideal for use with many of today’s lightweight, small form factor HD cams.

Another cool accessory is the iPhone mounting plate (iPhone not included of course). The mounting plate mounts securely beneath the prompter glass in place of the monitor or in a straight-read configuration beneath the camera. In either case, the pistol grip may be used to achieve an extremely portable teleprompting solution.

This set-up is designed for use with teleprompting software available for download from the iPhone App Store. Not an iPhone user, I was unable to test this particular configuration and since my Blackberry didn’t fit the mounting plate, I was left a bit saddened. Given time, however, I suspect there will soon be both a mounting plate, and an app, for that. Definitely a cool twist on the teleprompting landscape.


Tech Specs

Hardware

Size: 7″

Reading Range: 2m (7ft)

Brightness: 400 Nits

Aspect Ratio: 15:9

Contrast Ratio: 200:1

Video Inputs: BNC (Composite); VGA

Weight: 1.4 kgs (3.1 lbs)

Software

Operating Systems: XP, Vista, Mac (Boot Camp)

Control Options: Keyboard numbers or arrow keys, mouse, ShuttleXpress, Wireless Hand Control or Foot Control

Dual Screen: Yes

Strengths

  • Easy to set up
  • Software easy to use
  • Very portable, particularly with pistol grip option

Weaknesses

  • Instruction materials for 10″ and 17″ models, none for 7″

Summary

Highly portable and easy to use, while delivering professional results; this little teleprompter gets the job done. Whether in the studio or on location, if you’re ready to chuck the cue cards the SSP07 by QTV is definitely worth a closer look.

QTV – A division of Autocue

306 Fifth Ave., 3rd Floor

New York, NY 10001-3600

www.autocue-qtv.com

$1,299

Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

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