Autoscript Hits NAB With New Prompting Options
Autoscript’s NAB introductions include high-brightness LED (light-emitting-diode) TFT-Plus flat screens for all Autoscript prompter systems; the debut of the compact (5.6-inch), lightweight (one pound) Miniscript portable on-camera TFT monitor featuring all of the standard connectors of larger Autoscript displays; and the MFC-1 Magno Foot Control for magnetic, frictionless presenter-control convenience and long life.
“Autoscript achieved its position as the world’s leading teleprompting company with a quarter-century of innovation in hardware and software uniquely tailored to the needs of the broadcast television and professional video industries,” states Brian Larter, Autoscript Worldwide Managing Director. “Autoscript has an unrivalled R&D resource within the prompting market, with expertise in all forms of television production, so it can react quickly to the changing requirements of its users. These latest innovations being introduced at NAB 2009 are all based on direct customer needs, and they feature a parts and labor warranty expanded from one to two years.”
Leveraging recent and considerable advances in LED technology, Autoscript has decided to offer this next-generation illumination technology at no extra cost over its current TFT (thin-film transistor) display range. The move makes Autoscript the first and only manufacturer to do so. LED technology has major advantages for display longevity, performance, reliability, and “green” energy savings.
“The benefits of LED technology far outweigh those of fluorescent back-lit monitors,” explains Larter. “The superior light distribution of Autoscript’s LED TFT-Plus delivers higher contrast levels and an overall picture quality that improves on current technology. The LED unit uses significantly less power than existing TFTs, thereby increasing the monitor’s efficiency, which is particularly important for teleprompter monitors powered from the camera head.”
Another benefit of LED is virtually instant warm-up to full brightness, unlike CCFLs [Cold Cathode Fluorescent Tubes], which take many minutes to reach full efficiency and light output. As with all Autoscript products, the LED TFT-Plus is purpose-built in-house and packed with prompting-friendly features.
Autoscript’s NAB exhibit will include 17-, 15-, 12-, and 8-inch versions of the new LED TFT-Plus monitors, all of which will feature an illuminated control panel for easy visibility in dark studio conditions. To complement this new line of LED screens Autoscript will also introduce a range of lightweight, robust hoods; new Standard and Extra Wide Angle hoods enable quick cleaning and replacement of glass. With improved operational performance, environmentally friendly construction, and a two-year warranty included at no extra cost, Autoscript’s new LED TFT-Plus high-brightness flat screens provide an outstanding return on investment.
Autoscript has also developed a new, one-pound on-camera 5.6-inch flat-screen monitor with all of the standard functions of its larger cousins, including connections for composite BNC and Hirose power inputs. Known as the Miniscript 5.6, Autoscript developed the monitor in cooperation with veteran British camera supervisor Phil Piotrowsky, who noted an increasing use of hand-held cameras for live and studio-based entertainment production. Outfitting portable cameras with teleprompters provides a “safety net” for on-air presenters, who appreciate being able to refer to a prompter as they move freely about the set. More importantly, this style of production delivers a “live” feel that provides an intimacy between presenters and their audiences, increases creative options for producers, and draws viewers into the action.
“Operating a hand-held camera is very physical and requires an awful lot of running around with a considerable weight,” Piotrowsky states. “In order to do that you have to be comfortable with the equipment, and that means not being troubled by its weight. You want the creative side to come out and benefit the look and flow of the show.
“At the same time we needed a monitor to be the right size for the perfect eyeline of the presenter,” Piotrowsky continues. “Although the monitor is mounted above the lens it has to be as low as possible to their eyeline, so that they don’t appear to be reading over the camera. It also has to be small enough to be lightweight, yet large enough for the operator to stand comfortably about six feet away from the talent.”
Piotrowsky worked closely with Autoscript to refine a monitor that worked for both the operator and the talent. The result is the new Miniscript 5.6.
“It has made a massive difference in weight, size and ergonomics,” Piotrowsky says of this new Autoscript product. “The Miniscript 5.6 is fantastic. It’s flexible, compact, and it has completely confounded those sceptics whose initial reaction was that its screen is too small. In reality, the 5.6-inch screen is the ideal size, and presenters appreciate its clarity just as much as camera operators enjoy its light weight.”
From the world of advanced automotive engineering comes yet another innovation that Autoscript has applied to its products on display at NAB 2009. Known as frictionless magnetic technology, it employs a Hall effect encoder to overcome one of the main handicaps of existing prompter-control devices, which use torsional-spring mechanisms. Autoscript has now integrated frictionless magnetic technology into its new MFC-1 Magno Foot Control and companion MFC Desk Pad, both of which provide an ultra-responsive user interface for control of prompting systems.
“The repeated pushing and twisting action normally applied to mechanical foot controllers inevitably weakens the tension springs used in these devices over time,” says Larter. “With Autoscript’s magnet-based design, however, there is no spring to weaken or break. In fact the MFC-1 Magno Foot Control is virtually 100 percent service-free.”
The MFC-1 Magno Foot Control and companion MFC Desk Pad connect directly with the WinPlus prompter software and features built-in intelligence to allow production staff or multiple presenters to allocate any controller for use at any time and with fail-safe accuracy. Using intuitive deskpad keys, the presenter can immediately assign specific controllers, view which ones are live, personalize them, and enable or disable them. Whether seated or in a standing position, presenters can use the MFC-1 Magno Foot Control and companion MFC Desk Pad with equal ease.
Unlike less precise technologies, the Magno interfaces with broadcast standard coax, enabling a hassle-free connection to the studio’s matrix for swift, practical set-up and reassuring reliability. The Magno also offers a longer life span than conventional technology.