Miniature Vlogging Teleprompter


Inspiration

The idea for this project came from my own inability to speak to a camera. For some reason, my mind goes completely blank every time I hit record, and I end up bumbling like an idiot. To combat this, I built a DIY teleprompter a few years back, and that turned out to be one of the most useful projects I've ever done. So, in an attempt to expand my video styles and to cater to the people that enjoy making vlog style videos, I decided to make a smaller, battery-powered teleprompter to can taken on the go. 

Sponsor

This video was sponsored by PCBWay. PCBWay is a one-stop shop for all your DIY electronics and 3d Printing needs, and they provided the PCB manufacturing services for this project! Make sure to check them out at the link below, so you can upgrade your next project with a professionally manufactured PCB!

https://www.pcbway.com/

Overview

The code for this project is identical to the original teleprompter I made, which basically spins up a Laravel web server on a Raspberry Pi, and opens up port 8000 so I can access that website on my laptop, using the IP address of the Pi. This allows me to upload .txt files to the website, which I can then replay (upside down and reversed) so they are reflected off the prompter glass. Later, I built a DIY macro keyboard using an Arduino Pro Micro to emulate a SPACE, UP, and DOWN button, so I could remotely control the speed of the teleprompter.

All of these features were integrated into this Mini Teleprompter so a single user could control all of the settings with a single hand, while recording. 

Build

Parts:

Optionals:

Links:

Instructions

  1. Solder Macro Keyboard
    • Solder the headers onto the Arduino Pro Micro, and solder female headers onto the Macro Keyboard PCB. I also added JST XH headers to the PCB to more easily connect the input buttons.





  2. Solder USB Cable to Pi USB Pins
    • I had already torn the USB slots off the Pi that I have, so I decided to make a micro USB patch cable and soldered it directly to the Raspberry Pi's USB Pins



  3. 3D Print All the Parts





  4. Solder the Batteries To The Charging Circuitry
    • I used the charging circuitry from cheap 18650 battery holders I got from AliExpress, and I soldered the batteries in parallel. 


  5. Solder the Power Button Pins
    • Since I used the charging circuitry from a DIY battery pack, I had to solder directly to the output USB pins, which wasn't hard, but they are small so I had to take my time. 
    • The output of the battery circuitry went to the power button and then power button output went to a Male Micro USB plug that powered the Pi.
    • Wiring Diagram can be found here: https://www.modhobbyist.com/storage/206/WiringDiagram.pdf


  6. Solder a patch cable for charging the batteries
    • I used a female Micro USB breakout board as the input, since the charging circuitry wouldn't line up easily, and soldered a M/F patch cable that was about 3 inches long to allow me to charge the batteries from outside.


  7. Glue Batteries into Handle and charging circuitry to the battery


  8. Add Heat Inserts to 3d Prints with Soldering Iron
    • All of the heat set inserts are M3 sized, except for the Camera Mount which is a 1/4 20.


  9. Install the buttons into the 3d Printed Handle


  10. Mount Electronics to the Enclosure
    • Mount the Raspberry Pi and the Macro Keyboard PCB to the standoffs with M2 bolts


  11. Mount the 3.5" touch screen to the Pi
  12. Assemble the rest of the prompter
    1. Install the Arca-Swiss Adapter
    2. Install the Glass

Final Thoughts

This thing turned out awesome, and I definitely can see myself using it in the future to record more vlog style videos, without screwing up or losing my train of thought, but there are a few things about it that could be better. 

  1. First, the touch screen isn't great. It was just a cheap one I got off Amazon and it certainly works, but it is nowhere near as nice as the Raspberry Pi 7" display that most people use. The size is fine, but I often miss the button I'm aiming for, I can't get a pop up keyboard to work, and I can't scroll by swiping, which is inconvenient. But in the end, I can do all the controls I need to using the buttons on the handle, since I'll only need to go up or down on the screen, I just with I could do it with touch too.
  2. The final build is sorta heavy, which makes it hard to hold steady while filming. Most of that weight is from the camera, so I won't mark this as a complete failure, but my arm did wear out pretty quickly while filming the video for this project. Luckily, the whole point of making a portable teleprompter, was to allow myself to film vlog style videos FASTER than if I didn't have a teleprompter, so hopefully I can avoid wearing my arm out entirely by just taking less time to film overall.

In the end, I love how this project turned out and I'd love to hear what you all think about it, so make sure to leave a comment on the project video!

Gallery