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Here are some instructions on how to upgrade your DIY Teleprompter with a Beam Splitter Glass but before you decide to upgrade, you should first evaluate whether it is worth spending your money!
The video below provides instructions on how to upgrade your DIY Teleprompter with comparisons and examples of using the original Picture Frame Glass against the Beam Splitter Glass.
- Better clarity and visibility of text from the Beam Splitter Glass. This can help with increasing distance between the Teleprompter and talent and makes reading easier for those who have eyesight difficulties.
- More professional result. Depending on how professional your DIY Teleprompter looks, with a Beam Splitter Glass, it will help make your Teleprompter produce more professional results. Using the original glass, you may have received complaints from the talent regarding poor visibility and clarity of the text, or you may have been limited on when and where you could use your teleprompter. For example, you may be restricted to using it indoors where there is dim lighting or use it in very close distance to the talent.
- Cost, the glass is expensive, and it defeats the objective of a cheap Teleprompter. Buying a used Teleprompter may be a better choice than making your own DIY Teleprompter with Beam Splitter Glass. You save time and the cost of a used cheap commercial teleprompter I have seen sold anywhere from $120-$250 AUD for tablet size. All the Budget Commercial Teleprompters I have seen that retail over $299.00 AUD brand new, have a good build, cohesive in design, professional looking and a complete package.
- Depending on your workmanship, your DIY Teleprompter may not look professional even with a beam splitter glass installed.
- The benefits may not be of any value depending on your Teleprompter use. If you are rarely using your Teleprompters, filming low budget projects, shooting as a hobby, shooting by yourself or using the Teleprompter at close distance, the poor clarity of text using the picture frame glass may not be an issue and sufficient for your use.
After months of research on Beam Splitter Glass, I was able to find the cheapest online from a seller on Aliexpress.com. Search for “Teleprompter Glass” to see a listing of what Beam Splitter Glass is available.
The Beam Splitter Glass is sold in various sizes and the 25cms X 20cms, 2mm thick Beam Splitter Glass was the cheapest I found sold at approximately $70.00 AUD (including shipping and tax) in November 2020.
Beam Splitter Glass Specifications
- Beam Splitter Glass 70T/30R (70% Transparent, 30% Reflection).
- Cost: Approximately $70 AUD includes shipping and tax.
- Dimensions: 20cms X 25cms
- Thickness: 2mm
- Between 1/3 to 2/3 stop of light loss when used.
The 2mm Beam Splitter Glass I purchased is the-same size as the original picture frame glass that I used. This avoids the challenges of having to cut the glass to size.
The other Beam Splitter Glass options available are;
- 60T/40R Beam Splitter Glass – same price as the 70T/30R.
- Other dimensions:
- 13cms X 15cms (2mm thick)
- 23cms X 26cms (2mm thick)
- 30cms X 30cms (2mm thick)
- 25.6cms X 20.6cms (1mm thick)
3mm thick Beam Splitter Glass
Please note, that most Beam Splitter Glass used in commercial Teleprompters are 3mm thick. This may need to be factored in before deciding to purchase as your Teleprompter design may require a thicker glass. For example, some teleprompters mount their glass by sliding it into a groove where the glass is only supported by the edge inserted into the groove. A thicker glass would be beneficial in this sort of design.
Considering the 60T/40R Beam Splitter Glass?
I initially considered purchasing the 60T/40R Beam Splitter Glass, after looking at comparison examples against the 70T/30R online. The 60T/40R provided slightly clearer and visible text with a slight darker background and whiter text when reflecting the script on the tablet, but after deliberating on the possible loss of image quality when using the 60T/40R with its higher reflective surface coating, I decided to purchase the 70T/30R instead, as it would still provide a drastic improvement in visibility and clarity compared to the original picture frame glass.
From my understanding, the 60T/40R glass would be most useful where higher reflection is necessary in order for the text to be more visible when being reflected in the Teleprompter. Well-lit environments can affect the clarity and visibility of text in the Teleprompter, such as using it outdoors, open designed teleprompters, or light leaks into the teleprompter or glare, which is where the 60T/40R glass could be a better choice than the 70T/30R glass.
In hindsight, if I knew that the result I was looking for required a costly Beam Splitter Glass, and I was in no hurry and had the patience, I would have waited to purchase a used budget commercial Teleprompter instead of building a DIY Teleprompter. The only problem is that second-hand Budget Commercial Teleprompters for Tablets are not commonly advertised online which is why I built the DIY Teleprompter in the first place.
I think the cheap DIY route is great if you like building things or you do not intend to go beyond the DIY teleprompter with Picture Frame Glass build, but if you decide to purchase the Beam Splitter Glass, the cost of the glass itself makes this DIY project not cheap anymore and may not have been worth your time! Also consider that a DIY Teleprompter is much harder to resell on the market at a decent price compared to a Budget Commercial Teleprompter that you may have purchased new or used.