How-To, Luna Display Releases, Remote Work

Using the iPad and Luna Display with a Teleprompter

Why Adam Lisagor from Sandwich uses a teleprompter for video calls

Our friend Adam Lisagor is the founder of Sandwich, a video production company based in Los Angeles. Sandwich makes some of your favorite commercials for companies like Slack, Airbnb, Lyft, and other cool tech brands. In other words, Adam is the real deal — so when he reached out to Astropad about the weird way he’s been using Luna Display, we did a double-take.

Adam uses Luna in combination with a teleprompter — an arrangement he put together when he started working from home at the start of the pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, a lot of people’s workflows look much different than they did six months ago; and creative people like Adam have hacked together unlikely tools to improve their work from home setups.

His setup inspired us to build a new feature for Luna Display called Teleprompter Mode. Here’s how it came to be.

The power of eye contact gets lost over video calls

With a lot of us working from home now, our professional relationships are limited to Slack messages and Zoom calls. But technology puts up a barrier that leaves out the warmth of human interaction. In video calls, there’s a disconnect between where you’re looking and how your video participants see you, creating an impersonal exchange.

“Unless your camera is right where your screen is, you’re almost never looking directly at the people you’re talking to… this is bad because it takes you and the other person out of the conversation.”

Adam Lisagor will look you right in the eye

But it’s nearly impossible to give direct eye contact over a video meeting, because your laptop’s camera will always be slightly misplaced from wherever you’re focusing on your screen. If you’re using the built-in laptop camera but you’re looking at your display, your eye line will fall below the camera lens. Or if you’re using your iPad displayed horizontally, your eye line falls to the side of your video.

Fast Company recently looked at the power of eye contact during the Democratic National Convention. Because this year’s convention wasn’t able to be held with a traditional in-person crowd, the highly-produced event featured speakers like Michelle Obama and Joe Biden speaking directly to the viewer via a teleprompter.

Mark Wilson writes “in the case of the DNC, this unbroken eye contact draws our attention and likely makes it harder to ignore the speaker or look away from the screen. On the other hand, in years past, when Obama would have been looking into the crowd, that could prompt you to unconsciously look at the crowd, too.”

“People who make eye contact are evaluated as more attractive, intelligent, and trustworthy. The more another person makes eye contact, the more positively we evaluate him or her.”

Jari Hietanen, one of the leading researchers studying the subtleties of eye contact on human psychology, in an interview with Fast Company

As Adam Lisagor puts it — “eye contact is very important when you’re talking to someone in real life, so it should be equally important on a video conversation as well.” So is Adam attempting to look more attractive and intelligent by using a teleprompter? Yes. Is it likely working? Also yes.

Using a teleprompter aligns your focus with your screen display

Adam places the iPad on his beam splitter

The main purpose of a teleprompter during video calls is that it allows you to look straight into your camera lens while simultaneously looking at your display, giving the impression of direct eye contact. Here’s how Adam describes his setup:

“With a teleprompter, I can use my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K camera and nice lens as a ‘webcam.’ With the iPad display reflected back up into the angled glass, I can look directly at the other people on the call while looking directly into my fancy lens, so they see me talking directly to them.”

The only issue is that the teleprompter’s mirror displays your iPad image upside down and backward. And that’s where the inspiration for Luna Display’s Teleprompter Mode came to light.

Luna Display’s Teleprompter Mode flips your iPad screen to work seamlessly with a beam splitter

We designed Teleprompter Mode specifically to use with a beam splitter — that’s the fancy name for an optical device like a teleprompter that splits a beam of light in two, reflecting an image back at you.

Without Teleprompter Mode, your iPad image would be reflected at you upside down and backward. But Teleprompter Mode automatically flips your display image, so that your beam splitter reflects the correct image orientation.

We gave Adam an early look at Teleprompter Mode, and he was was pretty happy with the result.

OH MY GOD, IT IS GLORIOUS. You enabled flip horizontal and vertical so I don’t even have to turn my iPad upside-down and lock orientation! Holy cow, it’s exactly what I needed.

Adam Lisagor approves of Teleprompter Mode

Getting started with Teleprompter Mode

Teleprompter Mode is available now in Luna Display version 4.2. Please note that direct touch interaction is not supported in this mode.

  1. Grab your gear! You’ll need to get set up with a beam splitter, camera, and Luna Display. Adam uses the Glide Gear TMP100 beam splitter (Amazon, $199).
  2. Launch Luna Display. Plug the Luna Display hardware into your Mac, and open the Luna Mac and iPad apps. Verify that your apps are updated to version 4.2 (you can get the latest versions here).
  3. Enable Teleprompter Mode. In the Luna Display Mac app, go to <Preferences>. Navigate to the <Advanced> tab. Check the box to <Enable Teleprompter Mode>. When this mode is enabled, your second display will appear upside-down. Please note that direct touch interaction is not supported in this mode.
Enable Teleprompter Mode in the Luna Display Mac app

More ways to use your iPad with a teleprompter

Adam uses Teleprompter Mode during team meetings and when he’s recording with his podcast friends. Here are some other ways that this mode could work for your setup — especially during these strange pandemic times.

  • Online teaching for live or pre-recorded lessons
  • Important business presentations
  • Virtual media interviews
  • Job interviews
  • Zoom dating (yes, Zoom dating)

That’s all, folks! With Luna’s flipped display, you’ll now be able to give direct eye contact during video calls.