Tom’s Telepropter for iPad & similar Tablets

23rd Dec 2013

Updated 28th Dec 2014 :

See Product Improvements @ bottom 🙂

My first Video Blog  ( ) was well received but in shooting it, the value of having a teleprompter was glaring because I was not fully engaged with the camera and my audience as I tried to read my fluttering notes.

Googling finds several DIY ideas the best of those, in my opinion, is found here : .
Sorry but I don’t have the gentleman’s name to assign credit !

My camera is small and light enough  ( Canon HR 200 HD )  that I thought I would mount it to the prompter and thus be able to mount both the prompter and the camera as a single unit on my studio tripod.

Video link to Vinvin 121 original posting

Here is a list of changes or improvements from the one referenced above:

  • 1 – I started by following the video instruction to build the assembly based on two 8″ x 10″ cheap picture frames ($10) joined in a similar way.
  • 2 – The backing panels were glued together to form a more substantial  mounting platform and glued in place after I was satisfied that all was working to plan.
  • 3 – The side supports which I made from black foam core, to the full size of the 8″ side of the frame so as to block as much side light as possible. These stand up inside the frame supported by four small foam core blocks. Note :the angle of the mirror is NOT necessarily 45 degrees – I found that 60degrees was required to give me a full view of the iPad screen when the camera is set to provide a suitable subject framing with a camera to subject distance of 5 ft.
  • 4 – Using Window Film (see separate notes below)
  • 5 – Camera mount this should work for most small lightweight units but I would not suggest it suitable for DSLR’s.  Using common 1/2″ PVC pipe fittings I made up a 90 degree PVC assembly to position my camera immediately behind and at about halfway up the glass. (see pictures)
  • Lastly I made a black drape which is attached to the top of the the frame with light velcro to exclude light from the camera side.
It might be worth considering a larger frame size such as 11″ x 14″ since looking into the tilted 8″ glass only gives you approx 6″ view of the iPad
If you do not have a lavalier mic you will need to get one since you have now placed your camera mic behind the glass and under the drape making it quite useless.
Window Tinting Materials
I have friend who installs window tint film so I was able to obtain a variety of scraps to try. Silver proved best suited to this application. Now I had never applied this material be my friend gave my instruction on “How to ” :
  1. Wash and ensure the glass is perfectly clean & do not dry
  2. The film has a clear protector on one side . This can be easily separated with masking tape and discarded.
  3. After carefully aligning and applying ,using a credit card wrapped in kitchen towel as squeegee, working from the center firmly force all the water and bubbles out from under the film.
  4. Install the glass film side towards the iPad
Teleprompter Software for Apple iPad iTouch & iPhone

I tried several offerings and found after trying first the free ones that all  had sort comings which caused my to purchase the highly praised  Teleprompt+  and also to download the free sister program to enable my iTouch as a controller for the iPad.

The most serious limitation with the others was nor being able to import text files from emails and other external sources.

Tripod Mounting

Under the Hood


Inside Front

Working View






No Drape = poor reflection

The Drape or Hood is necessary



Side Panel Support Profile


Set to GO!


All components stow inside the unit

Product Improvements :

When I set out to shoot my 2014 Christmas Video blog using my  teleprompter on location I encountered a couple of issues. These were quickly and easily remedied as you will see.
Shooting out doors always adds complexity and on this day it began to rain.
1 – During the set up rain spots got onto the camera side of the glass 🙁 .
2 – I had no convenient adjustment of the mirror angle hence the prompt text was partially obscured 🙁
3 – Setting the camera alignment meant lifting the blackout cloth which caused unwanted reflecions from above:(
Not much to be done about ! except to  include an umbrella in my Camera gear bag and a fine cotton cleaning cloth:)
On retuning home somewhat dejected I made a a pair of St.Steel wire supports for the black out cloth and mounted these to the outside of the lid/mirror frame. This works great !

Cathedral Grove Set Location


Wire sopports and mirror adjustment


Shooting position

Next drill a small hole near the rim of a the lid from a pharmacy pot and screw mounted this to the outside of the mirror frame so that when rotated it opens the mirror frame wider = steeper angle 🙂
I also added a couple weights near the rear corners of the cloth to ensure it hangs nicely 🙂
Best wishes to you all for 2015


Paper Model Steam Engine by – Ed Bertschy

17th Dec. ’13

Yes ! it works

Like so many I had not heard of scale modeling in paper and card until about 10 years ago when I had the good fortune meet my kite making mentor John Freeman. He was also a paper model maker with a large accumulation of incredible works.

This week I had the notion to send to my grand children an email with links to sites where they could download ready to build designs of toys and suitably simple models. While skimming the web I found this site :

The project appealed to me so I have printed off a set of instructions and drawings in .pdf format intending to build it over the next few months.

iStudio replaces MS Publisher or Adobe on your Mac.

10th Dec. ’13

Front of the Card with iStudio

It has been a couple of months since switching entirely to Mac. In this time I haven’t found a task that I could not do equally well or better on the Mac. That is until I needed to print more of our calling cards which I had originally created with MS Publisher. I now find out there is no way to open Publisher files on a Mac.

I searched the web for alternatives to recreate a clone of original. Adobe software is way beyond my price boundary and Apple’s Pages lacks many needed features that Publisher and iStudio have, similarly Scribus (a free download)
After much digging I found iStudio . 

A free 30 day trial is offered so I installed the program and soon got to grips with it. For those moving up from using a text editor or those new to desk top publishing there are currently 34 short video tutorials available here –

My first project a replacement calling card to be printed on a Standard US Letter Avery 10 up card stock sheet. Details as follows : Printed both sides with background image of our house and the usual text blocks with a decorative frame.  The obverse (back ) had a matching frame and a text block giving directions to our house.

I struggled to see how to place the card doc accurately into a 10 up page . Here iStudio support jumped to my aid after I contacted them in UK. Andy replied within minutes with a fully detailed tutorial on using and importing templates other than iStudio templates into iStudio as .pdf ‘s to easily obtain the accurate multi doc layouts for such jobs as making labels and cards.

As soon as I have a new photo of our house to add, the task will be completed and shown here.


Back of the Card

Whilst I have not yet played around with it. IStudio integrates with Lythoglyph’s Mondriianum  – Download here : which is a decribed as :

If you’ve never heard of the Adobe Kuler community then prepare to immerse yourself in its wide and technicolored world via Lithoglyph’s Mondrianum.
Adobe Kuler is an online community where you can explore, create, and share color themes. The color themes in Kuler are contributed by users, many of them professional designers or in the creative business so you’re dealing with top notch results. So where does Mondrianum come in?
Well it’s a plug-in that enables Mac applications to get the most out of the Kuler community. Once installed, it acts like a built-in, system-wide color picker which is available on any Mac application that supports this feature of Mac OS X. These include all the big apps such as Apple’s own iWork and iLife suites, Google Sketchup, Adobe Photoshop and other widely used applications such as Coda and CSSEdit.


Mondrianum is a great plug-in for designers and creative professionals looking to access a whole world of unusual and creative colors.

Wrench Man – Victoria Aus.

8 th Dec 2013

A friend sent me a collection of photographs of this man’s sculptures made from a most unlikely free source – recycled Wrenches or Spanners .
After adding a .jpeg to each i was able to load them into Picasa and create this movie and post it to YouTube.



Today 2nd Jan 2014 I found several sources of information on the Sculptor  now posted below:

Maureen Lucas

John Piccoli (known colloquially as ‘The Spanner Man’) still lives on the family property at Barraport
in the Boort area near Bendigo in Victoria. His grandfather Esias Piccoli (who came out to Australia
from Switzerland) selected the land in 1876 and named it ‘Bryngoleu’ – which is a Welsh name for
“view from the hill”. As you drive into the property there is a collection of old farming machinery on
either side of the road. John says that he has an example of every machine used for farming in this
area dating back to the late 1800’s.

John was born in 1941 and when he was eight years old contracted Polio, after which he went into
hospital. Three years later he came out. As you can imagine, he had a pretty torrid time, with the
treatments for this disease available at the time. It also meant, unlike today, that he had no
schooling during this time and he found it hard to catch up; so, like many people of his generation,
he is mainly self-taught.

John’s father passed away when he was eighteen and despite all the setbacks he had endured,
John recovered sufficiently to be able to run the family farm with the help of his mother.

One of his passions is a love for animals and birds and all of his life he has had pet birds. Stud
Dorset Horns and Stud Poll Dorset sheep were bred. He also had turkeys, squab pigeons, Wagyu
and other breeds of cattle, deer, goats, ostriches, camels, pheasants, peacocks, Guinea fowl,
finches, various breeds of ducks (including Mandarin and Scaup), different kinds of quail and also
meat rabbits.

In 1993 John obtained two pairs of Macaws from the first legal shipment that came to Australia. One
pair was green wings and the other was blue and gold. He now has 12 Macaws and owns one of
the best breeding collections in this country (including some rare colour variations which are sought
after). These are magnificent birds and several of them will talk to you.

John says that he had always done a lot of welding. It is something that he finds easy to do and
enjoys. He has a good workshop on the property and has accumulated tens of thousands of
spanners over the years. In the early eighties he began making his garden sculptures using these
spanners that he welds together in three-dimensional shapes. His first masterpiece was a coffee
table, then two of them, then garden seats and now life-sized animals. Because he was using up his
spanners so quickly, he then had to start buying more, which he still does today.

John’s rusty sculptures are rather like iron lace pieces. He gets a photo of the animal or whatever it
is he wants to sculpt and then creates a piece from that. He visualises in his head how he is going
to do it and then proceeds without the use of drawings. Because he is now confined to a wheelchair,
John works mainly on the ground and manoeuvres the pieces around with the use of ropes and
overhead pulleys. It is truly remarkable how he does this.

With exhibitions in Melbourne at Manyung Gallery, the Gary McEwen Galleries in St Kilda,
Southbank, the Artist Garden in Fitzroy and Darling Harbour in Sydney, John is becoming very well
known for his work.

‘Bryngoleu’ garden is a lovely setting for John’s sculptures and because it is quite large, gives a
lovely canvas to be able to show them off to their best advantage. On the day I visited I saw many
wonderful pieces, including a bull with huge horns, two fighting horses and a swordfish (all full size).
John’s latest creation is a bucking bronco with a cowboy on his back.

It was a pleasure to meet John when I visited his property in May 2009. He is a truly amazing man
and an example to us all in what you can do to overcome adversity – a true genius in his own field.

If you happen to be in the Boort area, it is well worth contacting John to see if you can visit
his property and see his wonderful sculptures. His details are: telephone (03) 5455 4257

The background information on John and his family was supplied to me by Paul and Cathie Haw, for which I thank them.

Vlogging- First steps

5 th December 2013

What passes for winter on this island is settling upon us in the form of a light dusting of snow today.
As mentioned in earlier blogs I enjoy working in video. This is the time of year when many of us are inclined to reflect on the fading year and write a seasonal epistle to our friends and family .
In past years this has taken many forms. Prior to acquiring my first compeer an Amiga 500 in they were hand written and a hundred or so Xerox copies mailed to distant family and friends .
With computer I was able to move up a notch and using the text editor, create a more legible typewritten document for 1993, which was photocopied onto decorated Christmas Papers. Variations on this over the past 20 years included brochure style missives. For 2002 the then new, digital-electronic e-pub format was tried with self -turning pages, but few could fathom how to open it :(O

This year I am embarking on aVlog edition  ( Video-Blog ) . Having drafted an outline of my topics I waited for clear weather and have tried twice down at “Our Beach ” to record the piece . I much prefer to shoot at outdoor locations because they have good natural lighting and attractive backdrops On the first try I had no script prepared and blew it ! At the 2nd attempt 2 days later the wind got up and drowned my voice and blew away my notes.  Now the weather has turned cold -4C, far too cold to sit on a log at the oceanside.
I will need to wait another 10 days for the weather system to move off inland and renew filming efforts or as a last resort, to recording it indoors.

8th Dec

Temperatures climbed to 0 C degrees today so  donned my arctic gear I headed back to our beach location. This time in addition to the camera and tripod, a music stand, to firmly hold my script outline now printed on heavy cover stock which I hoped would not flap in a breeze.

Success ! I have edited the shoot and now need to shoot indoors Dian & I toasting the audience.

I will post a link here :

24th Dec : I have now made a DIY teleprompter :