The EyeDirect V. The Interrotron: Travel & Portability

The EyeDirect and the Interrotron can help you pull off similar shots, but each has its own unique features that give more functionality in some areas than others.

So, which unit is best for your production?

In this post, we will discuss how the EyeDirect and the Interrotron stack up against each other in terms of travel and portability.

EyeDirect Rental Toronto

The EyeDirect

Does Not Require an Operator:

The EyeDirect is a simple unit that can be operated by almost anyone. If renting the unit from TeleprompterRental.com, an actual manual can be found in the unit case. A digital pdf copy of the manual and setup video will also be sent to you via email.

You may be wondering, “How does this relate to travel and portability?”. The simplicity of this unit eliminates the need to accommodate one more body on set, and can significantly decrease your overall expenditure if travelling between states or abroad.  Imagine the scenario where you will be shooting for a couple of days in LA, then you fly your crew to Seattle, then to Dallas and back to LA.  Since no operator is necessary, you save on plane tickets between the cities, hotel accommodations, food costs and other travel expenses.

Small in Size:

The EyeDirect can be easily transported between locations. The case weighs approximately 30 lbs. and measures 12 x 18 x 23.  All in all, the small size decreases the shipping and travel expenses involved in transporting the unit.

Let’s look back at our previous scenario.  If you wish to ship the unit between cities, the low weight means you won’t end up spending a small fortune at FedEx or UPS.  Also, the small size obviously means it takes up less space.  It can easily fit in the trunk of a car, or allows you to add more items into a large van or cube truck.

Easy Breakdown and Set-up Between Takes:

If you plan on moving the camera a lot in between takes, the EyeDirect may be a better option in that you can simply lift the tripod (very carefully, of course) and place it elsewhere. The unit is built on a mirror system, so no extra power cords are needed to operate it, meaning you can place it as far away from a power source as you would like, and still use the unit!  It can easily be mounted off the tripod, and takes about 5 minutes to rig back on.

Can Also be Used as an iPad Teleprompter:

Let’s assume your shoot also requires the use of a teleprompter. The EyeDirect eliminates the need of renting more equipment and of hiring an operator because it also functions as an iPad teleprompter!

An iPad mount comes in the Pelican case, and fits most tablets similar in size.  Don’t have an iPad with the correct teleprompter software? You can add an iPad with installed software to your order when renting from TeleprompterRental.com.

Interrotron Rental Toronto

The Interrotron

Operator Required:

The Interrotron is a very large, bulky unit (but with increased functionality – discussed later). Due to its complexity, and the fact that all of our units are custom-built, the Interrotron is very seldom rented out without an operator.  In very special circumstances, such as international shoots, we can train a member of your crew on the specific unit they receive from us.  However, nine times out of ten, one of our professional and experienced operators will accompany the Interrotron unit to your shoot.  Keep in mind, though, that travel costs apply for shoots located outside of our central offices.

Large Size:

Unlike the EyeDirect, the Interrotron travels in two separate Pelican cases. The combined weight can reach up to approximately 90 lbs! Both cases would have to be checked in at an airport (be prepared to pay luggage fees), most likely won’t fit in the trunk of a car, and will take up a considerable amount of space in a van or truck. We strongly advise against shipping the unit via FedEx or any carrier service due to the fragility of the unit.

Longer Break-Down and Set-Up Between Takes:

Let’s say you have your shoot day scheduled down to the minute, and will be using multiple different camera setups throughout the day.  The heavy unit cannot simply be lifted from one place to another.  It will need to be broken down, (it can take about 15 – 20 minutes)  and rebuilt.  (another 15 – 20 minutes).  This means that it could take up to 40 minutes before you’re ready to shoot your next scene!  It is also important to note that the unit does not run on a mirror system, and requires connection to a nearby power source in order to function.

Increased Functionality:

After reading this you’re probably wondering “Why would I want an Interrotron at all?”. This is where the increased functionality of the Interrotron unit comes into play.  The Interrotron has a large monitor, giving you more space to play with distance.  The 19” monitor makes it easy for the talent to see the interviewer/director, and can be placed further away without making the interviewer/director’s face more difficult to see.  Also, would you like to record on two cameras? Our double camera rig allows you to record on more than one camera at the same time!  Incredulous? Check out this previous post in which one of our operators managed to hook up 2 RED Cameras onto one unit!

The Interrotron can also be used as a professional standard teleprompter.

The EyeDirect is small, and depending on the placement of the unit and your talent’s eyesight, it may be difficult to read the text. The talent’s unit can be hooked up to a laptop and scroll text just like any other teleprompter.  It only takes about a minute to switch the Interrotron into “Teleprompter Mode”.

All of our Interrotron technicians are also trained teleprompter operators, so you do not need to hire another operator on set. You also don’t have to be responsible for renting and transporting a separate teleprompter unit!

Multiple feed capability allows you to display almost anything you would like your talent to see.  A multi-port cable can allow you to seamlessly switch between displaying a live feed, a graphic/visual, and text, with just the touch of a button!  The Interrotron combines the function of a monitor, a teleprompter and face-to-face technology, all in one unit!

However, this is a tricky feat and it is best to contact someone at TeleprompterRental.com if you would like to accomplish this task so we can advise on the best way this can be done.

Unlike with the EyeDirect, the director/interviewee is NOT required to be in the same room as the speaker. The Interrotron consists of a director’s unit and a talent unit. The two units are able to communicate with each other, even if the individuals are in different locations! But what if your director/interviewer and your talent/interviewee are across the nation?

Luckily for you, TeleprompterRental.com is a company that operates nationally, and in Canada. Let’s say you’re interviewing a high-profile client in Toronto, but your crew is in LA and you have a series of shoots going on in Culver City the following days? Our SkyTron which is a Skype enabled Interrotron allows you to speak directly to your interviewee without having to fly out to see them – a huge cut in travel expenditure!

Final Thoughts:

So, we’ve weighed the pros and cons. Although the EyeDirect is more practical for travel, the Interrotron’s all-in-one multiple functionality potentially rules out the need for you to rent and transport different pieces of equipment. Still unsure of what is right for you?

We’ll be writing more posts in which we will further compare the EyeDirect and the Interrotron. You can also get in touch with us at [email protected] or by phone at 1-800-811-7805, and we’ll be happy to assist you!

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