The Bombing Brain Blog

Using an iPad Teleprompter in the Music Studio

Thanks to modern technology, the writing and recording processes are becoming more intertwined. Several years ago, we needed to work out the details of our songs for several months in a rehearsal space and then try to capture them all during the course of an expensive few days or weeks in the studio. Today, we can write our music in the home studio as we’re recording it. This opens up an entire world of new creative possibilities.

Teleprompt+ in the studio

In my home music studio I use a variety of tools, including Apple’s Logic Pro, virtual instruments like Guitar Rig for guitar sounds, and Toontrack’s Superior 2.0 for drums. I also use a variety of hardware, I/O boxes, electronic drum kits, keyboard controllers, etc. Recently, I’ve begun integrating the iPad into the studio work flow as well.

One way I use the iPad is as a wireless control unit for Logic. No longer do I have to hit “record” and then run across the room to begin a drum track. Instead, I use AC-7 Core to mimic a traditional control console. I can start and stop the recording, change the tempo, and most importantly “undo” my mistakes, all without leaving the drum stool. So I can concentrate on my performance, rather than the engineering process.

Another way the iPad comes in handy during recording is for vocals. Before, my singer would come into the studio with sheets of handwritten notes for lyrical ideas that he had jotted down during the course of the week. Or maybe he’d have some basic lines typed out on his phone. These were fresh ideas, often in rough form, long before he had them memorized. He’d squint at his notes holding the paper or phone in his hands as he tried to work out the melodies he wanted to sing.

Now, with the help of Teleprompt+, he can import those thoughts (either via cut and paste, via his Google Docs account, or even our shared Dropbox folder), set the iPad onto his microphone stand with an accessory such as the iKlip, and comfortably read his lyrics with hands free in large type, advancing the lines at a comfortable pace. He can even make quick edits using Teleprompt+’s script editing tools as new ideas come to him.

Thanks to the recording feature built into Teleprompt+, he can also record preliminary melodies on his own while reading his lyrics. This is extremely helpful for those times when you have a great idea on the road but don’t have a quick way to record it. Just hit the record button on the Teleprompt+ console, and you have it captured for playback. Refine the idea and record it for real in the studio later.

If you have a home studio, or you are a singer who needs to read new lyrical ideas while hammering out your melodies in the studio, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to create great melodies when you don’t have to strain your eyes just to see what you’ve written.

6 Comments

  1. Chris Sobottka
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Could this be used in conjunction with .wav or .mp3 files to have backing tracks to accompany you? This would be the bomb for me!

  2. Joe
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    You could certainly export your recorded audio and then combine it with some background music in post via an application such as Garageband. As far as recording your voice along with a background track simultaneously, Teleprompt+ doesn’t currently support that feature.

    You could start a track from the iPod application, then switch over to Teleprompt+ and start prompting/recording. If you play the audio of the music through your iPad speaker, or out to a set of good studio speakers, you could record the music and your voice simultaneously. The downside to this approach is that the resulting track will be “mixed down” and you won’t have control over the music and voice levels independently.

    Also remember, the iPad’s microphone is not a “studio quality” mic. So the recording feature is more for practice than any sort of final production.

  3. martin
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I use lyrics files and some guitar tabs while playing as a memory aid. Currently using GoDocs to get them off Google Docs account. Can I access these files here and scroll down them like a teleprompter?

  4. Joe
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Nothing stopping you from saving lyrics as plain text or as a standard Google doc and bringing them right into Teleprompt+. That will work just fine.

    Teleprompt+ reads text documents only, though, so your guitar tab files, or lyrics files, if they’re in some special format other than plain text, will likely not work. Particularly with the guitar tabs, even if they are in plain text format, the nature of auto wrapping might make the tabs hard to read in Teleprompt+.

    If you contact our support email at the bottom of this page and send over a few sample files, we’d be happy to test them for you and see how they work.

  5. martin
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    If I want to scroll vertically and automatically, do I need a footswitch or keyboard or can I set that up in the app itself??

  6. Joe
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    The scrolling happens automatically, at a speed you set in the settings. If you want to stop or start it, or speed it up or slow it down, you can do that on the iPad itself. The keyboard/foot pedal are optional.