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How to Be Your Best on Camera

Chapter 6
How to Be Your Best on Camera

Being on camera, especially if you’re new to it, can be nerve-wracking. Even as someone who loves having her photo taken, when it came to getting used to being on video, it took me quite some time to get comfortable and, honestly, I am still working on my performance.

Many marketers can say the same, even seasoned video personalities on our team. That being said, in this chapter, I’ll be sharing some simple but effective tips to help you and members of your team give their best performance on camera.

Pick a time of day you are most energized to film

If you want to be the best you on camera, you’ll want to think about a time of day that you’re most happy and energized. This natural high will help with your on-camera performance.

Be aware of your surroundings

Whether produced or 1:1, be aware of what is going on around you and what may be distracting to you or the person watching the finished product.

In an office or work-from-home setting, limit distractions around you, such as people talking or moving around, or things that may look untidy.

Get to the point and be concise in your message delivery. You want to make sure that you’re delivering a message that isn’t full of fluff. People appreciate when you can get straight to the point.

Be aware of your appearance and what you’re wearing

There is nothing more distracting than a tie that isn’t laying the right way, or something on your shirt.

You don’t want to look back after all your footage is shot and feel like you have to do it again when you could have been aware of it beforehand. So before you hit record, take a look in the mirror to make sure you’re making the best first impression.

In terms of wardrobe, remember:

  • Don’t wear stripes. The sensor in the camera has a hard time processing stripes and fine patterns.
  • Don’t wear loud and distracting jewelry. If you’re wearing a necklace, a ton of bracelets, or a big watch, you run the risk of hitting your mic or adding unnecessary noise to your audio. Shiny jewelry can also distract or cause lighting issues.

No matter what you wear, make sure it’s something you feel confident and comfortable in.

Have ample lighting

Make sure you are always filming in an area of your office or house that has great natural lighting (such as a window) or that you have a sufficient lighting set up (see Chapter 1) to ensure your face is well-lit.

Ensure good sound quality

Poor audio in a video can be extremely distracting, so try to film in a quiet space or use headphones with a mic or a dedicated external mic. If you’re recording through your computer, you can also install a tool called Krisp that will block out background noise. 

Look into the camera

For produced or 1:1 video, you want your viewer to feel like you’re speaking and talking to them personally, so look straight into the camera. If you have another computer screen, don’t look between that and your camera.

Start with a smile

You want your videos to be warm and welcoming, and nothing helps establish this energy more than a genuine smile. Starting your video with a smile will help set the right tone for your video and also make it easier to hold your smile through to the end.

Use bullet points instead of a fully written out script

If you are looking to prepare your message rather than make a full script, make an outline with just key bullet points. This will help you remember your most important points, but avoid sounding unnatural by reading directly.

Mark where you’re standing

If you’re standing in your video, mark your spot on the ground with tape. This way, if you leave in the middle of shooting and come back, your shot stays consistent.

Don’t be afraid to use your hands

Use open body language when communicating your message. If you’re crossing your arms or not using your hands, you’ll appear stiff and less trustworthy.

Save saying your name and title until the end of your shoot

The biggest thing we see people get caught up on is saying their name and job title at the beginning of the shoot. Making this the last to-do on our list helps subjects to not get frustrated out of the gate.

Enforce a no-stop rule

If you give yourself the option to stop in the middle of a take, you’ll continue to do it. If you tell yourself you can’t stop, it will allow you to get through your video without having to do takes over and over again.

The more you stop, the more you begin to lose confidence and become frustrated. So tell yourself there are no stops allowed in between takes, and roll with it!

Practice makes perfect

Don’t be so hard on yourself when you get started. No one likes how they sound or how they look on camera at first.

Just know that as time goes on, you’ll get better. Don’t let your misgivings hold you back from doing video. You become what you think about. If you start out thinking, “I don’t want to do this,” it will be noticeable in the way that you talk and appear.

How can a videographer help people feel more comfortable on camera? More on that here.

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