Prepare To Be On Camera

If you’re creating a video for your business or non-profit, it will likely involve people - people who are talking in front of a camera. Those people could be your staff, your customers or maybe even you.

Most of those people are nervous. They’ve likely never spoken in front of a camera and this experience may be way out of their comfort zone.

Not to fear – here are some of the best tips I know to make speaking on camera comfortable, before the camera starts rolling.

Prep them on “What Not to Wear”

You don’t need Stacy London’s help for this one. Just make sure to wear something comfortable that also represents the way you want to portray your brand. Typically, you’ll also want to avoid:

  • All black or all white (unless you’re going for a certain look) – typically a bright color works best
  • Intricate patterns (like a hounds tooth), whether on your shirt or tie -  it is distracting to the viewer
  • Noisy jewelry, like bangle or charm bracelets - they make a lot of noise, particularly if you’re someone who talks with their hands
  • Deeply cut necklines (especially if you’re a lady) – when the camera goes in for a close-up, it can often appear as though you are without clothes (something you may not want to represent your brand)

Prep them on "What to Say"

Assuming this is an unscripted, interview-driven video, you don’t want to tell people what to say or have them rehearse lines. But you do want to make sure they get your main points across. Here’s how:

  • Have a skilled interviewer who already knows the main talking points you want to get across, and will guide people to those answers in a natural way during the interview.
  • Talk with the interviewee ahead of time. Tell them why you’ve selected them to be a part of this video and specifically, what you hope they’ll share on camera. Make sure during this conversation that those things you are hoping they’ll say are indeed things they’ll be able to say with ease.
  • Follow up your conversation by sending them a list of the bullet points you discussed to use as a guide and memory jog.
  • Explain to your “on-camera talent” that there will be an interviewer sitting off to one side of the camera, and that they only need to focus on talking to that person, and not the camera, like a typical conversation.
  • Ask your interviewees to please not write out or script their answers. Rather, ask them to speak from the heart, and assure them doing it this way, they can’t go wrong in the interview.

For Scripted Videos

Hopefully your video is interview-driven – in my opinion, the easiest (for interviewees) and most authentic type of video to create. If you do find yourself needing a scripted video, there are a few other things you must know to prepare:

  • Realize with scripted video, you will be speaking directly into a camera lens. This is very different from giving a speech to a live audience, where you’re often moving about the room, making eye contact, and getting audience feedback. Making singularly focused eye contact with a camera lens can be very intimidating to the novice on-camera talent.
  • Practice for this type of video by setting up something like a cell phone (turned off) at eye-height level, and delivering your speech looking directly into the glass of the phone. Make an "x" on the floor and try not to move from that spot.
  • Break up what you want to say into manageable, shorter segments so you don’t need to be on camera for too long at any given time.
  • Try to know the general idea of what you want to say, rather than having a memorized script. You likely won’t have as many stumbles than if you try to give a speech verbatim.

Choose the right people and the right method to get your message across.

Tell them to relax, be authentic and speak from the heart, and you will be on your way to creating a fantastic video for your organization.