Video is a multi-layered medium. It is brilliant at conveying messaging between the lines and can pull at your emotions without
you even being aware. A master craftsman knows how to play to those emotions setting up a scene on-camera. For the rest of us, we want to be careful, not to convey unintentional information.
Here a few on-camera performance tips to keep you on-message and for the most part “unintended-sub-context” free.
- Look into the camera, or just off camera at an interviewer, but do not (ever) shift your eye line between the lens and an off camera person, or cheat sheet or prompter. If there is one advice only, this would be the most important one get right in order to look trustworthy. Eyes on ONE thing, period.
- Have the camera’s lens at eye-level.
- Pay attention to wardrobe: simple does it. Solid colors, not too much contrast: no black shirt on a very fair skinned person or vice versa.
- Make sure hair is well combed and not too ‘wild’ and the skin is not ‘shiny’, or sweaty looking. Powder (translucent HD powder is best), is a must on HD (high definition) video and that goes for the guys as well.
- I have a personal preference for interviewing, or delivering lines while standing. People tend to focus better on their delivery, have better posture and wardrobe looks better too, as there is no bunching from sitting.
- The background should be either neutral or non-distracting, and always content appropriate.
- Have on-camera talent’s personality come through – if you are a hand-talker, talk with your hands. It makes you look natural and more at ease.
- If you’re the interviewer: ask the ‘real’ questions late in the interview.
- In preparation, give your interviewee question topics, or stand-in questions, but not the actual question you will ask in the interview. Rehearsed answers will look and sound rehearsed. You want spontaneity (or, to no use the overused word: you want authenticity).
- When you’re done with your delivery resist the “get me out of here” look, or looking at someone for feedback. Come hell or high water: keep looking at the lens (or where ever you looked) with a smile for a few seconds. We tend to immediately look away, but most times that ruins a good delivery, because we need a few seconds to create a ‘happy ending’ in editing.