How To Appear Natural On Camera
Appearing on video can be pretty daunting. There’s the anticipation beforehand, the uncomfortable feeling of having everyone’s eyes on you while the camera is rolling, and then the dread of knowing that other people who you don’t know are going to see it and potentially judge you.
Am I making your palms sweaty? If so, these tips should help you feel more confident on camera.
1. Don’t Panic
One of the most uncomfortable things about appearing on camera is dealing with your own self confidence. Appearing on camera is very unnatural for most of us – even for those of us here at Southpoint Films who are around cameras all day every day. (Although most often behind it!)
Unless your general demeanour is that of a frightened-looking person, your best bet is to try and silence that voice in your head that’s making you worry.
Also, when working with our team, we’ll usually point out any issues that’ll stop you from coming across well. If your hair is sticking out or your shirt buttons are undone we’ll tell you, and we’ll also tell you if you’re not delivering the right answers to their questions or fluffing up your lines.
We want you to come across well because it’s in the best interest of the production as a whole that you do. You can relax a bit!
2. Prepare in advance
Do you know what makes most people look really uncomfortable? Doing something they haven’t prepared for. Treat your appearance on camera like an exam at school and make sure you do your homework.
Whether it’s a pre-written speech or you’re simply talking off-the-cuff, it’s not a bad idea to get some practise in before your filming date. If you’re being interviewed, see if you can request a copy of the questions in advance. Knowing your subject matter is essential for staying cool and calm while being filmed.
If you have a lot to remember, the more you practice the better your delivery will be. Reading from a script because you haven’t rehearsed is guaranteed to look bad.
The moment you start reading your demeanour will change, and you’ll sound like a robot. Instead of injecting emotion and energy into what you’re saying, you’ll simply be reading words out loud. It will sound dreadful.
3. Give yourself enough time
Another big stress factor is not having enough time to do things at your own pace. A typical corporate video interview takes anywhere between fifteen and forty-five minutes to complete, not including the time it takes to set up the cameras, lights and microphones. If you’re doing something more complex, or you have more questions to answer, it might take longer. Or it might take no time at all.
However, the last thing thing you want is to find yourself pulled out of “the zone” by distractions from the outside world. Whether it’s a physical interruption from somebody who needs your urgent attention or simply the nagging knowledge that you have somewhere else to be, you can’t be in two places at once.
If your mind isn’t in the right place then you’re more likely to appear disengaged, stressed or distracted.
4. Be prepared to make mistakes (and repeat yourself)
Although I’ve suggested that you rehearse what you want to say, the reality is that you’ll forget lines, mispronounce words, or perhaps you’ll cough or sneeze halfway through a take. Don’t worry, it’s all normal. Everyone’s seen those late night TV blooper programmes where celebrities fluff their lines – often repeatedly. Even the best do it.
Don’t let little mistakes knock your confidence. It’s very rare for anybody to get it right first time.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re being filmed by somebody else and you are asked to do it again, it’s not always because you’ve made a mistake. There could be technical reasons, such as audio interference like a plane flying overhead or an emergency vehicle going by, or they might have changed the frame slightly.
So those were a few tips on how to appear natural on camera. I hope you find them useful and that your next filming experience is a little bit more comfortable!
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