With the growth of video-driven marketing comes an increasing number of companies taking video into their own hands, and leading with their chins, literally.
The “talking head” video is a staple in the corporate marketing world. When you need to deliver your message or position your company as a thought leader, it’s common to position your executives as one. This often positions you or your executives under the lights and in front of the lens.
On-camera professionals are paid to make it look easy, and they do, which then makes it harder for the rest of us. Here are a few tips when contemplating putting you and yours on-camera.
Cue cards are bad
Video is an intimate medium, and the close-up is always more powerful. Chances are the viewer is going to get a good look at your face, and your eyes. Cue cards cause your eyes to drift further and further away from the camera, and almost never work – so don’t plan on using them. Prepare with a combination of memorization, practice, pre-interviews and perhaps the use of a teleprompter.
Teleprompters aren’t as easy as they look
With a teleprompter, you can just read the words as they are displayed right in front of the lens! Easy, right? Well, yes and no. Delivering a smooth performance with a teleprompter takes some getting used to, so don’t expect the ‘prompter to be an easy solution. You should still do your homework with the script in advance, and allow for extra time during the shoot to get comfortable with the teleprompter.
It’s not natural to act natural on camera
Just because the CMO presents great PowerPoint, and your CEO is great in front of his Board of Directors, doesn’t mean this charisma is going to translate in front of the camera. In front of a live audience, pauses can appear thoughtful, struggling to find the right word can be viewed as passion or natural enthusiasm, and wandering eyes becomes an effort to make eye contact. In the lens and under the lights, these traits can be perceived as confusion, indecision and a bad case of the nerves. Winging it is for the birds. Someone needs to summon the gumption to tell the boss he needs to practice and prepare. Good luck with that.
Pre-interview the interview
If you are on-camera in an interview or Q&A format, arrange for a pre-interview with the video producer or director. The questions and answers can be discussed and practiced in advance, so you don’t go into the on-camera shoot “cold”, and the director/interviewer knows what answers to expect.
What not to wear
Green. You never know when a director might say “Hey, let’s use green screen for this…”
White. A white shirt under a dark jacket is fine, but a solid white shirt is not a good look on-camera. It limits the visual contrast and could wash out your skin tone. Plus, you never know when a director might say “Hey, let’s use a white background for this…”
Tight, busy patterns. Your shirt could end up looking more jittery than you do.
Putting yourself or your executives on-camera is a great idea if it works and a bad idea if it doesn’t. Guarantee it will work by preparing, practicing and working with professionals. We can help make it look easy.