Introduction

If this is your first time on camera, don’t freak out! It’s not as scary as you think, and it can actually be a lot of fun. If you’re feeling a bit nervous, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following:

How to look good on camera, including what to wear and how to prepare.

How a green-screen works and what you should avoid wearing.

Tips for reading from a teleprompter.

How to Look Good on Camera

Of course, you want to look good, so by all means wear your favourite outfit. But some clothes don’t work well on camera. Here are a few things to avoid:

  1. Clothes with patterns: Tight repetitive patterns (especially stripes) create a weird effect called moiré. This happens when the the detail on the clothes exceeds the resolution of the camera sensor.
  2. Plain white: Depending on the lighting conditions, plain white clothing can look over-exposed. And besides, people’s eyes naturally favor the brightest object in the frame. Don’t let your bright clothes steal the show.
  3. Anything green: This only applies if you’re being interviewed in front of a green-screen. If anything on your person is green, it will show up as transparent (the video’s background will be visible through your body). Kinda creepy – just watch the video below to see what we mean.
  4. Over-the-top accessories: Anything big, dangly, or shiny will only distract the viewer – and worse, may cause some problematic movement or reflection during shooting.
  5. Sunburn: Don’t spend too much time in the sun before the shoot, unless you want your embarrassing sunburn to be immortalized on video.
  6. Sleep deprivation: Give yourself an opportunity to rest and relax before the shoot, and whatever you do, don’t go out and party. Hangovers look just as bad on camera as they do in person.

In cases where budget restrictions do not allow for a makeup and hair person to be provided, you may want to bring a brush or comb. Our camera operators keep a basic powder kit on hand to reduce any shine caused by the lights, but you women especially may want to bring your own makeup and hair products just in case.

In fact, it’s a good idea to bring extra clothes too – you never know what kind of problem the production crew may run into. It might be the case that the microphone is difficult to clip onto your sweater, or that your seafoam blouse looks exactly like another interviewee’s seafoam blouse. You only get one shot at filming, so it’s good to have a backup plan.

If you think you might get nervous, try to avoid drinking coffee. We know – for some people, that’s not an option. But it’ll just make you jittery and bug-eyed. The whole point is to appear cool and collected.

How does a green screen work?

Green-screen is the process of filming a person or object against a background which can be replaced with something else. Used in everything from movie special effects to your local weather forecast, green-screen makes it easy to add, or ‘composite’ elements together to achieve an effect that would be otherwise impossible to create.

Things to Keep In Mind:

  • Since we’ll be removing all the green information from the shot, don’t wear anything green if possible. Other, solid colours work best.
  • Highly reflective surfaces such as chrome, polished wood and glass tend to pick up some green reflection, so avoid shiny jewelry, highly polished shoes or reflective props.
  • Very fine details can get lost when the final key is pulled. For this reason we ask that you try to minimize frizzy or fine strands of hair, loose clothing, rapid movements and excessive numbers of people or objects in the frame at the same time. As with most things, simpler is better in this case.

Tips for Reading from a Teleprompter

When a person is required to speak directly to the camera, cue cards or other memory aids cannot be used since the smallest shift in eye-line can be quite noticeable, but scripts are often too long to be memorized even by a highly trained actor.

A teleprompter is a simple device that is installed in front of a camera lens to reflect computer-generated text back at the speaker. Because of the type of glass used and the angle at which it is installed, the text reflects and is visible to the talent but does not refract and therefore remains invisible to the camera. This enables the talent to read the script while maintaining a fixed eye-line directly into the lens of the camera.

Reading from a teleprompter can of course still take a bit of practice, but by following a few simple tips you will look as natural as your local news anchor.

Rehearse the Script  Beforehand

You don’t need to completely memorize the script (that would defeat the purpose), but if you are reading the words for the first time while filming it will be obvious.

Remember to rehearse out-loud as well, as your speech will vary in pace from text that is read silently. This is also a good time to check any difficult pronunciations.

Practice with the Teleprompter

On the day of the video shoot, rehearse with the teleprompter operator while the crew finishes with the lighting and audio adjustments to get a better feel for how it works.

Change the Script if You Need To

If you find you are struggling with some wording in the script it may be changed in the computer on the fly so that it reads more naturally. This can happen when a script has not been read aloud beforehand (see tip #1).

However, in some cases a script should not be changed as it may have been diligently reviewed by a legal or marketing team in advance. A good compromise may be to film a take both ways for safety.

It’s You That Sets the Pace

The prompter operator will make adjustments to match your speed of speech, so don’t feel the need to speed up or to slow down in response to the scrolling text.

Be Yourself

…And remember to use regular pauses, inflections and body language.

Up Next: Media Training Presentation

Empower yourself with a few simple media techniques from professional media coach Jaeny Baik that will dramatically improve your performance. Watch the entire archived presentation of the media training webinar here.

Explore the rest of our resources where you’ll find more articles and videos covering everything you’ll come across in working with us.

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