“For this video project, we want you on camera.”
Do the words above inspire excitement? Fear? Fond memories of that long-forgotten dream to become a Hollywood actor?
More often than you think (and sometimes more often than you wish), your communications director or head of HR—or even a marketing manager—will come knocking with a new creative project that puts you at the center. You might be included in a video so you can announce a company milestone, welcome a new employee, or even speak to your company’s successes for investors.
But whatever the goal, one thing is certain: being on camera can be hard.
It’s why so many actors have made a career out of doing it for the rest of us.
But we’re here to share a little-known secret. With a few well-applied tips, you can look and sound like a pro on set—and you can even have lots of fun. Read on to find out our top tips for preparing to be filmed.
Tip #1: Don’t memorize
There’s a reason we choose an interview-style video for most video subjects who aren’t actors: natural is always best!
It’s tempting to try and memorize all of your key talking points and most carefully-crafted phrases before cameras begin rolling. I’ll be better prepared, you might think, and I’ll sound more professional. We’ve found that’s not the case.
No matter how great your recall, canned answers don’t sound as good as your natural conversational tone.
No matter how great your recall, canned answers don’t sound as good as your natural conversational tone. So go ahead and read over the list of interview questions we send you. Think a little bit about how you might answer. But when you get to set, instead of trying to read off a script in your head, try taking a more spontaneous approach. The final video will be better for it.
Tip #2: Dress to impress
Professional photography rules apply here. We want you to be confident, but we also don’t want your clothing to speak louder than you.
First of all, wear something that represents your brand well. Whether your company culture projects strength, formality, kindness, or passion, you can reflect that in the clothing style you choose for a shoot. Additionally, wear something you love wearing. Your on-set outfit should be something you feel at home in—something powerful yet comfortable.
Your on-set outfit should be something you feel at home in—something powerful yet comfortable.
Lastly, try to avoid busy patterns or very ostentatious color combinations. And be especially mindful of very loud jewelry. Don’t go for something that’s more sparkle than substance.
Tip #3: Fix your gaze
Remember how we said natural is always best? That includes where your eyes are fixed when you’re being filmed.
Unless your project director requested a very specific type of video where you look straight at the camera, it’s always best to address your interviewer, who’ll be positioned to one side of the camera.
We know, we know—our professional camera equipment can be shiny and eye-catching. But avoid the temptation to look straight at your audience. When you have a conversation with the interviewer, things always come across as more relaxed and relatable.
Tip #4: Parrot like a pro
This last one is big, and it takes some practice to master. (But don’t worry: we’ve set aside this filming time just for you. You can take all the time you need!)
When your interviewer asks you a question, incorporate the wording of their question into your answer. Like this:
Why is this new development so important for the city’s economy?
This new development is really important for our city’s economy, because…
This technique feels odd at first, but it’s an essential part of the interview process. It gives you an extra moment to gather your thoughts and provide a confident answer.
Most importantly, it provides the video editor with plenty of contextualized sound bites to choose from. The audience of your final video won’t hear the interviewer ask the questions—so your words are essential for viewers to find out what you’re communicating.
Being on camera doesn’t have to be frightening.
In fact, it can be a blast. Follow the tips above for extra on-set oomph, and remember: if you ever have a question or concern, just ask your video agency point of contact!