10 ways to look good on video
We’ve made hundreds of videos and interviewed thousands of people. We often get asked “how do I make sure I look good on video?” . We thought we’d give you some inside tips.
- Stand Up: It sounds so simple, but unless there’s a reason to be sat down, it’s far better to stand. You’ll have more energy on camera, your breathing will be better and we can frame a nice shot on your face as you talk. Very often people who sit, slouch. Slouching leads to a lack of energy plus if you’re sat a table it’s hard not to get the table in shot.
- Don’t wear stripes: Well I say stripes, large stripes are ok. Houndstooth is not. The problem is that it causes aliasing on many cameras. This is where the stripes fool the sensor, almost like one of those mind bending photos where the stairs never end. The result is flicker and lines that can move in the background of your image. It’s better to stick to strong simple colours.
- Wear a blazer: For corporate interviews you will look better on camera, particularly for men, if you wear a blazer. You look more professional and more authoritative.
- Beware of the silhouette: It’s a rookie error, but don’t stand in front of the window. At least not without a light illuminating your face. What looks like a great view will actually mean that you’re in silhouette on camera. Your production company should know this, but you’d be surprised how many corporate videos there are out there that look bad because of this
- Two cameras are better than one: As Bill & Ted famously said “Two heads are better than one” and it’s true on film as well. Two cameras, one using a mid-shot and one a close-up of your face will allow the editor to cut between them, helping to hide awkward moments where you forgot your words or didn’t smile. It also makes your video look more professional.
- Use a lapel microphone: A handheld can make you look like you’re about to sing karaoke and lead to poor sound quality. An onboard microphone isn’t good enough to differentiate between you and the surrounding environment. We recommend using a lapel wireless microphone for audio. Be careful where it’s placed and hide the wire carefully within your blazer (if you’re following tip no 3) so that you can’t see the wire on the video footage. Always check the sound before you start. Ask the camera operator if you’re unsure.
- Don’t look directly at the camera: 90% of the time this will make you look slightly deranged, as though you’re in a horror movie and nobody wants to look like that. Ideally you’ll have an interviewer who’s posing the questions to you. Have them stand slightly to one side of the camera and make sure that their eye-line is level with yours. If they’re tall, they will need to squat down a little (makes for a hilarious photo from the shoot). If they’re too far away from the camera it will look a little odd as well and you’ll just have one side of your face showing on the footage.
- Give 110%: Relax and think to yourself “It’s a happy day!”, smile, engage with your interviewer. That extra 10% will make you look good, but be careful not to over-act.
- Lighting: Ask your production company to advise on the lighting they will use. Normally, for interviews, we like to use an LED panel, which is battery powered and easily transportable, but it depends how much natural light there is where you’re filming. By lighting your face, especially if there is light behind you e.g. from a window, you will look much better on camera. If you find yourself squinting to see the interviewer ask the camera operator to turn the lights down a touch. Nobody likes to see someone squinting on the final video.
- Shorter answers are better: As Winston Chuchill famously said “If I’d had more time I would have written a shorter letter”. Being concise takes preparation but short, simple sentences, usually relating to emotion e.g. ” I was delighted when I was asked…” work the best for video. They’re much easier to edit together. However, very often interviewees get excited by being on camera and talk for minutes when asked a question. I will almost always ask them to give their answer again but in a shorter time.
What tips would you give? Add them to the comments below.
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