6 tips to help you present well on video

Being filmed on camera can be a daunting experience. These tips will help you through it.

The trend for video production puts pressure on everyday people who have never been filmed, to step in front of the camera and be professional, authentic, and concise.

Regardless of whether it is a learning video or marketing video, here’s some quick tips to help you feel more confident when it comes to the day…

  • Prepare! I’m always amazed at how many people will rock up to a film shoot and have  ignored the brief to prepare exactly what it is they want to say. Video is an investment of time/money. Work out what you want to say and then carve it down to bullet points. If you’re not prepared, you’re more likely to feel like you’re winging it – feeling less confident and potentially missing important points. BUT…
  • Ignore the bullet points! You’re an expert – that’s probably why you’ve been chosen as camera fodder. You already know your stuff, but people often feel like they need a prop in the form of a script or bullet points. The bullets are handy as a guide that you can refer to in the shoot – but keep them out of sight and ask one of the crew to feed them to you, or look at them between takes. Never have them in front of you as you will start to look at them and affect how you’re coming across.
  • Similar as above – but don’t use a script or auto cue. People often turn up to a shoot and ask for an auto cue or stick a script to the tripod. This will make you look wooden and (if I’m honest) a little bit stoned as you try to glance down to the script as you’re reading during your presentation. Also, it takes time and practice to use an auto-cue effectively. If you can write natural scripts, and can take the time to learn to read from a cue effectively – then it’s worth doing if you’re creating a lot of video content.
  • Dress confidently. This is probably very obvious – but if you’re dressed in a way that makes you feel good, it will have a positive impact on your presentation or interview. Be careful about ultra-fine detailing on clothes – depending on the camera it can make things go a little bit psychedelic!
  • Smile! The phrase “Lights! Camera! Action!” is a bit different for your video. It’s “Lights! Camera! Smile! Intent! Action!”. No matter how scary you think the experience is, remember that putting a smile and some energy into your opening introductory sentence will really set you up for the rest of the video. Look the interviewer/camera directly in the eye/lens – smile, sit/stand confidently, and then speak with intent. It really does make a huge difference .
  • To camera or off camera? This will be the subject of an upcoming blog post dedicated to the which approach to take. Talking off-camera to an interviewer is far easier that talking directly to camera. I have worked with people who can get up in front of hundreds of people and deliver an engaging presentation, but struggle to get their names out when talking directly to camera. On the flip side I’ve worked with people who are quite shy, but presented to camera in one take! Think about the style that suits you, and if you’re not comfortable let the producer know.  If it has to be to camera, a good filmmaker will know the ‘secret angle’ where you are talking off camera but the angle is so subtle it’s also as it you’re talking to camera.

Being on camera can be scary – especially if you’ve never done it before, but it should also be a fun experience too!  Whilst it’s a bit of a cliche, just be yourself, take your time, and above all turn up prepared!


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