How To Prepare To Be On Camera

We love working with local businesses to bring their video production ideas to life. Nine times out of ten the people we work with have never been part of a professional video production before, let alone be filmed for their own business website video or social media content.

Needless to say, being on camera is usually the part of the process that causes our amazing clients the most anxiety and stress.

There’s no need to worry though, with PipeWolf Media you’re in safe hands. We completely understand the million and one reasons why stepping in front of the camera can be overwhelming.

Whether you’re preparing to be interviewed on camera, deliver a scripted message, speak straight from the heart or give an on-camera demonstration these easy-to-follow tips and tricks will help you feel like a rockstar in front of the camera.

Practice Makes Perfect

Script or no script, you want to be very clear in your mind what key messages you’re trying to convey while you’re speaking to the camera. After all, this video will be representing your business and brand – we want to make sure it’s hitting all your marketing bullseyes.

If you’re planning to read from a script during the filming, practice reading that script out-loud over and over until it sounds natural – like you’re speaking off the top of your head.

If the script doesn’t sound like you then change it. Some words and phrases that might pop on paper can sound stilted when spoken aloud. Don’t worry if you need to tweak things so they flow with your natural speaking rhythms.

Your aim isn’t to memorise your script but to familiarise yourself with the key points until you feel comfortable with what words and phrases need particular emphasis and inflection. It will be obvious if you’re reading the words for the first time in the video. It will also be obvious if you’re trying to recite a script line by line from memory.

You want to feel relaxed with the script so when you’re talking in the video it feels like you’re sharing your key points off the cuff. This will allow you to even ad-lib a little during filming which will make you sound and feel less scripted in the final video.

Reading aloud will also help you pace the script and give you time to master any difficult pronunciations.

Practicing in front of the mirror or in front of family and friends can also be great, but we especially recommend you film yourself on your phone and listen to how your script or interview responses sound – this is really helpful for understanding how your energy is coming across on camera.

We know, we know – no one likes seeing themselves on camera – but watching yourself back will be the most valuable education. The more you practice the more you’ll look and feel comfortable in front of the camera. We can always pick the people who regularly film Instagram stories or Facebook live videos – like most things practice makes perfect and people who regularly film themselves on social media are much more confident and engaging when they are filmed for their professional videos.

Sit Up Straight

Feel like you’re back at school? There’s no slouching allowed once the cameras are rolling because everything is exaggerated when you’re on screen – if you’re sitting you want to sit up straight on the edge of your chair. Don’t allow your back to touch the back of the chair. If you’re on a couch don’t sink back into it, sit up perched on the edge. It might not feel like the most relaxing way to sit but sitting up straight will help you look interested, engaged and give you energy when you’re talking.

If you get too comfortable and start slouching, you can look frumpy and disengaged…and no one wants a frumpy, disengaged video.

Talk With Your Hands

True story, nearly every time we film someone, they’ll comment on how they need to stop moving their hands. Actually, the opposite is true – you need to move your hands more. Hand gestures are a powerful communication tool. They bring energy, convey passion and engage the viewer.

Our tip when it comes to talking with your hands is to keep your elbows bend around your mid-section. This way your hands will be between your waist and shoulders – in the shot but not taking over the show.

Smile – The Camera Loves You

Another great benefit you’ll receive when you film yourself practicing before your video shoot is that you’ll realise you don’t smile nearly as much as you think you do.

Smiling will let your audience know that you’re excited and enjoy talking with them. Smile before you start talking and at the end. It sounds simple but it’s actually one of the most difficult things for people to remember once the cameras are rolling.

Video loves a natural, warm, genuine smile – but it’s tough to keep that smile going once you start talking. So while you’re talking try to speak through a smile. This will help you to keep smiling with your eyes – keep your gaze warm, relaxed and natural when looking at the camera.

When you’ve finished saying what you have to say hold your smile and look directly into the camera – the best way to end any video is with a smile.

Eye Contact

One of the best pieces of advice we have come across about how to maintain eye contact while being on camera is to look at the cameras as you would your dog (or cat if you’re team feline). This will help you to keep your eyes smiling and focused.

Don’t be afraid of the camera lens, it’s not nearly as scary as it looks. Look at the lens like you would look into the eyes of a pet you love. Maintain eye contact, avoid glancing off set or allowing your eyes to dart around.

Blink naturally, hold a warm gaze and engage with your audience.

Maintain A High Energy

When you’re practicing what you’re going to say on camera you’ll not only realise that you don’t smile as much as you thought you did, you’ll also realise your energy isn’t coming through as much as you thought it would be.

There’s some sort of strange Bermuda Triangle that energy seems to get lost in once the cameras are rolling.

As Diana Goodwin says, “Make sure to be very high energy and speak with a lot of intonation, more than you would do in a normal conversation. You may think you are overdoing it, but on camera, it does not look that way at all. If in doubt, use your phone to film yourself first, and when you play it back, you will see that your high energy works well on film.”

You may feel silly during filming, but you’ll look like a pro on camera.

Often you’ll need to overdo it. Imagine you’re presenting your script to kids, overemphasise, enunciate, be one notch more animated that you normally would be.

It’s actually the best rule of thumb really, if you don’t feel a bit silly and unnatural, your energy may not be high enough. We’re not suggesting you be fake either, rather let your passion shine through and step into the natural enthusiasm you have for your topic – and let that take over even if you feel a little silly in the process.

Be Healthy and Well Rested

It’s hard to bring a lot of energy if you’re sick, jet lagged or sleep deprived.

Before your filming make sure you’re feeling good. Be well rested, drink plenty of water, have a good breakfast but don’t eat just before you get on camera as digesting food can make you feel sluggish.

Remember, It’s Not About You

This is a bit of a strange point really seeing as you’re the one who is going to be on camera. But when you think about it, the video you’re making isn’t really about you, it’s about your message. You’re sharing information with your audience.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about smiling at the lens as if it’s a dog you love and delivering your script with an energy level that would rival the Wiggles remember people won’t know how far out of your comfort zone you’re feeling – they’re tuning in to hear what you have to say.

Ready, Set, Action!

You’re all set to take your video production to the next level!

You’re not going to get everything right the first time you step in front of the camera, but that’s ok. The good news is that when you’re working with a professional videographer like PipeWolf Media you have someone with you every step of the way to help coach and guide you. We promise we’ll have you feeling relaxed and having fun in no time at all. And if you mess up it really doesn’t matter – we’ll just give it another crack.

If you have any other questions you’d like answered before your filming like what to wear or tips on reading from a teleprompter check out our other blogs or give us a call – we’re always happy to chat.