Look and Sound Better on Camera March 07, 2017 09:00
By Michael Moreno
It’s never the most comfortable situation to be speaking in front of people. Anything could happen and your nerves can get the best of you. It’s even more strange to be speaking to a camera, where there is literally NO feedback. There are ways to overcome this awkwardness and build a space for yourself to create much better videos that will be more conversational and much more engaging for your audience (and more fun for you)!
I’ve outlined a few tips below gathered from experience on stage and on camera as an actor in New York City. The important thing to remember is that EVERY performer gets nervous. EVERY ONE. Meryl Streep, John Hamm, and the President. With practice, and these tips, you can learn how to move beyond that and excitedly engage with your passion and share it with your loving audience.
Know your topic and practice what you have to say at least once through. This will give you a chance to know where you can look up and connect to your audience on an important point. Just like when you tell any story there is a beginning, middle, and end. If you know where the important points are you can make sure you connect with your audience in those moments so that they will really hear your most valuable information.
Eye contact is one of the most intimate connections we make in our everyday life and the more you can connect directly with your viewing audience the more engaged they will be with your videos. It feels personal and like you're embracing them.
Warm up your voice. It’s important to remember that even though you may have a mic, it can’t do everything for you. Take just a few minutes to blow through your lips, lightly massage your jaw muscles, hum while moving your tongue around the inside of your lips in a big circle, hum in a low tone and gradually move up the scale to a high tone, and finally do a couple of tongue twisters to get your whole mouth working. These tips will help your articulation and make your voice more resonant (or louder without having to push).
It’s also important to know where your mic will be. You only need to talk loud enough for the mic to pick you up, but you do have to talk loud enough. The common phrase on a film set is talk to the mic, not the actor. In other words make sure even your softer moments are loud enough to be heard by your mic whether it’s three inches or three feet away. You have total control of this set-up so you can create the best space for you and your style.
Sometimes we have the luxury of editing and that lets us make mistakes and do another take, but with the power of LIVE streaming video we don’t get to edit out the mistakes, so EMBRACE them! Don’t aim to be perfect; there’s no such thing. Your audience is there because they want to see you. They listen to your ideas expressed through your personality. Be confident in who you are and that we are all here to listen to you because we like you and love what you have to say. Know that there is support on the the other side of that lens, not judgment. This is you getting to do what you love. Commit to coming in with confidence and any mistake then becomes a real moment and a chance to engage with your audience (Oops! Well, we’re all human./This is what happens when you’re a busy parent./I’ll send you the update or link to the correct info in the comments. Thanks for understanding!)
It’s not natural to talk to a lens like it’s another person. There are a few tricks you can use to let yourself appear more personable on camera, though.
- Relax. Take a moment before you start your video to take a few deep breaths, clear your mind, feel your shoulders relax, and tell yourself how happy this passion of yours makes you. Coming from a place of relaxed positivity will boost your energy naturally and will ABSOLUTELY come across on screen.
- Imagine you are talking to your best friend! You have that friend or significant other that you can share anything with and be your most honest self. This is who is listening to you when you’re talking to the camera. They get all of your jokes, they love your smile and they are there listening close and smiling back at you the whole time.
- Place the camera at or slightly above your eye level. This adjustment will help you keep your eyes as open as possible and is a much more flattering angle than shooting from below. NEVER shoot from below.
- Keep Breathing. Let a little voice stay with you that reminds you to relax and breathe while you give your talk. This will get better and better with practice, but the more you maintain your relaxation, the more confident you will be and the more engaged your audience will be too!
It’s always important to set yourself up for success, and the best way to do that is to NOT STRESS. No one is going to die if you make a mistake, miss a point, have some technical problems, or get nervous. This is your passion and it’s a beautiful thing that we live in a world where you can freely share that passion with others. Love what you do and share from a place of love.