Got an upcoming on-camera appearance and a bit of a novice? No fear, while it may seem daunting, feeling like a natural on camera really isn’t as hard as many people think. We work with tons of ‘real people’ (non actors) across our video productions, on everything from video testimonials to company culture videos, explainer videos and beyond, so we know a thing or two about helping people feel at ease during their first on-camera debut.
We share some tips and tricks on how to act natural on camera, and nail that first on-camera appearance…
Practice makes perfect
As cliche as it is, there’s no shortcut here unfortunately. Typically you’ll be provided with a script or series of questions you’ll be asked on camera or directions you’ll need to perform in advance – and if not, ask for it. Once you have it, read it, practice it, familiarise yourself with it to the point where you could rehearse it in your sleep. Practice your delivery either in the mirror or even better, with record yourself speaking. When you watch it back, take notice of any awkward mannerisms or movements, and the speed of which you speak. Our absolute number one tip is preparation and practice is key, that way, you won’t feel as intimidated or underprepared when the direction calls action.
When speaking on camera, relax into your natural voice. Don’t try to force a professional speaking voice that’s going to translate as unnatural. It never works and comes across as artificial and stilted. If you’re working with a quality video production company, they’ll help you relax into it, and will take as many takes (as it takes) to get it right. One thing that helps is to pretend the person who you’re speaking to on the other side of the camera is someone you know personally, and speaking to them like a friend. By imagining you’re speaking to a friend, you’ll be able to relax and give a more authentic delivery.
Focus on eye contact and remember to smile
When we’re nervous, we tend to look off to the side or towards the roof, basically anywhere but right down the barrel of the lens. Depending on the style of video interview, it may not be as critical to maintain eye contact, as in with more casual interviews or testimonials – other times you may be reading a teleprompter or addressing the camera directly. In those cases, train yourself to look at the lens and focus your attention there – this will help create the sensation of eye contact for your viewers.
Further, while it’s important to act natural, if you’re naturally more reserved and less bubbly, it’s important you find a little self expression rather than blank-faced. If you’re feeling nervous, remember to smile. Not only will this translate well on camera and make for a more engaging on-camera appearance, but it’ll also trick your brain into thinking you’re not nearly as nervous as you really are. It’s true – give it a try!
Dress for success
Finally, try a few different outfits on at home to see what colour suits you and what will look the most flattering on camera. Remember to avoid wearing stripes (film cameras do not like them) or any large visible logos or slogans (unless of course it’s the logo of your own business – in which case, wear away!).
A final word
Basically, if you’re prepared, well practiced, and dressed for the part, you’ll be just fine. Just remember to breathe, and smile. You just might surprise yourself with how much you like it!