In a previous article Avoid these Common Eye Contact Pit-falls, in some ways the camera lens can be likened to a cold staring eye that observes you with an intense robotic stare.
However, you also need to remember that your viewing audience sees you through that eye – so what it stands for and what it captures is very important when it comes to setting the scene for your web videos.
Presenting on Video
Requires a completely different skill set from stage presenting. This is a fact few people are aware of. Being able to speak to a live audience does not necessarily mean you will come across well on-screen.
When members of an audience are watching a presenter on stage, they have choices about where to look. They can look at the speaker, the stage, the PowerPoint presentation, other audience members, or more often their cell phones and laptops. The level of scrutiny an audience has towards the stage presenter is greatly reduced due to the distance the audience is from the speaker.
When presenting to camera it’s more like having your viewer standing 4 feet away from you – but in reality you are actually under a microscope! The camera picks up on every nuance: facial tics, tension, nervousness, bug-eyes, excessive blinking, whether you appear to be reading an autocue, and whether your smile is a real smile or a fake smile – just to name a few.
Stand in Your Viewer’s Shoes
Your viewer has nothing else to look at except what you have framed in your camera shot. Everything within the frame takes on a greater significance. One advantage is that you now control your audience’s gaze – you are telling them where to look, and what to pay attention to. This is exactly what film directors do, they control all the visual elements on camera to influence and shape the audience’s attention, experience and emotion.
The video camera sees things differently than the human eye. This means what looks good to the human eye may look completely different on camera – and vice versa. I’ll cover the below points in more detail in future articles – but for now remember:
- The 3 dimensional world is flattened into 2 dimensions
- Some colors appear different, as well as how they contrast with other colors and skin tones
- Clothing colors and styles, plus accessories – their patterns, color and shape can all be impacted
- Make-up applied using the wrong base tones can look bad on camera
- Some types of light can give you a green, golden or red hue
- Improper lighting can deepen facial contours and lines, making you appear older than you actually are
- Tight patterns or pin stripes on clothing take on a life of their own – and become highly distracting on-screen
- A person can appear larger or smaller on camera than they actually are. (When you see people in real life, you can contrast them with the environment, but on video you only see what’s inside the frame) knowing your best photogenic angle can help here
- The use of different angles and frames can greatly manipulate the viewer’s perceptions and emotions – altering their viewing experience
Before filming, always check how you appear on camera, by capturing a quick test video and watching it through an actual TV or computer monitor – not just through your camera viewfinder.
If you are new to appearing or presenting on video, let me know what you found most helpful with this article and how you will implement it in your next video? Post in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article please share it.
Always listening and cheering you on with your online video presentations!