Are You Ready for YOUR Closeup?
On-Camera Interview Tips from Berlin
Being on camera for broadcast or online video isn’t just about being comfortable with your subject matter, so that you come across as an expert.
A good production crew, including a pre-production planner, will make you feel at ease in front of the camera. However, before you even show up at the shoot, you should know a few things that will help make you more comfortable — and make the final edited video all that it should be.
If you’re scheduled to appear on camera, here are some tips based on Berlin’s experience in planning and producing a video shoot:
1. Go Neutral and Muted
The best colors to wear on camera are mid-range: navy blue, black or gray, for example. Lighter colors can distract viewers’ eyes and make them focus on your shirt instead of your face.Solid pastels are fine, too, as long as they are not in the green family and are flattering to your skin.If you’re still unsure when choosing an outfit, play it safe by bringing a couple of options.
2. Where's Waldo?
Hopefully, he’s off camera! Do not wear stripes. Very subtle texture is okay; however, stripes— even on something as small as a necktie — can cause vibration/patterns.
3. Not the Time to Go Incognito
Never wear hats or sunglasses on camera.Eye contact is key. Even if not speaking to an audience directly, much of a speaker’s authenticity comes from allowing viewers to see his or her face. Hats and sunglasses hinder that.
4. Makeup: Not Just for Women
Berlin recommends that women appearing on camera bring cover-up and foundation that is close to their skin color, as well as some powder to reduce redness and shine.Typically, for men, we worry only about shine. Of course, to make life easier for on-camera interviewees, we always have some extra powder to take care of that shiny nose or forehead.
5. Show Company Spirit (in Careful Amounts)
Wearing company attire to reinforce branding can be a good idea, provided you don’t go over the top with it. A polo shirt with a company logo is usually a safe choice usually, but it’s a good idea to check with the director. The last thing you want is for everyone on camera to wear the same outfit! When producing a video, we like to ensure that all of the interviewees are easily distinguishable.
6. Some Practice Makes Perfect
We always offer a short prep before your shoot to make sure you're comfortable and familiar with the questions. It’s good to arrive at the shoot with some thoughts about what you might like to say, but we generally recommend against heavy rehearsal or memorization.The best on-camera results come from you being yourself and speaking naturally — unless the project calls for a specific script that you must follow, in which case, yes, definitely rehearse!
7. Customizing the Surroundings
When Berlin is on location for a shoot, whether it’s at your office or elsewhere, we likely will need to reduce (or eliminate, to the extent possible) background noise. In addition, we may need to make minor adjustments to backgrounds; wedon't want office chatter or the shirtless fireman poster to distract viewers from your interview! Also, be aware that wemight even need to move some furniture or otherwise modify the shooting environment.
8. It's Not Easy Being Green (or Blue)
Sometimes, when Berlin shoots video interviews, a green backdrop, or, less commonly, a blue backdrop is used. This allows a different background to be “inserted” behind the interviewee during post-production. This process is called chroma-keying. Before your interview, ask whether you will be chroma-keyed, in which case, you should not wear any shades of green (or, as the case may be, blue) … and this includes eye makeup!