If you've been asked to appear on-camera for your company's corporate, training, or sales & marketing video, there's no need to panic. Being recorded on video tape doesn't have to be a headache, it can be fun, exciting and rewarding. This page has ten tips and some suggestions for CEOs and other business/industrial spokespersons. These tips and suggestions are provided so that you can be the best you can be on television.
Before the director shouts, "action," there are several things you should know. Actually, let's start with the word "action." It's part of a three command series that starts with "Roll tape" which means that the camera person starts recording. The next word is "Speed" which signifies that five seconds has passed and the video recording device is recording. Four to five seconds are needed prior to the scene footage for editing machines to get up to proper speed. "Action" comes last to signify when the scene begins, but many video production people don't even use the word.
Some video directors prefer to say "We're rolling" which means the machine is recording. Then there is a five second countdown, "Five, four, three. . ." The "two" and the "one" are silent. After the count of "one" the director will point at the talent to let them know they can begin speaking. The silent commands make it easier to edit, soundwise, if the talent jumps the gun and begins too quickly.
Before the video taping session there are a few things you should know. Here's some information about the recording session:
A casual atmosphere.
Video production people dress far more casually than "normal" business people. Even the director may be wearing jeans. Production people know that they each may have to carry equipment, get down on the floor to tape down cables, or scale a ladder to place equipment or get a particular shot. Their dress is part of their casual uniform. Also, don't be alarmed even though they exhibit a casual manner. They mean business. Each member of the crew knows their job as well as most other jobs on the shoot. The camera person you see on your production may actually be a director on other presentations.
Allow time for the director to get your best efforts down on tape. If you only schedule thirty minutes for recording a five minute scene, you may only get one or two takes from which the final footage will be chosen. Industrial/business video directors know that your time is valuable and they'll generally take what they can get out of your busy schedule. Clear your calendar as much as you can, the more time you allow for the presentation, however, the better you may come across on-camera. Set aside an hour or two for a good quality recording session. Allowing plenty of time for a shoot reduces tension and helps everyone do their job.
If you're being interviewed for your own production, you probably won't be given the questions first. This produces a more normal and unrehearsed response on-camera. It also saves you from having to memorize lines. Too much preparation can result in a stilted interview. A good director will let you know the general field of questions, but not the actual questions themselves. This allows you to be prepared, at ease, and attentive.
Particular points you want to cover in an interview.
If you have something you want the director to cover in the interview, either send a memor prior to the shoot, or suggest it well before the actual recording. Your points will probably fit in logically with the prepared questions. By letting the director know of your needs, it can be used as an integral part of the session and not like something has been added on.
Watching yourself on-camera.
Most directors recommend that you don't see footage of yourself during the recording session. That makes many people self-concious. They worry about how they look and how they sound. Those worries are handled by the director and the crew. Trust that you'll look and sound good. After the session, you can look at yourself.
Adding on that one more thing.
At the end of the interview, the director may ask you if you have anything else you would like to say. This is your final chance to bring out a point that needs to be discussed on-camera.
Don't worry about making mistakes on-camera. Tape is cheap and video footage is easily erased. You're in control. If you or your staff recognize a gaff, ask to re-do your taped response right then. If you continue, the gaff may be forgotten until it shows up in the edited master. You always have the right to review the recorded scene or interview. You also should be able to review a rough edit for your approval.
More production information.
For more production information you can review some frequently asked industrial video production questions or read the book Producing a First-class Video for Your Business.
1. Don't try to wing it.
Many business leaders think that because they know their business backwards and forwards, they can simply stand up and talk about it. They think something magical will happen. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To appear prepared on television, you must be prepared BEFORE you step in front of the camera. The industrial video producer wants to make you look good. If you have a script to work from, you should have it completely memorized, because you need to look good. You owe it to your company.
2. Listen to the director.
Industrial video directors have experience working with both professional and non-professional talent. They are experts is making on-screen talent look good. Listen to their coaching and their suggestions. They have your best interests at heart.
3. Look into the camera.
Generally, you'll be asked by the director to look into the camera and deliver your lines. Think of the camera lens as the eye of a friend. When you're talking to someone, you don't let your eyes wander all around, if you did, people would not believe you. They also might think that you didn't like them. In industrial video production, you never want to come across as uncaring and unbelievable. Don't let your expression look shifty-eyed. Look straight at the camera and smile if you can. Be pleasent.
4. Don't ask for cue cards.
Because you need to look believable and trustworthy, you should never use cue cards or TelePrompTers. The non-professional has a hard time reading lines without following the words with their eyes. This is why you need to memorize your lines and look directly into the camera.
5. Don't wear red, black or white.
Be careful what you wear on-camera. Red sometimes looks smeary on television. Black and white offer too much contrast. Tight patterns can cause signal noise on-screen. The best colors for video are greens and blues. If you want to appear as if you're wearing a black suit and a white shirt or blouse, you can wear a dark blue suit and a light blue shirt or blouse. The magic of TV will change your outfit to black and white. Everyone will be happy.
If possible, bring a number of clothing options to a shoot, blazers, sweaters, shirts, blouses, shoes, etc.
6. Don't wear shiny and noisy accessories.
Leave your beautiful bracelets and necklaces at home. If you have a pager or a watch that beeps, remove them and put them away where they won't interrupt the shooting. If you'll be shooting in your office, ask that call not be put through. Also, have intercoms and background noise turned off.
7. Speak when you're asked to speak.
If the director asks you to speak, it's probably because an audio check is needed. To get a good audio reading you'll need to speak and continue speaking until your voice reaches its proper level. Don't just say your name and stop. Tell everyone within view about your morning, your drive to work, your last night on the town, anything you can until you're asked to stop.
If you can't think of anything else, recite the alphabet!
8. Expect to wear makeup.
You should look composed on-camera and you can't look composed if you look sweaty. At a bare minimum, the addition of powder will be used to reduce shiny surfaces.
9. Take it easy.
It's best to be relaxed, even if you have to work at it. If you find yourself all tight and nervous, you should stretch, count to ten slowly and take deep breaths. Hum a favorite song. See if you can make your nose vibrate from your humming. This is an exercise used by many stage actors. It helps relax the body and produces a more vibrant speaking voice.
10. Answer in short, complete sentences.
If you're being interviewed, you should never respond with a "yes" or "no." It's best to rephrase the question into your answer. When you've answered the question completely, STOP. Don't run your sentences on and on. Answer the question. Period. If the director wants more. You'll be asked for more.
You can also visit the PNW Video site which has detailed information on the step-by-step process of a business/industrial video production. PNW Video is owned by Don and Margaret Doman. Don is the co-author of Producing a First-class Video For Your Business, Look Before You Leap - Market Research Made Easy, and Out of Work? Get Into Business! (Self-Counsel Press of Vancouver/Toronto). He is also an on-call writer for Videomaker magazine. Margaret is also a published author and is an excellent source for great business writing.
It's 3:15 on an average workday when suddenly there's an explosion. The media converge on your facility within minutes. Media Relations, an important new video training program teaches managers, supervisors and even line workers who may be interviewed by the press how to handle this and other delicate situations. This video as well as other communications and business training videos can be found at The Richardson Company - Training Media.
Another good source for industrial video production, besides the book Produc is Amazon.com. Please, use the search engine below to look for video production books. Simply enter the keywords "video Production" and click on the "search" button.
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