In my previous article Avoid these Common Eye Contact Pit-falls, in some ways the camera lens can be likened to a staring eye that observes you with a level of intensity that we do not experience in our everyday life.
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 video presentation.
Being able to speak to a live audience does not necessarily mean you will come across well on camera.
Video Presenting – Requires Completely Different Skillset From Stage Speaking
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 camera.
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 visual aids, other audience members, or more often their small-screen devices 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.
If the presentation is being filmed, very rarely will the stage speaker be shot in a scrutinizing close-up. Nor are they likely to speak directly to, or engage the camera.
The Camera Picks up Every Nuance and Micro Expression
Presenting to the camera is more like having your viewer in your personal space, standing 4 feet away from you. It’s here that your screen presence and everything that you bring to the frame can be readily scrutinized by the lens (your viewer).
Your filming device picks up on every little facial nuance, micro expression, pupil dilation, even your mental and emotional state of mind. In my coaching sessions clients have worked through issues like on-camera performance tension, anxiety, eye-contact issues, and excessive blinking as a result of this.
Some of my clients who’ve had success on the stage, often appear disconnected from their video message on-screen i.e. speaking without conviction, having no felt emotion, or no strong point-of-view about their subject matter.
Others are unaware of their habitual masking behaviours i.e. “Barbie-dolling it, wearing a pasted-on smile or inauthentic expression throughout their entire video message. Some over or under emote. Under the scrutiny of the lens, their presenting style comes across as disingenuous on-screen, negatively impacting their ability to be persuasive on video.
The Camera Doesn’t lie
These coping strategies often provide short term relief from discomfort, but the camera only heightens and magnifies the issue on video.
Unlike the stage, your viewer has nothing else to look at except what you have framed in the shot. This means that everything within the frame takes on a greater significance.
The advantage is that you can control your audience’s gaze. You can tell them where to look, and what to pay attention to. It’s the same way that film directors work. They control all the visual elements within the frame to influence and shape the audience’s attention, experience, and emotion.
To Sum Up
The video camera sees things differently. What looks good to the human eye (you) may look completely different on camera – and vice versa.
- The 3-dimensional world is flattened into 2 dimensions. On-screen this impacts how your energy levels come across on video
- 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 appear distorted
- Make-up applied using the wrong base tones can look unflattering on camera
- Some types of light can give your skin tone a green, golden, bluish, red hue
- Improper lighting can deepen facial contours, magnify creases and lines and make you appear older
- Tight patterns or pinstripes on clothing take on a life of their own creating a highly distracting moiré pattern
- A person can appear larger or smaller on camera than they actually are. When you see people in life, you can contrast them with the environment, but on video, you only see what’s inside the frame
- The use of different angles and frames can greatly manipulate the viewer’s perceptions and emotions – altering their viewing experience of you and the effectiveness of your message
Bonus tip: 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 have a question or you want me to cover a topic for you let me know. I’m always listening! And, you can always book a time with me to get the tailored support and guidance you need on any of the performance areas covered in this post. See below for details or learn more about my services here.
Founder of STEBIAN.com ★ Video Presentation Coaching and Production★ Established in 2006 Bianca provides an exclusive, personalized consulting service for business owners, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, speakers, best-selling authors, and VIPs to help them present themselves, their products, services, or brand message to their target audience in the most effective way possible on video. Her clients want to master the screen and command the lens, in a compelling way and in any filming situation. With Bianca, you’ll get the tailored expertise from a real-world operator with over 20 years of TV/Film industry experience working in front of and behind the camera. Enhance your on-camera presence, influence, and screen confidence with compelling video presentations. Find out more today.
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