How to Demo Product on Video without the hard-sell

There is a technique for demonstrating product on-camera. In the TV/film industry, it’s called “playing your action towards the lens”.

If the camera can’t see the action you are performing within the frame, neither can your viewer. It simply did not happen.

Subtle does it

Here we are shooting a product video. You’ll notice that I don’t overtly draw attention to the product, but instead move it in a subtle way so that the label or brand name faces toward the camera (the viewer), thus still achieving the goal of brand awareness and subtle product placement.

Don’t pull a Ricky Bobby

You’d be surprised at how many people fumble or simply forget how to use their hands once the camera is trained on them. I call this pulling a “Ricky Bobby” (watch the movie Talladega Nights and you’ll see what I mean at time code: 0.36).

Or worse, their movement becomes contrived, “Look at me holding my products!” Or the movements are sporadic and non-specific.


 Stillness commands attention on-screen. 

Ever had someone flap and flick their hands right in front of your face? How did you feel about it? Perhaps slightly annoyed? Since the camera stands in “as your viewer” you’ll want to avoid treating them that way for the same reason.

Random, flappy, generalized hand movements can irritate and visually overwhelm your viewer. It splits their focus. Each time you move, you are forcing their eyes to track what your hands are doing and search for the meaning behind your movement (a pre-wired evolutionary survival mechanism).

Stop contributing to your viewer’s stress levels! You could be priming them to unconsciously associate you and your brand with irritation and annoyance.

Unnecessary on-camera movement can upstage you and reduce the impact of your message. What’s the golden rule of comedy? Never move on the punchline. What’s the golden rule for your close up? Never move on a key emotional point. The same applies to the important moments in your video presentation when you want your audience to pay close attention to you.


    • Move your hands with a clear purpose. Each deliberate action should drive the scene forward
    • Rehearsing your movements for the camera will save you from having to fix blunders when editing your video, and will make your video shoot run that much smoother
    • With close up shots of your hands, ensure your hands, fingers, and nails are well-groomed to avoid upstaging your product or shot. This is critical if you are handling food, or demonstrating beauty products, or heal and wellbeing topics.

Be a Pro, and rehearse your actions. You will add a dash of sophistication and polish to your videos. For more on this topic see this article: On-camera cheating techniques.

If you have a question or you want me to cover a topic for you let me know.

You can also book a time with me to troubleshoot your video creation or a production challenge. See below for details.

Keep putting your best out into the world! You’ve got this.






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