Keep Production Simple
Being on camera can be overwhelming and the last thing you need to be focusing on is if you’ve got your fancy equipment set up correctly. You would hate if you discovered that after this long shoot, your body was slightly out of the shot the whole time.
This is why when you are just getting started being comfortable on camera, I recommend eliminating all the stress that comes from working with equipment you are unfamiliar with.
So what can you do instead?
Use the camera that you are most familiar with using, such as your smartphone. Smartphone cameras have dramatically increased in quality in recent years and are a great starting point for shooting video.
Don’t worry about setting up fancy “3-point lighting” (the most popular professional lighting technique to light a subject). Just worry about making sure there is enough light on you. You can do this by shooting your video close to a window to use natural light, using an easy to set up ring light that will illuminate your face evenly, or find light sources such as lamps around your house or office and place them slightly off camera to brighten you up.
Talk to Yourself Off Camera
Ya know when you’re walking on the sidewalk next to a stranger and you hear them having a conversation with themselves? You likely do a double take and think, “Is he talking to himself?”
Well it’s time you start talking to yourself!
Let me be clear. I’m not telling you to be a crazy person!
(Even though you will probably feel like one.)
I am, however, actually saying that talking to yourself will ease your nerves on camera.
Of course I recommend doing this when you are alone such as in the shower, in the car on the way to work, or talking in the mirror.
Why is this an important thing to start practicing? Well, think about it. When you are having a conversation with your friends, you are probably thinking about the conversation topic, and you are not likely thinking about what your voice sounds like. Typically we spend very little time thinking about what our voice sounds like – until we turn on a camera.
The second we turn on a camera and stand in front of it, we begin to nitpick every little thing about us, including our voice. When you get in the practice of talking to yourself you start to get used to what your voice sounds like and and this will help get rid of negative thoughts about your voice when you get on camera.
What should you talk about when talking to yourself?
Honestly, you can talk about anything. Talk about your plans for the rest of the week. Are you excited about them? Do they make you stressed? What about that email you just got; good news or bad news?
I recommend talking to yourself in the mirror after you get out of the shower. Why? Because this practice kills two birds with one stone. On one hand you are getting used to your voice and what your voice sounds like, and on the other hand you are getting used to your face and how your face moves when you talk and the facial expressions you naturally make!
It may sound silly but these are the details people critique about themselves when they get on camera.
Don’t worry about being perfect.
This piece of advice is very simple, yet it is much easier said than done.
Take the pressure off of yourself by allowing yourself to mess up every once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
When you are not afraid of mistakes, you will find yourself making less of them because you are no longer thinking about making those mistakes. That seems a bit ironic because it is. But it’s effective! Don’t be afraid of mistakes and don’t strive to be spotless and perfect.
In fact, we need to define what “perfect” even is.
When you define perfect as you see yourself on camera, it might be a very surface level definition. You might include details such as your looks, the camera shot, or the way you say things not being as polished as your competitor.
But the way you should start defining perfection in your videos is by asking one simple question. “Did my audience get value out of this video?” Whether it’s learning a new technique, understanding how a product works, or getting to know your brand and what you do, ask yourself if the audience will receive value.
If the answer is, “Yes they did,” then I would say that your video is perfect, because it’s perfect for your audience.