WHEN David Miller suggested I do a post on this subject I thought to myself, “I’m glad I look comfortable on camera, but I don’t always feel that way.”
In fact, much of the time while I am shooting video or vlogging I am jabbering self consciously, trying take after take until I get one that I think will work. I think the trick is to appear at ease in front of the camera, which is something I am good at and you can be to.
Here are a few things I remember to feel more confident and seem more at ease while filming.
Sounds simple, right? Remember everything every acting coach, yoga instructor and choir master ever said to you boils down to this, breathe. Turn on the camera and let it run for a second, allow yourself to ignore the fact that you are being filmed and take a deep breath. Let it out slowly as you begin speaking using your strong, deep breath carry your words. Taking in a deep breath will feed your brain, calm you and straighten you spine, giving you better composure and more confidence.
Imagine that you are bullshitting with your best friend, you’re not recording yourself on a flimsy tripod in the middle of a crowded public space. Imagine someone you are completely at ease with is standing in front of you and you are having an interesting conversation. When I am vlogging I talk to the camera like it is the cool-ass person I imagine is watching it online. Most everyone’s demeanor changes when they are on camera, mine certainly does, and it helps to remember that I am talking to my friends.
Assuming you don’t have a script, don’t be afraid to let your mouth run while you work out what you want to say. You can edit in post when you go on and on about your infected rash. Don’t get me wrong, you should know what you want to say, but you may need to discover how you want to say it. That’s where the rambling comes in.
You are not going to feel more comfortable making and posting videos unless you make and post videos. So sit down in front of your camera and start yakking. Give a book review, document your ferrets mating habits, talk about your travels…it really does not matter. If I am comfortable on camera ( and I never said I was ) if is due to the dozen or so theater productions I have been in, the countless hours of drama class in high school and college and certainly in large part due to the 100+ videos I have made for your online pleasure. Ya just gotta do it over and over till it ain’t no thang.
Shoot with the knowledge that you will edit. The best way to look comfortable on camera is to exercise the power to choose your best takes and weave a video together. There are plenty of free programs to edit with. Use em, troubleshoot, experiment and become proficient until you are planning for your edits and are confident in your editing abilities.
In closing, review footage of yourself and try and eliminate weird on-camera habits. Wear something you feel good in. Give yourself permission to feel embarrassed, self conscious, stupid, spastic… and then get over it.
When I set up my camera for the last MatadorTV vlog in the middle of Pike Place Market it was crazy-busy and I was very self conscious of the people milling about. I had to work through having so much attention on me (people would watch me and run into each other, or gawk and point, looking for themselves in the viewfinder). It had to allow it to be OK to stick out, to be looked at. I had to make light of the situation and still take myself seriously.
I also had to remember when all else fails, go back to the top and take a breath.
Are you camera shy or a shameless diva? Share your camera phobias of confidence techniques in the comments.