How to: Be a Good On-Camera Host

by Joshywashington Mar 31, 2010
Hosting your travel videos with style and confidence can take your video from amateur to awesome.
Be concise.

Brevity is indeed the soul of wit, especially when you are hosting your travel video.

Your online viewers have short attention spans so be concise.

Fight the compulsion to ramble on. Honestly, nobody finds you as interesting as you do. Remember that and you will do well. When filming your intro keep it at two short sentences or less.

Or if you want, cut away from the shot of you and use your speech as voice over, giving your audience something fresh to look at.

Speak up.

Square your shoulders, take a breathe and speak up. Deliver your lines with clarity and confidence. Even the most amateur, humble travel video host can command due attention by speaking like a seasoned pro.

Add to your visual evidence.

As a host your job is to not only interact with the camera and the subject of your video but to explain the context of the visual evidence you are presenting. What don’t we see that is important or interesting? Enlighten us.

As the host we expect you to be the authority on the subject of your video. We can’t be there so we rely on you to supplement the visual evidence with your commentary.

Look good.

Frame yourself with an interesting background, but not distracting. If possible, your background should relate to the subject of your video. If you are shooting your host elements after the fact, resist the urge to film in your living room with your half folded laundry in the back ground.

Light yourself well. You probably aren’t packing lighting with you so search out a location that has great natural light. Too bright and you will be washed out, too dark and we loose you to shadows. Too dark / light screams “amateur” and is easily prevented, so double check your lighting.

Part of looking good is sounding good. Be sensitive to wind, music and crowd noise, these cacophonous distractions can ruin your on-camera presence. If you can, use a mic (starting at $20, they are cheap). If you suspect sound pollution, review your footage before you move on. Taking a few moments to watch what you just filmed marks the difference between a host who is invested in the final result and a n00b with shitty sound.

Know your video.

Knowing your video means you not only know what you want to say and capture on film, you know the story structure of your vid and where you need to add your two cents as a host.

Shooting your hosting elements during the action of your story may make sense but often you will have already shot the rest of your footage before you go to film your shots as a host. If you have already filmed, review your footage and create a rough outline for your video, penciling in shots of you hosting that add to the story and our enjoyment of your travel video.

Don’t just blindly turn on the camera and start blathering, no matter how interesting your environment is you can hardly sustain your audience without a little pre-planning.

Be interesting.

This is a tough one. You don’t have to be stunningly gorgeous or have a massive facial scar to be interesting. The key to being interesting is being interested. Even if you are interested, if you don’t present with palpable, interested energy, your enthusiasm may not shine through. So bring your energy up two levels, slap a smile on your face and speak like you are compelled if not thrilled. Also, engage in interesting behaviors that takes you out of your comfort zone and lets the audience live vicariously through you.

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