At some point in their careers, executives are going to need (or want) to be on camera in one of their videos. If you are an executive preparing for an up coming film or video production, here are some pointers for ensuring a great performance.
1) Clothing – The specific style of clothing you wear will depend on your company culture. For the camera, it’s more important what NOT to wear. Try to avoid black (unless it’s a jacket) and definitely don’t wear white. Besides being boring, bright white and dark black make it harder to light you well. Finally, tight patterns and weaves in shirts/blouses/jackets can cause a strange effect when you move, so avoid them.
Not sure what to wear? Go blue. Everyone looks good wearing blue on camera. And it’s always a good idea to bring an extra shirt just in case it doesn’t look good over the background you are in front of (it might be blue!). Comfortable shoes are also a good idea if you are standing.
2) Use a teleprompter – It doesn’t matter how well you know your talking points. If you are going to look in to the camera and address your audience, making a great presentation video takes more than one take (for different angles or focal lengths) and a teleprompter will ensure you say precisely the same thing each time.
The teleprompter operator should match your speed and can make quick fixes to your message on site so that your message is EXACTLY what you want. Saying the same thing over and over can get very tiring and you may lose track of what’s been covered correctly. A teleprompter gives you the freedom to concentrate not on WHAT you say but HOW you say it.
If you are NOT looking in to the camera and are answering questions from an interviewer, a teleprompter used for notes can sometimes make things worse. Unless you practice, you can come off looking stiff as you read the lines. Talk to your video producer about the right approach for your project.
3) Direction – Hopefully you will have someone from the video production company coaching you on how well each of your takes comes across to camera. They will track whether you said everything clearly, that your pacing was good, and that you had the right demeanor. As mentioned before, how you say the words is just as important as what you say.
Most of the time you are likely delivering positive or important news, so pay attention to the three E’s; your Emphasis (which words you stress), your Emotion (the feeling you want to convey), and your Enthusiasm (the level of that emotion). This will keep you from coming across flat and monotone.
Good directors also have exercises they can take you through during the shoot to bring your performance up to where it needs to be to hit the three ‘E’s’. Don’t be afraid to humor the director and say things in a way that feels uncomfortable at first. Like stretching before a big race, these exercises are intended to push you beyond what is really necessary so that the final take comes across just right.