So called “camera shyness” is incredibly common and is probably the single biggest reason why people put off making the videos they want to make. They simply do not feel comfortable appearing on camera.
What are people actually afraid of? It’s not like the camera is going to bite them. No, what bothers folks is one of two things. First and foremost is that people are insecure about the way they look or sound. They’re afraid they look too fat, or too skinny, too old or too ugly. They’re stuck with a face made for radio.
The other thing that bothers folks is the fear of that they will make a mistake. Goof up. They’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and that people watching the video will laugh at them.
Well, guess what? Neither fear is really justified if you think about it this way.
First, if you goof, don’t worry about it. Just do it again. When you make a video, you have total control. It is NOT live TV. You can allow take #900 if necessary. Destroy the bad takes. No one will ever see them! Pretend they never happened.
Professional actors goof all the time, it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Retakes and editing are the solution.
Now the other fear is a little more difficult to handle. Most of us are a little insecure about how we look and sound on camera. That’s only natural. Here’s how to handle it.
For one thing, remember that most viewers really don’t WANT to be staring at lots of gorgeous people. Constantly looking at Barbie and Ken dolls is intimidating for most viewers because it makes them feel bad about their own looks. They feel like they can’t measure up. There’s tons of psychological research that shows being bombarded with images of sexy, gorgeous people all the time breeds insecurity and leads to things like eating disorders.
Watching a “normal” looking person on camera actually helps viewers feel comfortable. They will relate to the normal looking person more easily and THAT’S what you really want, to build that relationship through video.
People are sick and tired of seeing drop dead gorgeous people on TV all the time. Viewers have come to distrust that sort of thing because they know that paid spokesmen will say whatever they are told to say, so their B.S. meter starts going off.
Especially when making videos for the internet, if you come across as too polished, viewers will think the video is just another corporate public relations job. They won’t trust you as much and trust is what you want to build. So embrace your non-model appearance as a marketing tool for trust!
Don’t think for one second that Internet video needs to be held to the same standards as professional TV. In fact, the truth is, viewers like Internet video in part because it is NOT professional TV. Everyone knows “real” TV is fake…staged. People crave reality so go ahead and give it to them.
Now here are a few technical tips to help you feel comfortable on camera.
You will look your best if you use soft, diffused lighting. No matter who you are or what you look like, soft diffused lighting is the most flattering. It helps hide wrinkles and other imperfections.
Another trick is to stand or sit behind something. A podium, a chair, a desk. This way, you won’t feel quite so exposed. Make sure the viewer has something to look at besides you.
The type of shot you use will also affect how you look. Very few people look good in an extreme close up. Move the camera back a bit to a wider shot. No point in showing people your nose hairs.
Another great tool to help you feel comfortable is some deep breathing. Those jitters might just disappear if you spend a few minutes taking some deep breaths before the camera rolls.
Feeling comfortable on camera might take some practice. So allow yourself some time to get used to it. Very few people feel comfortable right away, so don’t expect to be any different from the crowd.
I hope this advice helps you overcome any anxiety you might feel appearing on camera. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, in fact, being perfect is something you really want to avoid. Now we can all rejoice at that!
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Internet Video Gal