How to Sound Good on Camera
May 14, 2022
You may be the most articulate, likable human in the world. But the truth is, once you’re in front of that camera, you never know how you’ll react. It’s tricky to talk to a camera lens like it’s a human. Even trickier to do it in a room full of strangers.
You’ve got the charisma, but conveying it on camera is not the easiest thing in the world. Since those of us at JB Media Productions do this all of the time, we thought it might be helpful to offer a few insider tips on how to sound good on camera.
Want to plan to get in front of the camera in the first place? From expertly crafted corporate videos to perfectly executed commercials — and everything else you can think of — we’re the pros that have you covered. Reach out to learn more, or check out the packages on our home page.
- See the Lens as Your Audience
A first tip for sounding good on camera is to envision the lens as your audience. If you talk like you are talking to a machine, you will come off robotic, stiff, and maybe a little odd. The way you look into someone’s eyes is different from how you look at an object.
You need to do a little brain stretching, pretending the lens is your audience. We urge people to imagine they’re in a room sitting or standing across from a person, speaking directly to that person. Practice this and you’ll get some warmth back in your expressions and tone.
In addition to wanting to soften your facial expressions and be relatable, it’s important that you focus on the lens because your eye line is what will add realism to the video. If you’re looking around, if your eyes dart to the camera operator or other people in the room, it will not look great. It may even be unusable. Training your eye on the camera, and tuning out other distractions, makes your video polished and professional.
- Practice Standing in Place
Most people move around when they speak. They walk back and forth, sway, gesture, gesticulate, you get the idea. Until you get in front of a camera where you have to stand on a mark and not move out of frame you may not realize how much you actually move. If you practice this in advance, you’ll get a feel for how to control your motion better.
When you do get in front of the camera, you’ll be directed where to stand or sit. For most types of professional videos for businesses, you’ll plant your feet in one spot. You may have a couple of cameras trained on you, but you’ll likely look at one.
Don’t worry about this: the camera operator and video producer will give you direction. What you’re responsible for is keeping an easy stance (don’t lock your knees) and standing still while you talk.
- Control Your Fidgeting
This is another subconscious act you probably do without realizing it, and it’s amplified when you’re nervous. Little tics, little fidgets, little gestures or habits get bigger and more noticeable when you’re in front of the camera.
The only way to really control these is to notice them, then make a conscious effort to control them. Often, we’ll coach people when we’re with them if we start to see these fidgets emerge. Sometimes, there’s an audible component to these, which is the next tip.
- Work on Your Ums and Ahs
You’re in front of the camera because you’ve earned a spot there, representing your company, communicating important ideas, and getting your message across. Your authority can be undermined if you are tending to heavy pauses, punctuated by “ums” and “ahs.”
Whether or not you are actually searching for the next words to say, these verbal idiosyncrasies are distracting. There are a couple of ways we, as professional video producers, help clients overcome a heavy case of the ums.
The first is to write a script beforehand and give it to them. By reviewing what you’re going to say, you’ll have the words more accessible to your brain, even when you’re a little more stressed. Very few clients memorize scripts (although that’s definitely an option). Instead, we like to use a teleprompter.
The words of your script can be easily loaded into a teleprompter. Even the pros use teleprompters, and they keep you on track, reducing the chance you’ll pause and fill the noise with a little sound.
Bonus: the less you “um” and “ah” your way through a video shoot, the less editing we have to do. We want you to sound good on camera, so we’ll take time smoothing out your presentation in post-production. But the longer it takes, the more complex your project becomes. You can reduce the chance of this by practicing, taking deep breaths, and communicating confidently.
- Record Yourself
You may or may not be active on social media and super comfortable in selfie mode. That’s not a problem. But you should consider recording yourself presenting part or all of your planned video. The feedback you get from this is in a low-pressure environment (have your family or friends do it). You can watch it back in privacy and evaluate your own performance. You’ll see things that you can work on, things you like, things you can tweak. Recording yourself will help you improve your on-camera skills.
- Bring a Couple of Outfit Options
Because of the way video sets are lit, outfits look different once you’re wearing them on camera. Certain patterns and fabrics don’t look awesome when you’re filming them, but you may not know this until you’re trying them out. We always encourage people to bring a couple of outfit options. On shoot day, you don’t want to be stuck wearing something that has a strange sheen, a pattern that cuts you funny, or something that blends too much into the background.
Get a Team to Help You Sound Better on Camera
We mentioned it a few times here, but truthfully: having the right video production team can help you sound better on camera. If they have the right experience and the right approach, they’ll put you at ease. The less you’re stressing, the better you’ll sound.
It’s als important that they have their ducks in a row, that they come prepared, that you know what to expect and are coached along the way. The entire video production process is a complex one, but on-screen talent (like yourself) should just come in for your part, feeling poised, alert, and in control. As long as you know what to do, you can deliver your lines with ease, sounding good on camera and getting the video you want.
Speaking of the “right team,” JB Media Productions is always here to lend a hand. We provide elite video production services to businesses nationwide. You already know that video is the #1 way to get your message across to audiences. Don’t miss out, settle for subpar quality, try to do this yourself, or another common mistake. Hire the best and you’ll get a slick, exciting, winning video that puts your brand on center stage.
Connect with us today to learn more.