27 Ways to Feel like a Natural in Front of the Camera

Even the most experienced speaker can get nervous in front of the camera. Use these 27 tips to banish nerves and film with confidence!

  1. Make a point of choosing an outfit you feel comfortable in and looks put-together. Anything tailored, clean, and wrinkle-free is a great start.
  2. Start out by speaking about anything you are passionate about to warm up and turn on your “speaker” personality.
  3. Schedule plenty of time to film as many takes as necessary. You definitely won’t want to feel rushed. There is nothing quite as sweet as a well-made video you worked hard on.
  4. Stay hydrated by taking sips of water or hot tea between takes. Your parched throat could ruin an otherwise great take!
  5. Place a large mirror a few feet behind the camera so that you can periodically check in on your body language. You can also pretend your reflection is another person you are speaking to. Note: This tip could prove distracting for some people so try it, but keep in mind it could do more harm than good.
  6. If it is necessary for you to walk, run, or dance around in your video, place markers on the floor in front of the camera so that you know exactly where to stop before you go out of frame. This can also help you remember a complex series of movements.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the script, but do not memorize it word for word. You might sound stiff, or speak in a monotone, if you’re reciting from memory. Be comfortable enough with your talking points that you are able to speak naturally during filming, but still cover everything critical.
  8. Wear an outfit that will conceal sweat stains in case the spotlight or your nerves make you perspire. Also, in between takes, blot your face with tissues, and have a neutral powder on hand to avoid shine.

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  1. Be aware of any nervous tics you have, and actively monitor them when in front of the camera. These may include incessantly clearing your throat, scrunching or wiggling your eyebrows, wringing your hands, cracking your knuckles, tapping your foot, shifting back and forth or swaying, blinking excessively, swallowing hard, and saying “um”, “uh”, or “like” too often. If you catch yourself tensing up, take deep breaths and relax your shoulders to pull yourself out of it.
  2. Immediately prior to filming, do whatever makes you relax. This could be exercising, yoga, meditating, eating your favorite snack, singing at the top of your lungs (maybe do this one in your car…). You get the idea!
  3. Remember to take it slow. People tend to speed up their speech when they are nervous. Aim to speak a little slower than normal, and it should be perfect!
  4. Look directly into the camera as if it were a person you were speaking to. Or, if that feels too awkward, have a friend stand directly next to the camera so that their eyes are at the same level, and speak to them.
  5. Do not over-utilize or under-utilize makeup (gentlemen, too!). Get an objective second opinion on how you look in front of the camera, and check it in different lighting.
  6. Do not go for perfect. As you are speaking, if you go off-script a bit, but it still makes sense, keep going instead of stopping or making the “uh-oh” face. You audience will never know!
  7. Drink a cup of coffee before filming to give yourself a little pep in your step if you are feeling low on energy.
  8. Participate in the script-writing process so that you have a say in the language and tone of the message. Being involved in the process will make it easier for the words to roll off your tongue!
  9. Limit all distractions, including unnecessary people on the set, or in your field of view. Be doubly sure to eliminate any unnecessary sounds, such as your phone, background noise, or alarms you have set. Here are more tips for producing high quality videos (even on your own).
  10. Divide your script into sections about two-five sentences long. This way, you won’t struggle to remember long paragraphs.
  11. Have someone hold up poster boards with bullet points to ensure that you stay on message. You can also use an iPad app if a friend is not available.
  12. Take a note from yoga class and, before filming begins, take five minutes to mentally relax each body part section by section. Start with the top of your head, down to your eyebrows, your stomach, and all the way down to your toes!
  13. Note your best time of day, generally speaking. If you are at your best in the morning, schedule filming then, and vice-versa if you are better in the late afternoon. This will help ensure you have the right mindset for speaking enthusiastically.
  14. If you have a say, choose film crew members you feel most comfortable with. Avoid those you do not know well or simply do not mesh with. Here is a guide to picking the right production team for your project.
  15. If you get shaky legs or shift back and forth despite your best efforts not to, consider sitting in front of the camera instead of standing.
  16. Periodically check in on your body language to see if you are tensing up. Some subconscious signs include crossing your arms, bouncing your leg, gritting your teeth, or forcing a smile.
  17. Watch both good and bad videos prior to filming your own, and take notes!
  18. Organization is key. Carefully plan your script, filming schedule, and the logistics of the filming process ahead of time so that you have nothing to worry about. For more specific guidance, read this crash course in video production management.
  19. Jump around and do a few push-ups or jumping jacks to get your heart rate up and blood flowing just before filming!

We hope these tips help you when you are filming your next video! If you have any other tips to share, share them with us here, on Facebook, and on Twitter!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted July 3, 2013

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