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How to appear natural on film

If you’re a business owner, Director or CEO, there’s a high chance you’ll be asked at some point to appear on camera. After all, according to Hubspot, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a business they support; a trend that’s set to continue. You’ll no doubt be wondering how to appear natural on film.

To help you, we’ve pulled together some tips to give you the confidence to feel comfortable and appear natural on film.

1. Be prepared, but not too much

Your marketing manager or copywriter may have written a script for you to follow in line with a storyboard to help you appear natural on film. Or it could be that you have pre-agreed questions and answers to follow. It’s useful, if you have the time, to participate in the script-writing process so that you’re familiar with the agreed language and tone of voice.

Now, being prepared is essential, but what we tend to say to anyone appearing on camera is “learn your content” rather than your lines.

A good way to do this is to familiarise yourself with the key elements you want the viewer to take away and practice talking about the subject unrehearsed with colleagues. You’ll appear far more natural and with that comes trust and transparency.

But remember, do not aim for perfection. As you are speaking, if you go off-script a little, but what you’re staying is still on topic, keep going.

2. Feel comfortable

What you wear on the day can have a bearing on how natural you’ll be on camera. Of course, you do need to keep in mind that you wouldn’t want to wear anything that’ll affect light absorption or distract the viewer; your video producer will advise you on the items to avoid.

Wardrobe is very important, but what’s more important is the impact it has on how you feel. You’ll want to feel comfortable in something that complements your character and how you want to be perceived.

3. Focus on your audience - the lens

Nothing feels more compelling than having direct eye contact! If your gaze is not fixed or you appear distracted, you lose people. Being on film is no different, apart from the fact that the people you are talking to are not physically there. You must treat the lens as if it is your audience.

Sometimes, speaking directly to a friend whose eyes are at the same level as the camera, can help. That’s not always practical or suitable for the person on camera. That’s why,

4. Pace your voice

How quickly you speak directly affects how people engage with you. Speak too quickly and the viewer will have no time to digest what you’re trying to convey; and too slowly, you’ll come across as wooden, rehearsed even.

Your video production company will be able to guide you on a suitable pace, but you can also practice with a colleague. Ask them to play the role of the film director and critique your performance.

5. It's all in the body language

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what you’re going to say that you forget about the importance of body language. Film is very much a visual medium and with research suggesting that 93% of our emotional responses are driven by our reaction to a person’s body language, it’s important to get right.

Think about some of those awkward political leader interviews (there’s been plenty of late). Often, it’s not what they’ve said that we remember, but how their body language made us feel.

The best people on camera are less rigid and far calmer. There are lots of things you can do before being filmed to put yourself in the right frame of mind. You could go for a walk or take five minutes to listen to some of your favourite music (a great one if you drive to the filming location).

Another trick is to speak about anything you are passionate about – work or otherwise – to warm up and adopt your ‘speaker’ personality.

If you are prone to fiddling with a watch or a bracelet, take it off. If you catch yourself feeling tense, breathe in and relax your shoulders to pull yourself out of it.

You’ll also want to be aware of other things that might influence your body language such as red flushes (many of us are prone to this one) and getting over-heated. Make your video production team aware – they’ll have plenty of practical suggestions that’ll help.

6. Enjoy the experience and appear natural on film

We’ve all heard the saying “people do business with people they like”. The same is true of film, people stay engaged with people they like. That’s why it’s important you let your personality shine through. It’ll add pops of colour and sentiment that scripted content alone cannot always deliver. Don’t be shy, and if there’s something you’re not quite keen on afterward, it can be edited out.

We hope these tips help you appear natural on film when you are filming your next video! And don’t forget, if you’re looking for a video production partner, we love to hear from new clients. Simply contact us on 01787 378422 or send us a message here to get started.

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