I want to write a few words about focus and distraction on video. Last time I wrote about what to say. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) This post is about how to say it.
Because I advised you last time to speak naturally in plain language to the lens, you might think you can use the same level of delivery and expression you use “in real life.” Unless you are highly energetic IRL, that will not work on camera. You have to pump up the energy in your face, your body, your gestures to have personality on video that looks normally energetic.
It takes a lot of concentration to get your message across effectively on video. When you are shooting a talking head personality video, you’ll want to remove all distractions from your mind. Speak with new energy and focus, passionately and earnestly into the lens as you picture talking to an individual you know well.
For some reason, the camera is like a vampire. It sucks the life out of your natural energy, but you can overcome this energy drain with practice. See what the right energy feels like for you by doing a series of trial run videos with varying levels of effort.
This exercise will help you figure out what is too much – too little – just right so you can practice at the right energy intensity. Shoot 3 videos of yourself:
- Presenting in your normal way
- Doing it super over the top
- Finally, cut back to mid-level animation.
Play back the videos and observe which one works best. You may have to shoot more than 3 before you discover that perfect place. You’ll probably find your energy is just right, when you’ve built up your expressiveness to the point that you’re feeling slightly uncomfortable.
I often equate this level of performance energy to a kindergarten teacher at a cocktail party. She’s used to keeping the attention of little kids for hours at a time with her upbeat demeanor and it doesn’t change when she’s around adults. It can be somewhat tiresome to witness in person, but it’s the type of animated energy the camera loves.
WATCH YOUR EYES
Make sure your eyes look directly into the lens and never waver. Sure, you should blink naturally to avoid that “deer in the headlights” stare, but do not let your eyes wander from side to side or look around the room while you are speaking to the camera. If you want to break eye contact (and you should in a long piece,) look down briefly as if you were consulting notes.
Follow these guidelines and experiment with test videos to unlock your natural on-camera charisma. Soon you’ll gain confidence and be able to easily promote yourself and your business in videos that display your fresh, engaging personality.