Category: Video tips

3 ways to put non-actors and shy people at ease in front of the video camera

This post is for: businesses and organizations who want to make videos using their own people in front of the camera

Because video is so popular on the web now, and such an effective way to get your message across, more and more business owners and company representatives are being called upon to speak in front of a camera.  But not everyone is comfortable there.  In fact, most of us are self-conscious to some degree when we have to speak in public, whether it’s to a group or to a camera.

How small businesses can make great videos without actors.

There are alternatives to speaking impromptu and/or directly into the camera.

But even if your spokesperson isn’t a natural public speaker or trained actor, you can still help him or her to make a great presentation video for your company by trying one or more of these filming strategies:


  1. Get the presenter to talk to someone beside the camera, not directly into the camera. Speaking directly into a camera lens feels awkward to many people.  Instead, try filming the presentation as an interview. Get someone to sit right beside the camera, and ask your presenter to deliver the presentation to that off-camera “interviewer”.  Speaking to a real human being feels more natural to most people, and will put your presenter at ease. That kind of interview-style video, where the speaker is looking at someone just slightly off-camera, is quite common and quite effective.
  2. Get them to read a prepared text from a teleprompter.Reading from a teleprompter isn’t for everyone, but for some people it’ll be a big relief, because not everyone is comfortable speaking off the cuff.  This requires a bit more preparation, equipment and practice, but it may put your presenter at ease. And the results are impressive because to the viewer of the video, it looks like the presenter is speaking eloquently and impromptu, and if the teleprompter is set up properly, it also looks like the presenter is speaking directly into the camera.
  3. Break the filming up into small, bite-sized segments.Sometimes, the intimidating part of presenting in front of a video camera is the worry that you’ll forget an important point, or make a mistake right at the end of a lengthy speech.  But there’s no need to film it all in one long, perfect take. Pieces can be filmed separately and then put together in editing, either with subtle fades in between, or cutaways to other footage, like shots of the items that are being referred to for example.  And reassure your speaker that since it’s all digital, there’s no need to worry about “wasting film”, so he or she can do as many takes as needed.

These are just three ideas for putting a shy or self-conscious presenter at ease in front of the camera. Like anything, speaking on camera gets easier with practice, and it does so more quickly if you can remove as much of the pressure to “perform” as possible. Plus, in this age of skeptical consumers, a presenter who is relaxed and just speaking knowledgeably and naturally will make a much more convincing video for your company than one who is too polished or “Hollywood” in their presentation style. Sincerity and expertise definitely win out over slickness in such situations, and those are qualities that can easily be conveyed by non-actors and shy people alike!

This post was written by: Frank Herr

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