Forced to turn on your webcam at work for a conference call or a webcast? Here are 5 tips from seasoned TV reporter Manoush Zomorodi to keep you from looking like a zombie.
The author of the eBook “Camera Ready” appeared at mediabistro’s Literary Festival and Workshops to help writers sharpen their presentation skills to appear in interviews and book trailers. The following tips can work for any kind of video, even a Google+ Hangout or a video chat on Skype.
1. Apply Makeup with a Matte Finish
High-definition film is nobody’s friend –keep your skin looking even with plenty of foundation. A little concealer can hide the dark circles under your eyes. To keep your face from looking too shiny on camera, apply powder over your foundation for a matte finish. (This tip is for men as well as women.) Zomorodi said that cheap makeup from a drug store is perfectly fine.
2. Aim for Smooth, Glossy Hair
Control fly-away strands with gel, mousse, or even a little bit of hand lotion. If you’re bald, see tip number one for getting rid of shiny skin.
3. Wear Solid Colors
Stripes and other loud prints might draw attention to the wrong places. During the presentation, Zomorodi showed how a striped shirt she wore in a webcast created an unplanned 3D effect on her chest.
As for colors, stick to neutrals (brown, beige, black) and jewel tones (ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, etc.).
4. Center Yourself Properly in the Frame
Sit (or stand) front and center, with the camera focused on your face.
Don’t turn into a “human kebab” by moving in front of a floor lamp. Make sure your background is free of anything that might take attention away from you.
5. Look Directly at the Camera
When you are alone, address your audience with your eyes, even when you are not speaking. While you are interviewing someone else, keep your facial expression pleasant and neutral so that you don’t convey the wrong tone or distract the viewers. Put a mirror behind the webcam if it helps you remember to smile with your eyes.
6. Practice Your Lines Out Loud
Don’t be surprised by a weird word or a sentence that doesn’t sound as good as it looks on paper. Find a quiet place to run through the material and practice articulating each word carefully. This is also a good way to warm up your voice.
Zomorodi used the multimedia publishing tool Vook to create her eBook, which she successfully funded on Kickstarter. Here, she demonstrates her camera skills in a book trailer.