January 17, 2013 \ Geoff Birmingham
Overcoming Camera Fright

January 17, 2013

Stage FrightI was speaking with a marketing consultant yesterday about a client of his who could perhaps benefit from video. The consultant was saying, however, that he suspects his client might have some reservations about being on camera, particularly if he had to “memorize lines.”

Totally understandable – not everyone is wild about the idea. There were four key points I mentioned to him and suggested he share with his client:

1. No need to memorize lines! TV commercials have actors who need to know their lines. A business executive in a corporate video might use a teleprompter. But with most of the rest of us, we’re better off without the script. It feels more authentic.

2. It’s a conversation. All of us – the consultant, the client and us – would want to figure out in advance what messages we want the video to convey. But after that basic prep, it’s usually a conversation between the producer and the person on camera, with the producer leading the conversation and asking the questions to elicit the messages.

3. The producer’s role. And part of the responsibility of a producer, if he or she is good, is to put the interviewee at ease, to make the experience feel like a conversation rather than an interrogation.

4. Broll to the rescue. Broll, the illustrative material that is edited with the interview, can often save even the most uncomfortable interviewee from embarrassment. Our client is sweating on camera? We’ll listen to his voice and plug in great broll shots over the top. He stumbles over his words? Edit his audio to make his oration match the most polished public speaker, and use broll to cover the edits.


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