The 18 best tips to be more comfortable when you are on camera

October 4, 2021
Marketing

You cherish being a professional Youtuber, but you’re not confident enough to stand in front of the camera.


You have even memorized the script, but when you stand in front of the camera, you get confused, constantly forget the script, stumble, or dare to look directly at the camera.


You wonder why professional YouTubers can overcome their fear of being on screen, and get such impressive videos.


That’s because they have applied 18 tips below to dispel embarrassment when standing in front of the camera.


Keep reading to find out what those 18 tips are.


1. Understand why you are shy


You're not alone! The shyness of being in front of a camera (and the underlying fears that feed it) is common. 


However, it means that many other people have overcome their anxieties successfully, and you can do that as well.


The shyness of being in front of a camera is common


The first step in overcoming video discomfort is to understand why it scares you.


The natural intersection of several common fears including camera shyness, anxiety speaking in the public, creating the weird feeling when being on a video:


Camera shyness is about image. 


Anxiety of public speaking is about voice. 


The fright is about action.


The image, voice, and action are all combined in the video. This is a perfect social anxiety storm.


If your image, voice, and actions are recorded, you can focus on what you are already scared of. Maybe you don't like how you look or sound. It could show nervous ticks that you didn't know.


Knowing which part of your video freaks you out will help you concentrate on how to feel more comfortable in that area.


2. Know what you're saying


It’s less scary if you don't know what you want to say in the video.


If you plan to record yourself, spend some time determining what your message is.


Plan your main points of conversation. You should make a few notes of what you will say.


Suppose you’re going to be in scripted video production. You should ask to see the script and learn by heart your lines in advance.


Regardless of the situation, it will always be easier if you know what you want to say.


3. Practice your lines


Practice your lines, your message when you know what you want to say.


By speaking out loud your messages before you go to the camera, you can lessen your anxiety.


Don't worry about wording accurately. You should focus on memorizing your message, not your lines. In this way, if you forget something, you will not trip up much.


Practicing also avoids sounding like a robot that reads a piece of paper off the screen. It's an important step to learn how to make your video comfortable.


4. Prepare the light


Lighting is another easy way to feel you’re in your best appearance in the film.


Even and front-facing is the most flattering lighting. You don’t want to have your primary source of light above you.


Setting up facing a window is an easy way to do this. This will give you natural lighting. 


Set a lamp or similar source of light behind the screen (slightly above or off to the side works) if a window is not available.


5. Set up a better angle for your camera


Most people look best on the camera when it is either on or slightly above the eyeline. You can lose your nerves if you feel confident when being on camera.


The producer will take care of this when you're part of video production. If you record yourself, it’s easy to set it up on your own as well.


If you're shooting on mobile, boost your phone to the right height, make sure you don't have something to slide (it’s easier if you have a portable tripod, but it’s not required).


Set up a box, a book stack, or anything handy to reach the right angle when you take a video by the webcam.


6. Dress-up


If you wonder how to be more comfortable on screen, think about what makes you generally comfortable.


Think about how you feel good when wearing your favorite outfits, because the "right" outfit tends to make you more comfortable in many situations, even when you’re on screen.


You should choose clothes based on your audience’ favorite and your video's purpose. 


If it's a presentation for a business, dress as you would if you speak to a group. And you can wear more casual if it's a one-to-one video for a colleague.


Wear things that make you feel most comfortable and confident. Don’t forget to dress like you by choosing outfits that reflect your authentic self.


A few things that are related to this you should consider: Solid colors tend to record well. 


Either white or black outfits should be avoided as those can throw away white balance. 


Pay attention to patterns – ones with small lines can cause a distortion effect that looks weird on the camera.


7. Set up your background


This step will ensure you are not distracted by your background (or viewers).


It's much more easily focused on your message if you aren't worried about the potential embarrassing thing in the video background.


Go for an uncluttered environment where you can retain an interesting point (e.g, a plant) that balances the shot and gives visual interest.


8. Hold a glass of water


Your mouth is dry with nerves. When it’s dry, trying to talk is uncomfortable and could make you more nervous.


Before you start, you should drink some water. You should also hold a glass and have a sip if it’s necessary.


9. Talk slowly


We tend to speed up and talk fast when we are nervous (because we think the faster we talk, the quicker you will finish recording).


Don't rush yourself. You don't have to hurry to make every thought happen immediately. Try to talk a little slower than usual.


You can also feel calmer by forcing yourself to slow down a little. It also gives your viewer a sense of trust because you won’t convey that nervous energy, which can sometimes go along with fast speech.


You must remember that viewers can use speed controls to make the video quicker when they feel your speaking is a little slow (it’s also another benefit of speaking a bit slower).


Furthermore, pausing between thoughts also makes it easier to edit the video (if needed). It can be pretty tricky to find cut points if you keep speaking quickly. 


So, simplify yourself (or your video editor) and make it slow down a little.


10. Screen share video


If looking at yourself in the camera makes you nervous, you can start by sharing videos on screen. This allows you to practice the video audio part. (You can also do voiceovers.)


Try to record the screen if you're a little more comfortable with that. Free tools such as the Chrome extension from Vidyard enable you to record your screen, but add a small webcam bubble that records your face.


This can decrease anxiety by making you think that you’re not the main part of the video. Screen share video can help normalize the viewing of yourself, making you less nervous.


Once you've learned how to feel confident on video, you can complete it efficiently.


11. Use hand gestures 


Have you ever looked down at your hands and thought: “What should I do with my hands when I’m on camera?”


Think of the last time you talked to a friend. You change your facial expressions when you talk to people. To communicate your point, you use body language. You move your hands to highlight points. 


We always use hand gestures and body language naturally when we talk to friends. But we're freezing when you look at the camera. It can be hard to do things naturally when we’re nervous. 


However, using body language is one of the best stuff you can do. Pretend the camera lens is your friend, make eye contact with it, smile, and use your hand gestures.


These actions make us human and facilitate the connection with viewers. It may at first feel awkward, but you need to practice to get comfortable with it quickly.


12. Nevermind the small mistakes


Making a mistake is one of the biggest things people are worried about when they shoot videos.


Small mistakes, like a word or two stumblings, make you feel more humane and make people like you.


It gives the authenticity of your video as well. So, don’t worry too much about mistakes.


13. Don’t feel hesitate to do a couple of takes 


You might want to do it, again and again, to make it perfect if you record a video.


It's all right to do a couple of takes. It’s fine to toss away the failed shoots and do it again. 


This allows you to feel calmer and confident for the next time recording. You will get rid of nerves too.


When you're learning, shooting again a few takes is totally normal. It allows you to choose the one which you are most at ease. Moreover, you have chances to practice as well.


However, you should avoid doing up to 5, 10, or even 15 takes again. The enemy of video is perfection. Don’t be obsessed with that and spend too much time doing it again and again. Just a couple of takes is enough.


14. Learn from professionals


The next time you turn on the TV, note how people perform on the screen. Do they sit or stand? How is their attitude? Where do they rest their eyes when talking? How fast are they talking? What kind of gestures are they using?


You can tell all this information directly in front of the camera. It might actually help to create or emulate your own on-screen personality.


15. Take a deep breath


Taking a deep breath is a particular respiratory technique that can help your mind focus and distress your body. Essentially, if you have already tensed up and are a little squeaky, it can help your voice down.


You start by inhaling deeply through the nose, letting your stomach expand naturally as your lungs get air-filled. 


Then, you release the air out of your lungs slowly, reflecting how long it took you to fill it. It can help to count to five or ten when inhaling and exhaling. Repeat till you feel relaxed.


When using this technique, it’s important to breathe more slowly than usual. As you take in more oxygen than normal, you can feel a little light-headed or yawn. Don’t worry, take it slow, and you're going to be alright.


16. Sending videos to “Friendlies”


Practice is a great way to get familiar with anything (especially the stuff that scares you). Making videos for a specific audience is an effective way to practice your skills on the camera.


Choose somebody you feel comfortable with to send your video. This might be a family member, a friend, or a coworker. Think about who can gently provide helpful feedback.


Make videos for that individual. Do it as often as necessary to begin to feel a little less frightened.


If your goal is to make videos for an external audience, you should begin with an internal audience: Make a video for your colleagues, for example. It's a great way of communicating and working with your team as a bonus. 


17. Edit videos yourself


You should edit videos yourself. This is the advice from media manager Charlie Rogers of Vidyard.


By doing this, you will get used to seeing yourself on the video and feeling less scary. 


18. Don’t give up on making videos


Basically, you must try not to overthink anxiety and continue making videos until you don’t feel weird anymore (or at least, less weird).


After 4 or 5 videos, you will be more familiar with the camera and act naturally as you’re talking to your friends.


Here are 18 tips to help you overcome shyness when you’re in front of the camera. However, whether there are 18 tips or 60 tips, the most important factor is your determination.


Don't let shyness dominate your mind and de-motivate you. Think about your goals and dreams, think of videos with you confidently speaking in front of the camera.


You should start with practicing speaking in front of a mirror, and always work towards your goal to improve yourself every day.


Soon, you will be able to talk naturally on camera to create impressive movies, attracting thousands of views.


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