Camera shy-ness has little to nothing to do with introvertedness vs extrovertedness. The most confident in-person presenter you know can step in front of a video camera and lose composure completely.
Vice versa, the most quiet, shy person you know, can step in front of a camera and turn into a suave late night talkshow host.
Why is this? And is it possible to re-program camera-shy individuals to stop fearing the illusive lens box? (Spoiler alert: of course it is).
As longs as you identify and apply the following steps, you should be writing scripts, improvising lines & creating amazing video content in no time at all.
Here are 7 tips to help you become more comfortable in front of a video camera.
Why are you camera shy?
Everyone has their own reason for feeling insecure in front of a lens.
Some people feel uncomfortable when they’re not in control of how they’re presented. Intrusive thoughts might tell you that the angle is unflattering, or that the lighting is framing your face in a way that you don’t like. (Learn more about video lighting here).
Some feel that the lack of an audience feels unnatural, like they’re presenting to an empty room.
Some feel the opposite; that the video might get a million views, which can feel like next-level pressure and scrutiny.
Identify what makes you feel uncomfortable, and find ways of mitigating the effects of these anxieties.
For example, if you feel the need to be in more control of the visual presentation, ask to do a test run and check back the result to see what it looks like. Ask co-workers you trust if they think it looks flattering (because sometimes your inner critic might be too harsh).
If you think it feels too unnatural to present to an (almost) empty room, ask if you can have a few people behind the camera acting as your own personal audience. The same advice can be given for people who are worried about the view count of the final video. The in-person connection can allow you to focus on the moment, instead of a hypothetical future audience.
Whatever your worries are, there are always different hacks you can try to make yourself feel more at ease. Once you’re more experienced, you’ll notice that you won’t need these hacks anymore, as the process will come natural to you.
Try creating a safe and fun environment before starting your presentation.
Breathing exercises can help you calm down. Or if you need a boost of energy: try jumping up and down, doing a few squats or busting out a few dance moves.
Your camera crew can be of big help too. Do a few test questions before getting started. Like: what did you have for breakfast? What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday evening?
Whichever technique feels best for you, the goal is to ease your way into the actual script. Comfort is key.
Dress for success
Wear something that makes you feel good.
If you’re filming in front of a green screen, you might not be able to wear your favourite green jumpsuit. Wearing glasses can also be tricky in front of camera lighting. Ask your camera crew what you need to think about when dressing for the shoot, and find an outfit that makes you feel confident.
Set yourself up for success!
Don’t worry about minor mistakes
Doing a million re-shoots because you mess up on a single word will only make your nerves grow. Your audience won’t mind a few mess-ups here and there. If anything, it will make your content seem more authentic.
Keep your head up high and laugh off eventual wording misses. Think about what you would’ve done in an in-person presentation. You’d probably re-word it, or try again and keep going, right? Keep that mindset for your video shoots too.
If your script is too wordy, consider re-writing it to feel more natural.
You can also consider writing a more free-form script with key notes, and talk around those notes, if reciting a full script feels too formal to you.
You can always edit out the parts you don’t like in the post production process (or ask your editors to do that for you).
Bring a glass of water
This one is simple, but effective. Being nervous can dry your mouth out quick. Remember to hydrate between takes!
Work with professionals
All you have to focus on is your own performance. The experts will make sure to take your work and turn it into a high quality video product that you can be proud of.
A trustworthy team behind the camera can also help you with all the points that we’ve mentioned so far. They can:
- Make sure the lighting and camera setup is flattering
- Ask you test questions to help you relax
- Guide and direct you when you have worries or questions
- Bring you snacks and water when you need it
Consider hiring a professional team for a smoother experience.
Keep up the momentum
Every skill takes a good amount of work and practice to grow. Examine your options of different topics you can film and get it done!
Try to keep your videos shorter than 2 minutes. 45 seconds to a minute is ideal to keep people’s attention. The shorter format will help you stay focused on improving your presentation, and lessen the pressure on you to perform for a long time.
Watch your videos back and see what you want to improve for next time. With time, you’ll be able to infuse your video performances with more and more of your own unique personality.
Keep at it! Feel proud of learning a new skill! Have fun!
Digital Art & Marketing Director