Hello, SEers. As you can see, today we are going to talk about the best foot forward position should you get the opportunity to do a video interview or presentation on YouTube or elsewhere. Before getting into the tips, let’s set the stage. You are launching a new book, and you get a call from someone wanting to know if you would like to do a video interview. Does your heart freeze? Do your palms turn to fountains and your stomach to a butterfly storage unit? If so, then you have come to the right place. There is no need for any of these feelings if you remember the tips I’m going to share.
The tips fall under one of four areas Light, Sound, Material, and Delivery. Let’s take them one at a time.
Light – I’m sure you have seen videos where you almost believe the recording is in the dark. The person talking is all but invisible in what appears to be a shadow. This is someone who did not give any thought to light.
Before you record a video, turn on the camera and take a look at how you appear, rest assured how you look now will be how you will look on the video. To get the best light, think in terms of how nature lights up the place. The sun shines directly and indirectly. Direct sunlight is harsh. The indirect is more pleasant. Like nature, there are always shadows. So, what you need to do is record in a room that is well lit. This is either by you or nature. A light above will give you the effect of being bathed. (Think of the Movie Carrie) If you don’t add some indirect light, you will be in harsh light with not favorable results. (Picture your nose casting a large shadow on your mouth.) I prefer to use uplighting from two different sources. All you need is a white ceiling and two lamps positioned on the floor or a table off camera.
Sound – I think we are all aware of how poorly our computer microphones perform. I’m not going to recommend that you run out and buy a broadcast mic but will give a couple of hints on how to maximize your computer mic.
You need to cut down on as much of the ambient noise as you can. Yes, we all know about screaming kids and barking dogs, but other sounds need elimination as well. If you have a ceiling fan, it needs to be turned off. If you have a humidifier or dehumidifier in the room, they should be turned off. Your heating and air-conditioning will interfere with the sound, so for the length of the interview, set the thermostat higher or lower depending on the direction that will turn the unit off. Since most videos do not last more than an hour, it won’t kill you. Finally, close the door of the room where you are doing the interview. All these actions will reduce ambient noise and improve your broadcast quality.
Material – A well-prepared interview or broadcast is a pleasant experience. This means you should make a list of talking points that you want to cover during your time on the air. If you are going to show anything during the broadcast, make sure that the item is held directly in front of the camera. If you hold it to the side, it will create a trapezoid effect and be hard to read. Also, the light will tend to wash out the writing if it hits the material directly.
Delivery – You will do well to remember one rule. No law says you have to keep talking. What this means is you don’t need to put “um” into the pauses in conversation. This is a bad habit that is annoying to anyone who views the video. It is tough to break this habit, but not impossible. When you are talking and come to the end of what you want to say, just stop. If it is an interview, the other person will pick up the conversation. If you need to pause in your discussion, just hesitate. You do not need “um” as a filler.
Your delivery should include looking directly into the camera. If you look above, you will resemble a space cadet. If you look below, you will resemble someone ready to fall asleep.
All notes that you need should be taped on either side of the camera and in 16-point font. You can review notes using your peripheral vision without your audience knowing.
A mention about appearance: unless you have sold a million books, you should appear on camera, looking like an average person.
There you have it. I hope this post gives you some tips that you can use. The critical point is to go ahead and do interviews and participate in YouTube events. Just bear these tips in mind.