Did you ever see that episode of The Brady Bunch when Cindy was on the TV show, the camera light went on when they went live, and she froze like a deer in the headlights? Well, stagefright in front of a camera doesn’t happen just to kids.
Corporate communicators who do videos in their organization have to use mostly employees or customers as their actors or interviews. The thing is that, in most cases, these folks aren’t actors and they get nervous when they see the redlight on top of a camcorder. The good part is that corporate communicators don’t do a lot of live video (unless you’re doing Facebook Video or Periscope). And there are some steps you can take to prepare and help camera-shy people do their very best when it comes time to record.
Send Questions In Advance
Remember, you’re not setting up your interviewees for a caught-on-camera ambush. Send them the questions in advance so they can contemplate their answers and the points they want to make. If they’re camera-shy, they’ll have enough stress thinking about the camera in front of them; they don’t need to keep thinking, “I wonder what he’ll ask next.”
Prep the Interviewee Before You Roll
Even if you send the questions in advance, it’s good to take a few minutes and have a chat with them to get them more comfortable. Ask if the questions were OK and if they wanted to cover anything else that you might have missed. After that’s determined, just give them another rundown: “I’ll start the camera, then I’ll ask you about this, then this, then this.” They’ll appreciate the attention you’re giving to making them feel at ease, and they’ll perform better when the camera starts to roll.
They’re not just for late-night talkshow hosts! There are plenty of people who, despite the pre-interview prep you’ve provided, just need a visual prompt to ensure they give the answers they want. For these folks, good old-fashioned cue cards can do the trick. Have some posterboard and a marker handy in case you need to write out a script or bullet points. Many times, the person will send you the answers he/she wants to give in advance, so you’ll have time to write out the cards. When it’s time to roll, hold the cards where you want the subject to look.
Same principle as above, only if you’re looking to step into the 21st Century, a teleprompter app could be useful. There are several available for the iPad, such as Prompster Pro, Prompterous, iQPrompter, and Best Prompter Pro. You can adjust the scrolling speeds and font sizes to the liking of your interviewee.
Stop and Help
Some people just can’t relax when talking in front of a camera. They stumble, search for words, or ramble. That’s when it’s perfectly fine for an intervention. If they’re stumbling, stop them and let them know that they don’t need to have the perfect answer and that you can fix most problems with editing. If they’re rambling, stop them and help them find the answer for which they’re searching. There have been plenty of times when I’ve said to an interviewee, “I think what you’re trying to say is, “(blank).” They often appreciate the help because you’re helping them sound better.
Have you done a lot of video interviews? What have you done to make your subjects feel more at ease? Let us know in the Comment section!
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