Being Comfortable in Front of the Camera

Lights, Camera, Action: Being Comfortable in Front of the Camera

It’s time for you to step in front of a camera. This is completely out of your comfort zone. What do you do? How do you relax? How do you get the shot without doing 100 takes? Being comfortable AND confident in front of a camera is a skill that may come naturally to some. For others, however, being in front of a camera could be just as big of a fear as speaking to a thousand people from a stage. Depending on your video’s reach, you might actually be reaching thousands of viewers.

So, how do you learn to be comfortable in front of a camera? It’s not an overnight transition, but there are some steps you can take to help you get there.

 

Practice

Practice is key to everything – literally everything. You want to be a better saxophone player? Practice. You want to knit better? Practice. You want to carve the world’s best ice sculpture with a chainsaw? Practice. I was fortunate enough to take a class specifically for anchoring in college from a wonderful and experienced professor. We would go into the studio and practice all the time, and let me tell you, that first practice compared to the last one was night and day. So practice! In front of a mirror, in front of your family or friends, in front of your “fur child” (they’ll think you’re perfect, even if you mess up!). If you can, practice in the actual studio where you will be filming. If you are going to be in front of the camera frequently, record yourself practicing and critique yourself if you can. This step is awkward and uncomfortable at first, but you’ll realize things you never knew you did and it will only help you become more comfortable in that setting.

Write a Script

If you have a script written, you can 1: practice it ahead of time and 2: stay focused and on track while filming. Knowing that you don’t have to be creative right on the spot helps relieve a TON of stress, and helps you relax. If you need to go back in and refilm anything, you know you don’t have to worry about remembering what you were saying. Your mind can be at ease knowing that you have written a script, you have edited this script, you have practiced this script and you can go in and film like a pro.

Dress to Impress

I’ve talked about this in depth before in my blog post What to Wear On Camera, and it is deserving of another mention. Think about a time you went on a first date. Didn’t you take some extra time to make sure you looked your best and felt fantastic? That’s the kind of confidence you want to exude when filming. If you feel great, a lot of your nerves will disappear making you more comfortable and ready to film!

Know Your Camera Operator

This one is huge for me. Take the time to develop a relationship with the person behind the camera. That way when you are talking to the camera, you are talking to a friend. Typically the camera operator is going to be right behind or beside the camera, so you need to be comfortable looking in their direction. When I’m not talent in our training videos, I’m the camera operator and I make sure to make it a fun experience for the talent. If they screw up, that’s okay! Let’s reset and try it again. Even if it takes an hour. I want to make sure they are comfortable and able to give their best. If you are working in a big operation and there is a floor director, know them too! You are working with these people constantly, so get to know them and make sure you are having fun in the studio, while remaining professional of course! Now, if there is no camera operator and it is just you and the camera, then just imagine you are talking to a friend!

Confidence

If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you aren’t going to be comfortable. You are your worst critic, but you could be your best! Pump yourself up. Be your own cheerleader. Know what you have to offer and bring that confidence to the studio. Once you build yourself up and have that confidence, nothing can stop you from being amazing on-camera talent.

 

It takes a deep understanding of yourself and likely pushing yourself out of your cozy comfort zone to become comfortable in front of the camera. There are thousands of things you can do to make yourself a little more comfortable in front of the camera, but these are a few of my favorites, the ones I think are a great starting point. Work on these 5 points, take some deep breathes, and walk into that studio like a boss.


Do you have anything you do before you film that helps ease your nerves? Have any questions on how to conquer some of your on-camera anxieties? We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below!

Audrey is a senior Instructional Designer with the Learning & Professional Development team at Northern Arizona University. She has a B.S. in Electronic Media and Film with an emphasis in Entertainment Management and an M.Ed. in Educational Technology from NAU. With her experience as a newsroom weather director and on-screen talent, as well as multiple years of experience teaching in a university classroom setting, Audrey brings a unique perspective to the LPD team.

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