2 Ways To Immediately Look Better (And More Professional) On Video
Little hinges swing big doors. Sometimes small things can have a big effect. Here are two small tweaks you can make when presenting your videos that add value way beyond the effort involved.
NOTE: Sometimes you have to break the rules, or the rules will end up breaking you. Given that, remember that what I tell you here is not chiselled in stone. Start with these ideas and experiment.
Eye to Eye
How many times have you watched a video of someone speaking, they have their earbuds in and their laptop that is recording the video is on the desk, with the inbuilt webcam pointing up at them. Sometimes they are sitting on their couch with the laptop or tablet on their knees. I get it. You have to find somewhere quiet, away from the family. Just getting a quiet spot and the video recording is an achievement at times.
Two things are happening here.
First, you are sending a subliminal message to your viewer that your comfort is more important than theirs. You wouldn’t allow this in real life someone you don’t know comes over to you to talk, and you are sitting, out of courtesy, you would stand and continue the conversation. A real connection is made eye to eye. Eye level to eye level. Respect is shown. You size each other up on a level field.
By having your camera low, you give the viewer no option but to experience that you are looking down on them. Not a great way to build relationships.
Second, a low angle view looking up at your face is about as unflattering as it gets for most people. If you don’t mind a double chin then keep doing it. If not, then raise your laptop/smartphone to eye level. A stack of books is all it takes. It makes you look so much more professional just by raising the camera to eye level.
Heart To Heart
If I had one light, only one to use to light my face when I was speaking, and that light was a simple desk lamp, I would put it directly above the camera, as close as possible to the lens.
There are two reasons for this:
1. It makes you look younger.
This is the classic beauty light is placed in this position, as close to the lens as possible and usually slightly above. So if you want to look younger, then do this.
In cinematography, there’s another use for a light in this position. This is called an eye light. Your eyes are mirrors. If you look into a photograph and you can see detail in the eyes you can see what lights have been used and where they have been placed. The eyes don’t lie. Because they are mirrors and reflect the light, you get highlights on the eyes in the pictures.
2. If you don’t have these little white highlights in your eyes there is an emotional connection lost.
They say the eyes are the windows to the souls. These little highlights seem to let the viewer in. Ask any Hollywood cinematographer. Directors will be looking at the video split screen saying, I need to see the eyes. More eye light. More eye light.
One longtime 60 Minutes cameraman used to only travel with a household light bulb in a holder just to get a twinkle in the eye.
The emotional difference those little white dots makes is enormous.
So if you want to build relationships and convey emotion rather than just deliver information in your videos, then put the camera at eye level and if you have a desk lamp, use it.
Eye to Eye: Heart To Heart. Little hinges swing big doors.