This week MiniMatters presents a three-part series of video interview tips that tackle common concerns about appearing in a video. We’ll start with what will make you look good in a video using this example of a short cat video from YouTube.

As their many fans will note, cats usually look good on video. They never have oily or sallow skin or bad hair, and clothing is rarely a distraction. Yet bad lighting can ruin even a cat’s appearance. With human subjects, the effect is far worse. Lighting issues will prevent viewers from focusing on important statements and messages. It’s hard to make a connection with a subject without good lighting.

Therefore, a professional video company will usually place you in a lighting set up designed to get rid of harsh shadows and to ensure that the most expressive parts of your face—your eyes—are well lit. They might use a classic three-point lighting set up with a strong key light, a fill light and a back light. Softbox lights are quick to set up and provide a softer light that is easier on the subject, and some settings allow for some combination of these and natural lighting. Outdoor shoots may not require artificial lighting at all.

The background also influences your appearance in video. Some shoots may use a canvas backdrop that will have the effect of focusing attention on you. For other shoots, the producers may seek out a setting that enhances the subject’s story by showing her in her own environment or with objects she cares about  or that invoke key themes.

This image from one of our videos shows how a subject should look on video.  The lighting set up (a combination of natural light and two other lights) make her look crisp, professional, and ready to say something worth hearing.  And the background shows that she’s in a position of leadership and gives a touch of her personality—she’s a West Virginia fan.

Capital-Caring-Video-Interview-TipsSince most people in MiniMatters videos don’t have a make-up artist or a costume designer at their disposal, we encourage our subjects to contribute to our effort by picking clothing and colors that they know look good on them—for example, this great peach blouse.  As we’ve said in an earlier post, clothing “don’ts” for a shoot include stripes, polka dots or other attention-grabbing patterns.

Women can wear the same make-up they usually would, but we recommend both men and women add a bit of base powder or concealer dabbed on the cheeks and forehead. This will eliminate the glare of oil or sweat on the skin.

With those few video interview tips, and video producers with some know-how, the answer to “how will I look in the video?” will be “excellent.” Most of the people in our videos are not professional TV actors. They have important and authentic stories to convey. Knowing a little more about the techniques a professional video company uses to help people look, sound, and communicate their best may help them feel more comfortable. It may also help you, as your chances to be in front of the camera will increase as video continues to grow. Opportunities to be in videos are sure to become more frequent in the coming years—and we hope these video interview tips will help you enjoy them.

Tomorrow we’ll present some video interview tips on how to sound your best.

If MiniMatters can help you with fundraising video, association video, or other video production needs, we’d love to talk with you at 301-339-0339 or via email at [email protected]. We serve associations, foundations, and businesses primarily in Washington, DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia.

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