On-Camera Interview Tips

  • Focus: Video

So you’ve got an on-camera interview coming up? Here are a few tips on what to wear when you’re in front of the lens, and what you can expect during an interview.

CLOTHING

The camera looks for the predominant value in the scene so it can balance everything else. With the technology in mind, here are our suggestions for outfit options.

Keep in mind that these suggestions are meant to harmonize the aesthetic, not to stifle your clothing options or personality.

We strongly recommend bringing at least two or three outfit options, as the surrounding environment will also play a key factor in overall appearance.
 

Colors

  • We do not recommend wearing all black or all white shirts, or outfits. A lot of black can cause an overexposure of other, brighter colors. All white forces the camera to seek a middle value as base for the other colors and consequently under expose them. Any of these can then cause a loss of detail and often make it hard to get skin tones looking good.
  • Another challenge is in high contrast images. Avoid combinations of contrasting light and dark colors such as black and white, dark brown and white or dark blue and white.
  • Bold colors can certainly do a lot to project certain traits of your personality but how they are paired with other items can make a big difference. If you are wearing a bright red tie over a very neutral shirt, the color could easily bleed. This can also make your face look flush as the camera attempts to balance everything in the scene.
  • It is always helpful to stay away from primary solid colors, bright red, bright blue or bright green; avoid bright orange. Choose off or lighter versions of the colors.
  • Cool blues, natural tones and pastels are great colors to consider, as are Earth tones, such as beige, dark green, brown and blues.

 

Patterns

  • Solid colors are best. Avoid fine checks, stripes, herringbone, and similar patterns. Pinstripes, checks, herringbones and textured fabrics will wreak havoc for the camera.

 

Material / Fabric / Style

  • Avoid very glossy, sequined or metallic clothing. There will be lights pointed at you, and anything reflective will cause excessive shine for the camera.
  • Avoid clinging attire, short or low-cut necklines. Depending on camera angles, seating arrangements and general environment, such styles may appear unflattering or inappropriate.

 

Accessories / Jewelry

  • Jewelry can always be a nice touch for anyone. However, ensure that your jewelry is not very reflective, and that it does not cause too much noise. The microphones are very sensitive, and will pick up jangles and jingles as you move.
  • Watches and rings – especially if they are large – tend to bang on stuff, including tables, keyboards and other surfaces that may be present on-set. Bring some options, or be mindful of your gestures.

 

Makeup / Hair

This section is applicable to both men and women.

  • Use makeup sparingly (if at all).
  • You can wear a foundation if you like, but more importantly, use powder to minimize excessive shine (on the nose, chin, forehead or bald spots). Use powder that closely matches your skin coloring. Be extremely cautious in the use of rouge because it will stand out on video if used in normal shading.
  • Keep any other make-up simple, if possible. Avoid make-up which contains glitter, or is “frosted.” The camera may be tightly zoomed in on your face at times, and excessive or layered make-up may look overly unnatural or distracting. Lipstick should be of a lighter coloring. If possible, stay away from deep reds and extremely glossy types.
  • Because the eye of the camera focuses on a man’s beard more than the human eye does, try to shave as closely as possible before going on camera if you choose to be clean-shaven. If you’re scheduled to appear later in the day, bring a razor. Be mindful to bring the appropriate lotion if you are prone to bumps or red spots.
  • If possible, do not get a haircut within a week of appearing on camera.
  • Style your hair to keep it away from your face and out of your eyes.
  • Some hair pieces may appear to be a different color on camera. If you intend to wear one, bring some options.

 
 

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR INTERVIEW

On-Camera Interview Tips - Waverley Knobs - Boston MA

Lapel (or Clip) Microphone


During a recording you may be asked to wear a lapel microphone. The lapel microphone is a small microphone with a clip that attaches to your clothing, as close to your mouth as feasible.

You may also be asked to clip on a small box (known as a ‘transmitter’). This transmitter sends out the signal from the microphone to a receiver (usually positioned somewhere else in the room). The audio engineer will control the sound levels from the receiver. The advantage of wearing a lapel microphone is that it gives you, the speaker, freedom of movement. And also it gives the audio engineer quality sound for use in the video production.

Boom Microphone

There may also be a boom microphone installed in the room, typically above or below the camera sight lines, in front of you. The sound from the boom mic will assist the audio engineer in capturing both ambient noise and offer a richer, fuller sound to the audio of your dialogue.

Microphone Etiquette & Extraneous Sounds

  • Speak into the microphone using your natural voice. The audio person will adjust the sound level from the receiver during your sound check before filming begins.
  • If possible, wear an outfit that has pockets or a belt to attach the transmitter, and a collar, or an outfit on which it is suitable to clip a lapel microphone. The transmitter will sometimes be powered by batteries – and may need to be turned on and off, so ensure that it is placed appropriately so that you, or the audio engineer, may be able to access it easily.
  • Avoid tapping the top of the microphone at any time to see if it is working. This can damage the microphone. The most professional way to check if a microphone is working (or ‘live’) is to speak through it; the audio engineer will let you know if it is or it is not working.
  • Be conscious of cupping or hitting the microphone with your hands by mistake.
  • Avoid rattling your notes, tapping or fidgeting with your outfit or wearing jewelry that rattles. Such sounds will be picked up by the microphone and cannot be removed during post-production; consequently they will take away from your presentation/ performance. The audio engineer may alert you to these noises, and ask that you repeat a previous section or sentence, to ensure great audio for your video.
  • Everyone gets stomach growls, now and then. Such sounds will be picked up by the microphone and cannot be removed during post-production. While sometimes unavoidable, to stop your stomach from growling, make sure there is always a little bit of food in it. If such noises, or others, occur, simply stop your presentation, and continue again once they have stopped. The audio engineer may alert you to the same.

Waverley Knobs - Boston MA - Video Production

ON-CAMERA ETIQUETTE

You're dressed to impress and ready to go. What happens when you're in front of the camera?

  • In a video interview situation, you will be answering questions asked by an interviewer seated elsewhere in the room, possibly right next to the camera. During recording don’t look into the camera, and don’t try to give your answer or statement to any other person in the room besides the interviewer. Just focus on the questioner as if they were the only person in the room. (You may see people being interviewed on news programs from a remote questioner, in which case they speak directly to the camera. During other typical interviews, just interact with the interviewer as if you’re conversing with them only.)
  • Keep your eyes only on the interviewer until “Cut” is called by the director.
  • While the interviewer or another person is speaking, avoid giving vocal cues or comments such as “Uh huh,” or “I don’t agree,” or “I see.” Instead, nod or smile.
  • If you are speaking about another person in your answers, refer to him/her by name. For example, instead of saying “He was my post-graduate supervisor...” say “John was my post-graduate supervisor...” Where possible, include the interviewer’s question at the start of your answer. For example, to answer the question “Why did you choose teaching as a profession? instead of saying “My mother was a teacher...” say “I chose teaching as a profession because of my mother, who was a teacher...”
  • Try to avoid doing any nervous, repetitive actions such as moving a thumb in circles or scratching. Viewers are drawn to and distracted by repetitive actions.
  • Always assume you are on camera. By doing this, you will avoid being caught yawning, scratching, making faces, etc. If appropriate, try to smile often.
  • Sit up straight or lean forward a bit. Appear to be engaged in the conversation and try to avoid reclining deeply in your seat. If possible, cross your feet at the ankles or plant your feet squarely on the ground.
  • Relax and move naturally. The more relaxed and natural you are, the better you will appear. Being too formal may put too much emotional distance between you and the audience. So, just be yourself and don’t rush through your topic.
  • Don’t over prepare or memorize unless you are a vigorous and frequent speech giver. Otherwise, let the production team help you get the information across with their questions. They can record several takes of your answer.
  • Please, don’t keep notes in your hand. You will instinctively look to them for help and you should focus on what’s in your head, not what’s on the paper.
  • Most of all, the key is to relax and enjoy the process. The reason you are being interviewed is because you are extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and articulate about a subject. Let that knowledge and passion come out naturally, and your personality will shine on camera!

 
 

Want to learn more?

Interested in learning more about the video production process? If you're interested in doing your own interviews, or any other videos, check out Demystifying the Video Production Process to give yourself a solid start!



   

Tatiana Ivan

Originally from Romania, Tatiana Ivan combines operational prowess with creative flair to produce smart and visually stunning brands. With degrees in neuroscience and psychology from Brandeis University plus experience working with start-ups in the biomedical and pharma industries, Tatiana knows first-hand that the most powerful way to persuade people to get behind an idea, concept or product – no matter how creative, technical or complex – is by telling a compelling story. As the COO and Creative Partner of Waverley Knobs, she combines powerful cinematography and compelling storylines for clients so they stand out and shine in the market.

In addition to turning visions into reality and running the daily show at Waverley Knobs, Tatiana is a twice-published poet. She’s also a certified InsideOut® Coach, able to unlock the knowledge, skill and talent already within people and teams so they can improve performance and results.

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