How to Be Authentic On Camera

How to Be Authentic On Camera

1024 576 The RealSelf Team

You’re an expert in your field and have valuable information and insights to share, but appearing awkward or uncomfortable when on camera can get in the way of delivering this message.

An important aspect of making a connection with the viewer is to be yourself and “act natural.” But what does that mean and how can you accomplish it? Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for coming across as authentic and relaxed on video.

Be in your element

Make sure you’re comfortable in terms of both dress and setting. Being comfortable in what you’re wearing and where you’re speaking can promote a more relaxed and natural attitude on camera.

Let’s start with the clothes.
  • Make sure what you’re wearing fits well. This will help reduce self consciousness and prevent you from engaging in subconscious behavior that will come across as awkward on camera, like shifting, tugging at your clothes, or awkwardly hiding an area you’re uncomfortable with.
  • Stay away from reflective and patterned fabrics. They can cast weird shadows and look unflattering, especially if you’re using any lighting.
  • Stick with the classics. Increase the shelf life of your video by opting out of wearing pieces that might look dated in short order.
  • Dress the part. Don’t forget your scrubs. If they’re where you feel most in your element, put them in your shoot day rotation.
Now, where to shoot?
  • Throughout your office. What a great opportunity to switch up settings for visual interest and showcase your facility. Your operating room, personal office, front desk, waiting room—all of these are viable options for shooting video and are ostensibly places where you’ll feel a sense of ownership that can project onto the screen.
  • Favorite local haunt. With permission from management, shooting a video at a coffee shop or your favorite table at a local restaurant where you go to relax—or hold court—can be another option. These can help you showcase your personality outside of the office and play up your persona as not just a doctor or provider, but as a local community member and a business owner that supports other business. Just remember: you’ll have a lot less control over the shooting situation, and ambient noise will be something to look out for. Opt for off hours, or see about commandeering an unused party room on the premises. Offer to give the location a shoutout in the video.
  • In your car. In show business it’s called “OTF,” or on-the-fly video. If you feel starved for downtime and commute in your car, then your smartphone and a clamp for your dashboard can present a solid opportunity to shoot off-the-cuff video. Focusing on the road will take your mind off of the camera presence and help you feel more at ease.
Know What You’re Going to Say and Who You’re Speaking To

It’s a good idea to write down what you want to say. Think of it as a cheat sheet that you’re not going to use in real time, but as a way to gather your thoughts, think ahead of time about the points you want to make along the way, where they lead to, and a summary of the end result. Organizing your thoughts in this way will help you streamline the message with a succinct delivery that doesn’t feel too rehearsed, memorized or unnatural.

If you need prompts when the camera starts rolling, consider bullet points with no more than a few words—just enough to jog your memory.

Honesty is the Best Policy

When addressing the possibility of complications of a procedure, address them head on. Dr. Chase Lay recently sat with RealSelf CEO Tom Seery to discuss this topic and more during a recent episode of Hey Seery.

“When a patient asks me, ‘What kind of risks can I expect from filler injections: bruising and swelling?’ I tell them that’s not even a risk or a complication—that’s expected,” he told Tom. “The worst thing that can happen is you go blind where you have a stroke or have tissue necrosis.”

If you’re going to discuss the details of procedures in your videos, don’t fudge. The verbal gymnastics is takes to split hairs or paper over the worst will come off bumbling and insincere. Instead, give your viewers the black-and-white worst-and-best.

Perfection is Not the Goal

One of your primary goals for these videos should be to present your expertise in the subject matter, and to begin to connect with the viewer. These videos don’t necessarily have to take a long time to shoot or produce. Here are some key points to keep in mind.

  • Camera phones are fine. The technology currently used in Apple and Android phones is exceptionally good. You don’t need to worry about a fancy setup.
  • Good lighting is good. And natural lighting works great. If natural light is not possible, consider investing in a simple ring light. This will ensure the lighting is uniform, attractive, and simple to set up.
  • Great sound is great. Crisp sound can really elevate a video, and it’s not super expensive to come by. A simple boom mic like the Rode or a lapel microphone that plugs right into your smartphone are both great options.
  • Subtitles are the best. Many video sharing platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, have options to auto-add captions to your videos. Forty percent of Instagram videos are viewed without the sound on.
  • You don’t need to worry about heavy editing. These are not intended to be Hollywood quality. Small flubs and missteps are ok and can add to you coming across as a relatable person who is simply having a conversation with the viewer.
  • Look at the camera when filming a “talking head”-style video. It feels personal to the viewer. Want to feel more at ease? Many people find it helpful to place a picture of a friend or loved one next to the camera and speak directly to them.
Let’s Go to the Tape

Like a pro athlete watching game tape, in the beginning it can be a valuable tactic to rewatch your videos and take notes.

This is hard for a lot of people, and there’s some science behind it that you might be familiar with depending on your specialty. The mere exposure effect posits that people react better to things they have more exposure to. In the case of humans and their faces, it’s the version of themselves they see reflected in the mirror. On camera, their visage is flipped and, in their eyes, a bit deformed.

So try to power through it. In your review, take notice of anything that doesn’t transfer well or might be distracting in your movements, verbal tics, or the environment (like too much noise from traffic outside of a window, which can be hard to catch when you’re immersed in recording mode). Tightening up on these items in the beginning will set you on a path to being a more seasoned pro over time. And forcing yourself to watch our videos will make it much easier over time as you get used to the flipped view of your face.