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As a 10 year veteran photographing weddings I am quite confident behind the camera. However in front of the camera it’s very different. Since starting YouTube something new I have had to learn is how to speak better on camera.
In this article there will be no shortcuts because there are none. I’ll list the proven techniques I have been using to slowly but surely improve how I speak on camera.
So let’s crack on!
Practice Practice Practice
It goes without saying that all these techniques require repeating again and again. Speaking better on camera does not happen overnight. It takes time and multiple videos. But using these techniques means you’ll get better speaking on camera quicker.
This all comes with time, and by the hundredth video my speaking should convey a decent amount of confidence and flow.
1. Script Your Video
When you’re first starting out, scripting your videos means you have one less thing to think about.
Making a YouTube video is a pretty intensive process which puts you in a few uncharted territories. Speaking on camera is on of those.
Not having to collect your thoughts on the spot means you can concentrate on everything else, like your voice tone or modulation.
I highly recommend this technique for your first few videos.
The main issue I find with reading a script is that I don’t sound authentic. I actually sound like I’m reading a script. Just check out one of my older videos compared to my newer ones which employ the next technique in this list:
It’s still not perfect, but there’s definitely a difference.
Another issue with having a script is where you place it. Place it next to your camera lens and you will look like your eyes are looking off screen or looking back and forth.
Viewers will find it uneasy if you don’t look right into the lens.
One way to combat this is to use a teleprompter to read your script. Obviously this does mean investing into one on Amazon:
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Last update on 2022-03-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
2. Write Bullet Points
When you’re ready, I believe scripting using bullet points are the best way to get all your information and thoughts on camera and have your voice flow.
I write my bullet points in my Notes app and pull it up on my iPhone when I’m filming.
I essentially just keep the titles of my script but add a few bullet points of the salient points I need to cover.
Above is the actual bullet pointed script I used for the video above.
With each point I have to expand on it, but without the actual words written down I will instead sound more genuine and my words flow easier when the words aren’t coming off a full script.
3. Read Your Lines Before Recording
More so for the previous point, but still relevant to full scripts, it helps to read out the portion of the script before you speak it out loud.
This way you can work out how you want to say what you have written. Maybe there are some words you want to add emphasis to or parts you need to adjust the modulation of your voice for.
4. Get a Large Memory Card
I am progressively filming longer videos in 4K 24p using the best bitrate codec available on my camera, so if I had a smaller SD card I would need to watch my record time so I don’t run out.
Having a larger memory card means you don’t have the worry at the back of your mind that you’ll run out of space.
You’ll be free to keep making mistakes, redoing sections over and over again until you’re happy. Having a smaller card means you don’t have this luxury.
5. Imagine Who You’re Talking To
There are a few popular phrases: “imagine your audience is naked” or “imagine you’re talking to a friend”.
You do this so that it becomes more comfortable talking to the camera lens.
When you talk to a friend you are yourself, friendly and flowing. This natural way of speaking is what you want to get on camera.
6. Show Off Your Personality
Coming off the last point, this is something you want to keep in mind. When filming we are concentrating so hard on getting the words right we can sound too informal and unlike ourselves.
If you can try to remember your own personality, how do you speak to your friends and family? Try to bring this out in the way you speak.
7. Look Straight at the Camera Lens
This can be especially difficult if you’re not using a teleprompter and your script is off to the side of the camera; or if you are using a flip screen and you keep looking at your video feed.
As I said earlier looking off screen can be quite distracting for the viewer. Looking directly at the camera lens is important to also hold your viewer’s gaze and attention.
Looking at the lens makes so you are looking directly at your viewer. And they at you. You will have their full attention better this way.
8. Dress for the Part
Dress to impress! Well it’s actually mainly to get into the rhythm of making a video. First you get your camera set up, lighting, and studio etc.
Then get your outfit and now you should be in the mindset to speak better. Being organised and ready does help you with nerves and how you sound.
9. Breathe and Relax
Which brings me to the last point. Try to be as calm as possible and when you’re finally ready to hit the record button, take a breath, relax and begin.
Dos and Don’ts
|Be animated, gesticulate!||Cross your arms|
|Smile||Look unfriendly and worried|
|Talk with flow||Talk too fast|
|Modulate your voice||Sound like a robot|
I hope this article points you in the right direction for to eventually speaking the way you want to on camera.
Artist / Photographer / Videographer