Guide to Being on a Video Set

McKayla Kreutzkamp
11 Jan 2022

Being on camera or in a studio is intimidating and scary for many people. “How do I prepare? What do I wear? How do I act?” These anxious thoughts may run through your head, especially if you’ve never been on set before. We wrote this guide so you’ll be well prepared for anything on your next shoot.  

*Please note that this guide was made with corporate video production in mind. A lot of these sets will include interviews and testimonials (talking heads), or any other style that applies to a business setting.*

 

How to Prepare Before the Video Shoot

Physical and mental preparation are key factors that influence your performance on camera. Often those who show up to the set tired or hungry have a difficult time providing clean answers or presenting themselves well on camera. Nerves or fear cause people to stray from their regular routine. Don’t stray from it. If you have coffee every morning, make sure to have your cup of joe!

Knowing your shoot’s purpose and what you’ll be speaking about is important. You can ask the producer or the company shoot organizer for this crucial information. 

Run through your list of questions before appearing on set. Putting yourself in the right headspace before the camera speeds will clear and prevent a lot of tension, especially if you find yourself nervous when answering questions. A friend or family member can help you practice - either the questions provided by the producer or some they come up with on their own.  If you do practice interview questions, focus on creating a general answer rather than memorizing a structured one. The purpose for an interview is to promote a natural conversation. 

To ensure you’re physically and mentally prepared, here are tips to help you feel better and think clearer:

  • Get a good night’s rest
  • Hydrate and have your morning coffee or caffeinated beverage
  • Stick to your regular routine
  • Eat before showing up to set
  • Review the purpose of the shoot and how the video will be used
  • Practice interview questions, but do not memorize your answers

Clothing and Jewelry

The clothes and accessories you wear on camera are important for a video's aesthetic. As the subject, our crew wants the focus to be on you, so avoid anything distracting. 

Because of how the camera registers images, anything with small, tight patterns or pinstripes should be avoided. These patterns cause the video to waver in an effect known as moiré. This creates a static-like visual that is very distracting to the viewer. Big, blocky patterns, chunky jewelry, or extreme makeup, should be avoided because they draw attention away from the face. Reflective materials cause hot spots, making lighting the subject more difficult for the crew. For corporate shoots, dark, solid colors show up on camera better than bright, vibrant colors. Wearing something like a navy blue blazer paired with a lightly-colored button up would be appropriate for the camera, whereas something like a fluorescent yellow would create lighting issues for the crew (like with chunky jewelry). Bright colors tend to make light bounce off of you, so sticking to darker tones is the most beneficial for being on a corporate shoot. Essentially, comfortable and simple outfits will make you look and feel confident while on camera and make it easier for the crew to light you.

Here is what you should avoid wearing:

  • Colors that are the same or similar to the background
  • Bright fluorescent colors - especially bright green, yellow, or red
  • Silky, shiny, or reflective materials
  • Small, tight patterns or pinstripes
  • Large distracting patterns
  • Chunky and distracting jewelry or accessories

Here is a list of what you should wear to set:

  • Solid-colors
  • Simple-patterns
  • Comfortable clothes

Makeup and Hair

 

Some sets will have a hair and makeup artist (HMUA) that is skilled in handling any hair and makeup issue; however, most corporate sets won’t have one. When working with a HMUA, feel free to tell them what styles you prefer. If you don’t look like your usual self or don’t feel comfortable with your hairstyle or makeup, then let them know. HMUAs are doing their best to enhance the features you already have to make you feel confident on camera. They will adjust accordingly to help you gain that confidence.

When doing your own makeup, remember that the lights can be hot, causing you to sweat and wash out the color from your face. Having some touch-up makeup on hand, especially face powder, can be quite helpful. While doing your own makeup, don’t use trendy styles or fads - stick to natural-looking makeup. This will come off as the most professional and least distracting. You may have to put on a little extra so that the lights don’t wash you out completely.

If you don’t typically wear makeup and feel most comfortable without it, then don’t worry about putting any on. 

When it comes to hair, creating a style that reduces fly aways has the best results. If you have longer hair, it typically looks best worn down. If you decide to put it in a ponytail or an updo, this will make you look like you have short hair or not as much. If you are alright with that, then go for it! For those on camera that are bald, the crew may put powder on your head for any bright or reflective spots.

Hair and makeup tips to remember:

  • Natural and professional makeup styles
  • No extreme and overdone makeup (including trendy or fad makeup)
  • Putting hair into a ponytail or an updo (makes the person seem like they have short hair) 

How to Act on Camera and Answer Questions

The best way to act on camera or on set is by being you! The producer will have a natural conversation with you. The cameras may seem intimidating, but ignore them and focus on talking with the producer. Their job is to make you look and sound confident during the interview. The crew will take care of the rest. Remember, it’s okay to start a question over as many times as you need because the editors cut out all mistakes in post-production. 

Tips on acting on camera:

  • Be you
  • Let your personality shine
  • Act natural

When it comes time for camera speed, the interviewer will hopefully have put you at ease. They will ask questions to provide context - who, what, when, where, why, and how. From there, more questions about the purpose of the interview will be discussed.

Being in front of the camera creates a unique and exciting perspective. While the ways to prepare for this process are endless, BW Productions does its best to ensure that the final cut and entire experience are uplifting and positive. We hope this guide will help you feel more comfortable and confident on set!

 

Want to learn how to best prepare for recording yourself on Zoom? Check out our article HERE.

 

BW Productions is a production company located in the heart of Salt Lake City. Have an idea for a video but don’t have a way to produce it? SCHEDULE an appointment today and our team will guide you through the process!

McKayla Kreutzkamp

UWIPP

Utah Women in Production and Photography was founded by women for women. Their mission is to advocate for women in their respective industries. Women provide unique perspectives, skills and insight, making impactful decisions on set. BW Productions is proud to represent a dedicated group that advocates for and collaborates with women.