Going from behind the mic to in front of the camera is a BIG difference, in fact, it’s so huge that I’ve decided to share my own experience with you.
Fortunately, I’m working with someone who understands where this audio girl is coming from. This same person worked with Don LaFontaine at one point in Los Angeles so you know he’s good.
Hear what I’ve come to learn and also find out what worked for me on VOX Daily.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about on-camera and how it came to be that I can share my experiences doing so. At Voices.com we have decided to make a series of videos for the web pertinent to the voice over industry and are working with Adam Caplan of Web.isod.es. You might recall Adam’s name as he has contributed to VOX Daily from the perspective of a producer who has worked with Don LaFontaine on the Practice of Brevity.
Ashley Hall, an Account Executive at Voices.com (check out our Facebook page to meet her), is assisting me in this process and we’ve learned a lot, much of which is detailed in today’s posting.
What you read here are insights and experiences gleaned from the screen tests we did on July 20th, 2010.
Standing in the Limelight
A green screen is a creature I’ve heard about but have never encountered personally until today. Something you should not do, which of course I did, was to wear green or yellow in front of a green screen. I wanted to make sure that this wouldn’t cause an issue for my hair colour (I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which one that is) and was assured that it would not be a terrible thing.
There are a number of factors one must think of when on-camera that are moot subjects for individuals safely nestled behind the microphone. One of these points is your clothing.
No one cares what you are wearing when recording a voice over so long as it doesn’t make noise that ruins the audio.
When you are on-camera people can see you and your physical appearance. What you choose to wear will make an enormous impact on how people receive your message. If a green screen is in use, the colours you choose to wear also matter. Here are some tips to consider when using a green screen:
Run Away from the Following and Avoid like the Plague:
à¹ Green clothing
à¹ Yellow clothing
à¹ Flashy jewelry
à¹ Noisy jewelry
à¹ Hair that moves too much (banish frizzies, tie it back or flat iron it ladies)
à¹ Open toe shoes (I know!)
Teleprompter VS Powerpoint
Have you ever tried to read from a teleprompter before?
I had never in my life attempted this and was amazed by how everything worked. Many people on TV aren’t as brilliant as you might think… most of them follow a teleprompter or many teleprompters as the case may be when on live television to deliver the news or share tidbits about a featured guest. This includes news anchors, talk show hosts and on-camera personalities in sports, entertainment and more.
I was given the choice between trying to read from the teleprompter or from a Powerpoint. We tried the teleprompter first. It kind of reminded me of how an accompanist needs to follow a singer. Although it worked to a degree, I found that because I wasn’t used to the teleprompter, some difficulty ensued when trying to speak at a comfortable pace. Parts of me wanted to get ahead of the teleprompter because I wanted more context for what I was saying in relation to what came next.
While reading from a teleprompter was doable, I found that reading from a Powerpoint was the better option for me. As it turns out, all of the voice people Adam has worked with also prefer the Powerpoint to the teleprompter because they see more of the bigger picture and also can establish their own pace.
Exaggerate! Bigger is Better
While the camera may be known for adding 10 lbs, it is notorious for zapping you of your energy, shrinking the most natural gestures that even the most animated Italian can muster and reducing normal movement to a restrained attempt to use your arms effectively.
Bigger is better when acting on-camera. Your movements need to be deliberate and nearly twice as big as you would deem appropriate in any other setting.
Your Voice is Awesome… Now, if the Rest Would Follow!
When presenting, my voice was projected well, fluctuated and came through with a crisp, inviting delivery. On the contrary, my physical presence outside of smiling eyes and a smiling face, was not.
This comes with time and may not even happen after the first session. What you can do to loosen up is practice in front of a mirror to become used to making larger motions and how to hold your hands. The worst thing you can do is to not move at all and appear to be frozen.
Be aware that physical tension may creep in. This is easier to spot on-camera.
If you have physical tension when you perform, this may become glaringly obvious when on-camera. Know where these areas of tension are and see if you can relax those areas. Whether it’s locked knees, curled up fingers or some kind of overcompensation posture wise, you need to identify it and find a way to subdue or eliminate tension so that it doesn’t come across in the footage. Sometimes this tension affects the voice as well. While most tension can’t be spotted easily in an audio recording, it’s a different ball game when on-camera.
Do You Have Any Tips or Experiences to Share?
For those of you who have been on-camera before and have tips to share, please do! Your comments and stories will help those who have not been on-camera but are required to do so at some point. I for one could use your advice and trust there are others who would appreciate it too.
Looking forward to hearing from you!