How to Direct Your Camera Talent

How to Direct Your Camera Talent

Video can be a fantastic medium for obtaining your audience’s attention and keeping them engaged. Video is generally more attention-getting than text, and it’s easy to share on your website, on social media, via email, or at conferences, meetings, or other events.

Many associations use video for a variety of purposes, including education, marketing, advocacy, and the dissemination of information. 

Even though it’s relatively cheap to shoot these days, it can be difficult to create high-quality video, especially when filming people who aren’t professional actors. How you approach filming sessions is crucial, and determines whether you’ll create an authentic and professional video instead of one that is stilted and awkward.  

Here are six tips for directing your talent as you film your next video:

1. Prepare and Share a Simple Script in Advance 

Sometimes directors make the mistake of not creating a script because they think it isn’t necessary, or because they’re worried that if the actors memorize specific lines, the video will look unnatural. Generally, the opposite is true! 

Even if the video you’re filming is only going to be a minute or two long and you think it will be easy for your subjects to either improvise or memorize their lines quickly on the spot, it’s worth it to type up and share a simple script in advance.

This will give each actor a chance to memorize their lines and practice their delivery. The more an actor rehearses, the more natural their delivery will seem when you record.

2. Be Prepared in Terms of the Set and Technology

The more confident your actors feel in the video’s production, the more natural and confident they will come across on screen. Give the appearance of professionalism by planning everything in advance.

If your actors have to sit and wait as people run around correcting technical issues or preparing the set at the last second, they’ll lose confidence in the production. When an actor doubts the video’s quality, they will feel less comfortable and will be less likely to lose themselves in their role.

3. Appoint One (and Only One) Director

Sometimes, people who haven’t directed before lack confidence and believe the recording will be improved if they enlist multiple directors. This generally isn’t true. Having one person in charge will bring clarity to the recording.

The last thing you want is to make a video without anyone in the director role. If there isn’t anyone clearly in charge, there won’t be anyone in the room to give constructive criticism or ask for another take.

Even worse, the loudest person might end up guiding the video, even if they don’t have the best vision of what needs to be produced. If there are too many people in charge, it can confuse the actors and add tension to the production, resulting in a video that seems awkward and unnatural.

4. Only Have Necessary People in the Room 

Sometimes actors (and set designers, makeup artists, script writers, and so on) become excited about what’s being filmed and want to be in the room even when it isn’t necessary. Sometimes they bring along friends or family members or coworkers who want to watch the filming.

Allowing unnecessary people in the room isn’t a good idea. Actors can become nervous when there are extra people in the room. Even if they aren’t nervous, they might get distracted. Either way, having fewer people in the room generally leads to a better recording.

5. Keep Your Actors Comfortable

You might not be shooting a blockbuster film, but you still want to keep your talent happy. The more comfortable your actors feel, the better they will act, and the better your video will turn out.

Make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before filming and gets regular breaks. Provide snacks and drinks so they aren’t distracted by hunger. Ask how the temperature in the room feels, if you have control over it.

Also, the director sets the stage for how people will act on set. If you are stressed, angry, or frustrated, this will affect your final product. Try to come on set in a relaxed, positive mood and speak to everyone in a kind and respectful tone to add to your actors’ comfort. 

6. Shoot Extra Video 

Shoot a few takes of every scene so your video editor has plenty to work with. Allow your actors room to improvise a bit if they get stuck on a phrase or something feels unnatural. Record different versions of scenes so that later you can choose which is better. It’s better to overshoot than to have to reshoot.

Now that you’ve read these tips, it’s time to create an attention-getting, memorable video. Lights, camera, action!

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