Whether you are preparing to be interviewed on a news program, video podcast or you have been asked to appear in your company’s marketing video, it is important to show up prepared. Below are ten key questions to ask to prepare for your next on-camera appearance.
Who will be in the video and what questions / topics will be covered?It is good to know if you will be the only person on camera or if there will be an interviewer or other guests on camera. If there are other people that will join you, take a few minutes and do some research on who they are before you arrive on set. The interview will run more smoothly if you know with whom you are speaking.
How long will the recording / segment be? It is important to prep your key messages and soundbites before each on-camera appearance. Always ask how long the video will be. Longer videos will require more content and more prep. Always include a few back-up responses in case you need additional content or in case the content you provided was not a fit.
Will the video be live or pre-recorded?It is important to know if a video will be live or pre-recorded before you arrive on set. You may need to do a bit more key message prep work on the front end for live video since there is not an opportunity to go back and edit content. If you show up expecting a video to be editable and find out last-minute that it is live, you might get spooked and be more nervous.
Will I be required to wear a clip-on or lavalier microphone?One of the questions you need to ask before your on-camera appearance is, what type of microphone will be used? If the microphone is handheld or a boom microphone, your clothing choice is not impacted much. However, if you have to wear a lapel mic, also known as a lavalier microphone, there are definitely things to consider. A lapel mic has a small microphone that clips onto your clothing near your sternum to capture sound. Lapel mics often have a wire that is attached to a transmitter pack. This is where the difficulty can lie if you are wearing something like a shift dress. Where does the transmitter pack go? FYI, there may be tape involved. To avoid having transmitters taped to your clothes (or body), choose a microphone-friendly outfit.
Will the video be filmed in front of a green (or blue) screen? Many videos are filmed in front of a green screen so the background can be digitally inserted, but did you know that there are also blue screens? Knowing what kind of background you will be filming in front of is key to make sure you do not wear attire that will disappear into the screen.
What will the background look like? (Colors, branding, etc.)It is important to know what the background will look like so that you can choose the proper attire. If the background is navy blue, you don’t want to show up in a navy blue suit! If the background is bright orange, you probably don’t want to wear something like a bold yellow or red. It is always good to coordinate with the background to stand out, but not clash.
Where will the video be filmed? (Address, floor, suite #, room, etc.)You may have an address location for your video shoot, but make sure you know what room, floor, etc. The last thing you want to do right before a video shoot is rush around looking for the right location. Not only will this make it more difficult to get into a calm mindset before filming, but you also may look disheveled and sweaty on camera.
Will the video be filmed indoors or outdoors? Whether a video is filmed indoors or outdoors will impact what you should wear and how you should prepare. If you are filming outdoors and it is warm, you may want to opt for an unlined suit jacket instead of a traditional blazer, for instance. If it is a breezy day, you may opt to put your hair up if it is an outdoor shoot. The location will also affect shoe choice. Don’t wear heels or suede shoes if you will be standing in the grass!
Will there be a hairstylist or makeup artist available?Be prepared to do your own hair and makeup. Never show up to a shoot expecting a hairstylist and makeup artist to be available unless you have explicitly been told they are. You will most likely be doing your own hair and makeup. This includes men. You may want to sneak a comb and some powder into your pocket just to avoid any major shine on camera.
Do I need multiple outfits? The answer to this question is always, yes, but the better question is, “How many?” Always bring at least one back-up outfit to every video shoot in case you spill something, show up in the exact same outfit as the host or clash with the background. However, if you are filming multiple segments, the producer may ask that you change outfits a time or two.
The information you obtain by asking these questions will help you show up prepared. Prepared is always a great look! Remember to be flexible though. The story being told can dictate the type of attire needed. Length could require multiple outfit changes. The producer or production crew could dictate what they want you to wear (color, patterns, style)—all things that propel a story forward.