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How to look good on camera | 5 things you need to know before the shoot

You’ve planned your shoot, hired your photography or video team, finagled friends & co-workers to appear on camera. Great! You’re ready to go, right? Almost. Whenever I’m working with clients I encourage them to consider these 5 things to dial up the images we create from a B to an A+. In some cases, addressing the items on this list can save your shoot from disaster. Let’s get started!

#1 What is the sound situation?

If audio is important to your video production, we need to make sure we’re in a location with as little background noise as possible.

  • Are we trying to shoot an interview next to a road with noisy trucks or in a room with loud air conditioning we can’t turn off?

  • Is there a lot of foot traffic?

  • Are there a lot of hard surfaces that can cause an echo? Bring a sound blanket (or a moving blanket) to reduce echo.

  • Even if you think you have the best microphones in the world, background noise can hurt your sound quality and distract your on-camera talent or interviewee.

#2 What’s the lighting situation?

  • The lights at your location may flicker. Sure, you may be able to minimize this in post, but that means more work and a question mark hanging over your head. Test out the house lights and play back on your camera, look out for flicker. Usually we turn off the house lights, and point a bright light at the ceiling, which mimics the look of overhead lights.

  • If you have a limited lighting kit, you may need a location with a little more ambient lighting. If you want to light from scratch, you’ll probably need more kit and you’ll have to make sure you can black out the room.

  • That brings us to our next consideration, windows.

#3 Windows.

Windows can add depth and light to your shots, but they also mean you’re at the mercy of a light source you can’t control: the sun.

  • Think about what direction the windows face. If they’re facing south that means you could have direct sunlight coming through all day.