How to dress for your video
This is a trade-off – but not a hard one. It’s a bit of a frustrating way to start a course because there are very few actual rules – just guidelines. For those of you wanting a simple do-this-but-don’t-do-this, that might come a a disappointment.
The guidelines for dressing:
- make sure you’re comfortable – you can’t fidget, scratch or tug your sleeves down while you’re presenting (much)
- make sure you feel good in yourself – it’s harder to feel confident in front of a camera if you don’t think your clothes set you off nicely (just like real life)
- make sure you don’t blend into the background – trust me, I’ve accidentally spent half a day recording of videos in a mid-blue/grey shirt against a mid-grey wall only to have to spend a long time sorting the video out later to make me stand out. Better to do a short test first to make sure everything works.
- resists spots, stripes, tartans, checks and whatever – some cameras will have problems with this in terms of focus. Even if that camera can cope, your audience’s screens might not: it’s very off-putting for people if your clothing ‘strobes’. And of course, if your audience needs to focus on you, not flashy clothing
- keep it conservative – you might have the sexiest elbow in the world but that’s not you want your audience to notice, is it?
- check that whatever you’re wearing doesn’t rustle or otherwise interfere with the sound and the microphones – it’s simple to check. Just do a quick and dirty test first
It really is as simple as it sounds. But just like losing weight is simple (eat less, move more) that doesn’t always make it easy.
Best practice is to take/have more than one outfit with you just in case. For the videos in this course it took us four changes of shirt before we found one that I felt good in and which meant I stood out from the background wall and which I felt comfortable wearing for these videos.
Exercise #1: even before you try to make videos just take a few still photographs of you standing in different clothing in different places. Very quickly you’ll start to get a feel for what works, so that when it comes to doing the actual videos you’ve got a good starting point. Do this for at least a few days before you even think about videos, so that you’re only thinking about one thing at a time.
Exercise #2: when you’re reasonably sure about what you’re going to wear, try it. Just take a video recording of you reciting the alphabet and counting to 20. Don’t worry about the content right now – just take lots of test videos of about 20 seconds each and look back at them to get a fee for what’s working.
A quick something to consider
We don’t always see us the way others do – or the way the camera does. We’re not always the best judges of how we look or sound. That means it’s often a really good idea to do the exercises above twice. The first time do them on your own, but once you’ve narrowed things down to a few options, do them again with someone else involved.
Who this person should be is up to you but, while it should be someone you trust (obviously) it shouldn’t be someone who’s going to be supportive, no-matter-what. You need them to fall into the camp of ‘honest’ at least as much as into the camp of ‘supportive’.
… oh, and it helps to explain to them what you’re asking them to do in absolutely explicit terms – and why – well before you start working with them. If they’re taken by surprise (such as if you spring it on them after they pop around for coffee) they’re judgement might not be so acute.
DONT’ FORGET – IT’S ABOUT WHAT WORKS, NOT WHAT MAKES YOU LOOK BEST!
Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride – if your audience and your message would benefit from you looking scruffy……………