Getting comfortable on camera is pretty important if you want to make amazing youtube videos. For a lot of people it’s not something that comes naturally, let’s face it, it feels weird sitting in front of a camera in your room chatting to it. If you feel uncomfortable it’s probably going to come across in your final video which can be a big turn off for viewers.
If you look at your favourite people on youtube you’ll probably find they all have something in common, they all come across as totally comfortable on camera. They aren’t nervous, they’re talking like they’re talking to a friend.
So, how do you get comfortable on camera?
The easiest way to get comfortable is to spend a lot of time in front of your camera. Just flick on your camera, hit record and do your thing, whether you just chat to the camera, whether it’s recording a makeup tutorial, doing a sketch, whatever it is you want to make videos about, do that. These aren’t videos that you’re going to post, it’s literally so you start to get used to being in front of the camera.
Once you’ve finished recording watch it back and see how you did. Look out for things that make you seem like you’re uncomfortable, like fidgeting, not making eye contact with the lens and whatever nervous tics or giveaways you’ve got. Keep them in mind next time you sit down to record and try your best to fix those little problems.
By the way, you’re not necessarily trying to become totally perfect like a game show host or something. It’s more about just breaking yourself out of that “this is so weird I’m talking to a camera” feeling.
You don’t just have to stick to whatever kind of videos you plan to make either. Try telling a story, talking about something, doing something, anything. The more time you spend in front of the camera the easier it’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll feel.
2. Get some energy
Another way to help you feel more comfortable is to get some energy into whatever it is you’re doing. If you’ve been sitting down to film try standing up, try using your hands as you speak to inject a bit of energy into it. By standing or moving your hands around it’ll help you not be so focused on the camera. Lily Singh aka iiSuperwomanii does a lot of videos where she’s standing up and if you compare the energy she has in those videos to the energy in her sit down videos you’ll see there’s a very different vibe.
Give it a go and see if it works for you.
3. Take Two
Do as many takes as you need to. When you’re filming you’ll probably find that sometimes you don’t nail your delivery, you slip up on your words, there’s a tonne of uhms and ahs. Whatever the problem, don’t feel like you need to start the whole thing over. Don’t stop filming, just say that part again and carry on like nothing happened. You can cut out the one you don’t like when you’re editing.
If you refilm the whole video everytime there’s a little hiccup then you’ll probably never end up with a finished video you’re happy with and it’ll just make you feel frustrated and more nervous about filming.
4. Keep Talking vs Scripting
Some people like to script their videos, but the problem with scripting is it can make your video feel a bit stilted and suck the personality out of it. Not for everyone though, some people can absolutely read from a script but come across as conversational or natural.
When you’re learning to get comfortable you could give scripting a go. But what I found most helpful was to write a script, read through it and make a bullet list of the main points I wanted to talk about, then just talk about it without using the script. That initial script writing just helps get your thoughts organised so you don’t end up rambling or talking in circles, but once you’ve done that you might find that bullet points is enough to get you a good finished video.
5. Practice off camera
Even though practicing on camera will obviously help you feel more comfortable in front of it, practicing off camera can help just as much. Practice reading out scripts if you’ve written a script, or just talking about whatever you want to talk about if you’re doing it without a script.
Getting used to the sound of your own voice talking solo will help you when you start to film and it’s a great place to start if you’re feeling nervous about even being in front of a camera at all.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all human and it does take time to get the hang of it. Even if you go back and watch some of your favourite youtubers early videos if they’re still up you’ll see them messing up or having that learning curve of how to be great on camera. Some big youtubers do videos where they react to their old videos and those are great ones to watch if you’re feeling a bit down about your finished videos, a lot of them will talk about how uncomfortable they felt on camera in the beginning which can be a bit of a pick me up for the rest of us.
7. Don’t try and copy
I know everyone goes on about not copying other people and it can be hard if you’re not feeling comfortable. If your favourite youtuber is someone like graveyard girls bunny it might be tempting to try and emulate her personality in videos, I mean if you’re feeling uncomfortable then acting like someone else can give you a bit a of a boost. The problem is, that comes across in the videos, people can see that you’re aren’t being genuine. You really need to spend time practicing and figuring out who you are and how you’re going to show that on camera. Figuring out how to be yourself on camera can be a massive step to getting more comfortable.
8. Plan your videos
This is similar to scripting, but a little less intense and again this one won’t be for all of you. Some of you will find it easier to just hop in front of a camera with a vague idea of what you want to do and do it. But, some of you are going to find it helpful to go into it with a plan, and the things you plan are totally up to you. Maybe it’s just where you’ll film, what you’ll wear, what you’ll talk about, the order you’ll do things in, how zoomed in you’re going to be, whether you want to do an in depth long video or a quick video. I don’t usually put this down on paper, but sometimes if I’m doing a complicated tutorial or something then I’ll make a quick story board so that as I’m filming if I start to feel lost I can check my storyboard or bullet list and know what I’m supposed to do next. In the beginning if I felt lost when I was filming it would totally throw me off and my video would lose any kind of flow it had.
9. Prep for your videos
Before you start filming do a little prep. If you’re filming a tutorial make sure you’ve got everything you need to hand so you don’t have to keep going and finding things. Make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty you don’t need to pee. When I get in front of the camera I normally want to film my video start to finish without any distractions or having to leave the room. It’s the same as a regular conversation, if you’re chatting with a friend and you’re having a great laugh then you go to the toilet when you come back it takes a second to be back in that chatty laughy place, it breaks that flow for a moment. As you get more comfortable on camera it won’t be such an issue, like if that chat was with your bestie compared to a new friend, once your comfortable things flow anyway.
10. Challenge yourself
A lot of people give up with filming after the first few attempts. Don’t do it. I promise it’s something that just takes time and practice. Challenge yourself to film for at least 5 or 10 minutes everyday or however long you have to spare. If you can do it everyday even just for a little bit then you’ll start to notice how much easier it gets in a really short amount of time. This is my favourite tip, this is what I did in the beginning and it really helped me go from my first video where I was too afraid to even speak to now. The biggest thing for me was knowing I wasn’t uploading those practice videos, it totally took the pressure off filming and I found that once that pressure gone I actually felt fine talking to a camera
Let me know in the comments what your favourite tips for getting comfortable in front of a camera are!