Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project Presence: Your audience is here

Key takeaway: Look directly at the camera lens when recording leadership videos and consider a note or sign as a reminder.

Learn more about Project Presence: Project Presence overview

Video link:


Welcome leaders, Daren Lewis with Leading Visually. Over the course of doing seventy, eighty or ninety of these leadership videos I've discovered that my most common error is failing to continue to look at the camera lens.

Now, there are a couple different schools of thought as to where you should look when doing a video. Common documentary style has you looking slightly off axis of the lens. We're using a more journalistic style here because we're trying to connect directly with our audience, those that we are leading. This is more like what you'll see newscasters doing where they are looking directly at the lens. It is very effective for creating that connection.

There are many distractions. Many of the devices we use have screens attached to them, be that your iPhone with the front facing camera or some other camera phone, or in this case the video camera that I'm using that has a screen right along side. It's very easy to get distracted by that screen and start looking at it. It only takes a few degrees of off axis view, which is what I'm doing now, to be very apparent to the audience. That's because  we are highly attuned to where people are looking when we are speaking to them or they are talking to us. It's one of the ways we can tell if people are paying attention.

I would encourage you, as you are starting out, to use a direct approach -- look directly into the camera. As I've said I've fallen into this trap multiple times. Unfortunately it's not something you'll see until you are in edit because you'll just miss it. What I've done, to remind myself, is I've actually got a poster directly behind my camera with a big arrow on it that points to my camera and says "your audience is here". There a couple other reminders on this poster but this is my single most important one.

So, again, look directly into the camera lens when speaking. You'll be much happier with the results.

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