From print to video

I frequently work with companies who are moving from print to video, from written reports to presenting/producing TV programmes for clients and a wider audience.

Understandably, even highly professional experts can feel out of their depth in the unfamiliar world of making TV. My advice, based on 25 years of TV directing and 15 years teaching TV presenting is to keep your target audience in mind, avoid jargon, and make it conversational. Talk to the camera as if you are chatting to one person at a time, be warm and friendly, and look down the centre of the lens to connect. Less is more, short bite-sized chunks of info that can be viewed on a mobile in the back of a taxi may get more likes than long form programmes. The language of TV is images, use anecdotes and real examples to bring your content to life and make it memorable. A dark suit, acceptable in a corporate setting, can look dull on camera, add some colour, look groomed and smile!

Wardrobe Wise

Here’s a tip for the day!

Recently a presenter I know nearly came unstuck before a live TV broadcast because of her dress choice. Wisely she had brought two choices of costume to the studio, a stunning bright purple fitted summer dress and a silk multi-patterned shift dress – both absolutely lovely outfits. This is the right thing to do, bring along an alternative in case one choice doesn’t look good on camera.

Unfortunately the presenter had not been told about the colours used in the studio set – her presenting chair was bright purple, and exactly the same tone as her dress. When she tried sitting on the chair it looked like she and the chair were morphed into one block of colour, and there was no separation between them.

Professionally she went to the dressing room, changed her costume and put on the multi-coloured silk version – only to find the patterned design was too much and it didn’t look good on camera. The other concern was that as the show was to be broadcast online the dress might not work on different computer screens.

With the live transmission only minutes away she had to present the show in the dress she had worn to travel to the studio. It was a more casual style, and still looked good on camera, but the presenter didn’t feel she looked her best. A less professional presenter might have let this affect her performance, not so in this case.

However, if you want to avoid getting into a similar situation, ask the production team what colours are used in the set and studio furniture, and avoid busy patterns which can interfere with the video signal on some types of cameras.