Getting Comfortable on Video: The Camera Is Your Best Friend

We’ve all spent the last year getting comfortable on Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams calls. Remote video plays an important role in our lives right now. But before we know it, we’ll be back to shooting with full-size crews and professional cameras. You may be rusty during your first appearance on set in quite some time. Have no fear: Michael Caine is here.

The Camera Sees, Not Judges

Many people who are not yet comfortable on camera feel an immense pressure to perform perfectly. A film crew and a camera can create the illusion of daunting professionalism, even in an informal film production setting. Luckily, the opposite is true. You don’t have to love the camera because it already loves you.

The camera’s job is just to record “what’s there.” The crew will arrange the lighting, design the set, and prep your hair and costume. The camera’s sole responsibility is to accept your performance as you give it without any criticism. In fact, if you learn to deliver well on video, the camera will embrace your performance every time.

The Camera Is Your Safety Net

Michael Caine personified the camera as someone who loves you no matter what. In this segment from a film acting workshop, he compares the camera to a safety net behind the actor. No matter how you perform it is always there to catch you. Caine speaks through the camera when he tells us, “It’s your friend. It loves you.”

The Camera is Your Cheerleader

Since you’ve already impressed the camera with your on-camera abilities, your job is to just be you. Caine emphasizes that performing on camera is unlike a stage performance. You don’t have to project your voice or make large physical movements to reach the back of the room. Instead, the camera will reflect exactly what you present it: your natural movements, genuine emotions, and meaningful message.

So brush aside any fear that the camera will play tricks on you. The camera is your best friend. And through the collaborative effort of the production process—the on and off-camera talent, skillful editing, and the right choice of music—the final product will make “what’s there” greater than the sum of its parts.

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