If you have done media training with us, you will know that we place an emphasis on your camera set-up for media interviews over video calls. This is because your presentation can massively impact how well your message is perceived by your audience.
Even though these tips may seem like common sense, over the past decade, we have media-trained countless CEOs, board members, directors, subject matter experts and senior leaders, and not one has completely nailed this aspect in their media training. It takes practice, and a checklist certainly helps!
As public relations consultants, we know media interviews are stressful enough, and you most likely want to focus your time and energy on your key messages and delivery. So, to make set-up as easy as possible, we have a simple acronym to help you remember the basics:
BLAM: Background, Lighting, Angle, Me.
It's simple and easy. We've even put together photo examples for a quick reference guide. So next time you are asked to share your opinion in the media or front as the spokesperson for your organisation, you can be confident you are set up like a PR pro!
First, we start with the background. Choose a place for your interview that is tone-appropriate and professional, clean and uncluttered. There should be minimal background distractions (noise and movement). Aim to have depth in the shot (i.e. not your face against a plain wall); this will make the frame more interesting to your viewer, and remember, the background setting is a great opportunity to show the values of your organisation through the working environment. Bonus points, if there is branding or your brand colours visible in the background!
Lighting can be tricky, so when picking your background, try to aim for somewhere with great natural light from a window. Ideally, if the window is to your front/ side, this will create the best natural lighting on your face. Avoid having your back to the window, as this could create a shadow on your face. If you are in a dark space or the interview occurs at night, you may need to use lighting equipment. We advise calling your PR consultant for a quick test run before the interview in order to get the set-up right.
Having the camera angle up too high or down too low is the most common set-up blunder we come across. Did you know that camera positions can non-verbally communicate power imbalances? For example, if a camera is positioned too low and looks up to the subject, it can subconsciously communicate that the subject being filmed holds a greater level of power. If the camera is too high and looking down on the subject, it can visually communicate that the subject is insignificant or give the appearance of weakness. We want to aim to have you within the frame, there should be a gap just above your head, and the frame should cut just above your waist to be able to capture hand gestures.
This is the final piece, and it's all about your personal presentation and well you are likely to be perceived by your audience. This can be a tricky one because, in some situations, casual appearance and authenticity are appropriate, but in many circumstances, casual clothing or a messy appearance can communicate not taking the issue/ or your role seriously. If you are in doubt, aim for professional and presentable and ask your public relations consultant for specific advice in this area.
There you have it. BLAM. There is always room for improvement, but our four basics – Background, Lighting, Angle, and Me - work great as a quick checklist so you will look professional and presentable for your media interview. Thinking of up-skilling in the area of media training? Contact us for a free quote. Have you already done media training with us and want to practice some more? Book in a practice interview here: https://nutsford.setmore.com/
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