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Everyone wants to look their best, but, unfortunately, how you look in the mirror may not be exactly how you appear on screen. Technological barriers exist which result in the camera distorting images. Your favourite floral top may look like it’s swimming when seen on a screen. Odd, right?
If you or your company have invested in a professional cameraman, director and editor, it’s such a shame to let your video fall down on a poor wardrobe decision.
It’s important to remember that the goal of your video is to engage your audience. The last thing you want is the viewer to focus on the texture of your top instead of what you’re saying in the video.
Read the points below and ensure you are making the best wardrobe choices for your video shoot!
Try to keep colours simple and use them to your advantage. Too many colours or overly loud colours will distract from the overall message in the video. Soft, solid colours with a neutral tone work well on camera.
The colours near your face will either drain you or highlight your best features. You’re aiming for the latter! Warming colours like teal, purple and emerald green are highly saturated. They don’t glow or appear too muted against the background. They will make you pop on screen and will complement your skin tone.
We advise you to choose a top or dress in one of these colours. If you wish to wear a suit you could choose a coloured tie.
It is proven that blue is a calming colour is it works well on camera.
Colours to avoid
When your skin tone is exposed correctly on camera any white on the screen will appear extremely bright and slightly glowing. This can be quite distracting.
Even a white shirt under a jacket is best to avoid. A pastel blue is a good alternative. If you look at this image below of Obama, you will notice that there is little definition between his shirt and colour. This is because, to expose correctly the image as a whole the white shirt had to be overexposed, which results in loss of definition. This is especially common when white is against a very dark colour - the camera finds it difficult to expose both correctly.
Black has a similar problem to white. Since it is so far to the edge of the exposure scale, cameras find it difficult to expose correctly. When the black is exposed correctly, the other colours in the image will appear too bright. If you expose the skin tone correctly (as you should do) the blacks will be extremely dark and lose some definition.
If you wish to wear a dark colour, we suggest a dark navy or grey. They are kinder to the camera’s lens!
Black can also age skin by creating shadows on your skin.
Very bright reds, pinks and oranges can also be unflattering on camera. Hot colours have a ‘bleeding effect’ which the camera sensor cannot prevent. This can result in a hazy outline and can reflect up to your face making you look flushed.
See below how Kirk’s bright red tie has resulted in his face looking very tanned.
Pastels are best kept for small areas on the screen, for example, a pastel shirt, paired with a darker jacket, as suggested above. Large areas of pastel, for example, a top, can make you look washed out.
A pastel tie and pastel shirt will only look well on camera when worn with a darker natural toned jacket.
Avoid Shiny Fabrics
Under bright lights, these will give your skin tone an unflattering glow. Try to stick with thick cotton and matte fabrics instead. These fabrics create a smoother body profile line. Anything overly shiny or metallic will have a tendency to reflect light, which should be avoided. The cameraman will use a reflector if he needs to alter the light - you don’t want your outfit trying to do it for him!
Use pattern sparingly
Unfortunately, your favourite pinstripe jacket that looks dynamite in the mirror will not look so good on camera! Unless you want to create a distracting wiggling effect, avoid small repetitive patterns like pinstripes, chevron and plaid, and textured fabrics. Camera sensors do not deal well with these patterns and produce what’s called a moiré pattern.
Watch out for patterns like these on suits and ties!
Big patterns, which won't affect the technical abilities of the camera, aren’t always a good choice either. A big bold pattern can be quite distracting and can retract from the meaning of the video, leading your viewers focus away from the content and solely on the pattern.
Here’s an example of high contrast pattern that is far too distracting for the purpose of the video.
Here is an example of the moire effect, caused by a smaller repetitive pattern. https://vimeo. com/125674509
Keep jewellery simple
Avoid any flashy chunky necklaces, rings, earrings or bracelets. These may shine and will distract the viewer. They are best kept for fashion related videos. If you wish to wear earrings, opt for studs opposed to dangling earrings. Jewellery can be both loud and distracting, especially bangles. Audio is very important in a video so any distracting background noise is best to avoid.
If you wear prescription glasses, it’s best to try to wear glasses with glare proof frames and lenses, or contact lenses. Unfortunately, the lights and or camera may reflect in your eyewear!
Comfort is very important
If you are too hot, too cold, or uncomfortable in some other kind of way, your discomfort will show on camera. If you look distressed or uncomfortable, your body language will distract the viewers from the message of the video.
Wear breathable fabrics
Heavy fabrics like wools are not ideal because they’re so warm. Most video shoots will require a few lights that can be very hot. Sweating and flushed cheeks are not a desirable addition to your video. Cotton is great because it is breathable and allows your body to radiate heat.
Stay in Style
You and your company may want to use this video for years yet to come. Try to keep your outfit classic and avoid trends that will make the video look dated.
Don’t dramatically change your look before the shoot
If you have been cast specifically for a video shoot based on your appearance, try not to alter dramatically your appearance in advance of the shoot unless you were requested to do so.
Bring a few options
Lastly, it is best to bring a few options of clothing with you if you are unsure what would be most suitable. Factors like the background colour may not be known until the day of the shoot and this can be a major factor in what colour will look best.
Appearing on camera can bring on anxiety, worry and stress. There is no need to feel overwhelmed about what to wear. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will most certainly look the part!