Category Archives: Video Tips

Makeup for video and photography (VIDEO)

I had to share this new Michelle Phan video with you because she demonstrates many techniques that are important for video, as well as photography.  Pay particular close attention to how she preps her skin, applies foundation, and how she lines her eyes.

As always, men just please keep loose or pressed powder (translucent) on hand, blotting tissues (you can get these at Rite Aid) or regular tissues, and lip balm.  A bronzer is fine, as is some concealer, if needed.

For my ladies who are Conversations in Public Relations guests, keep in mind:

  • For the few days before, prepare your skin with a light exfoliation to remove dead skin cells.  Try the gentle and effective exfoliating scrubs made by Aveeno or Lancome.  And drink plenty of water!  (This is also good advice for men — also, if you can, abstain from alcohol for a couple of days before the shoot. It will make a big difference in your face.)
  • Buy a video-friendly foundation, concealer, and powder (with no SPF, which can reflect in the lights).  You can try Revlon‘s Photo Finish, Rimmel (inexpensive at any drug store), Cargo HD (can be hard to find, try Sephora), or Makeup Forever.  Benefit makes a powder foundation called Get Even which you can use wet or dry and provides good coverage.  You want to even out skin tone without the foundation looking too heavy on your skin, since we shoot in HD (high definition).  Primer will help your makeup smooth on more easily on your skin and will make it last longer. Rimmel makes a good and inexpensive primer.  Buy a concealer that is 1/2 to 1 shade lighter than your complexion tone.
  • Do NOT forget eye brow pencil.  Some of you might not need it, but many ladies over 30 do need a light application of brow pencil.  If you are willing to spend a little more ($22), this brow powder is highly rated and is available from Sephora:
  • If you are over 35, choose matte shadows for your eyes in neutral colors, using a fairly light shade on the lid (to brighten the eyes), unless your complexion is dark.  Clinique has some great shades.  If you are under 35, you can use some shine, but avoid overly metallic looks for video.
  • You don’t have to line the waterline of your eyes, as she does in this video, but it would help if you would wear eyeliner on the lid (a soft smudged line in brown or grey; try Almay eyeliner pencil), as well as mascara.  For sensitive eyes, try Almay mascara, which is what I use.  Otherwise, look into Maybelline Stilletto, which is a well-reviewed and inexpensive mascara (less than $10) or Maybelline Great Lash.
  • Lipsticks should be creamy or matte formulas, not high gloss or metallic.  I also ask my ladies to bring a clear gloss or petroleum jelly which I may have them apply very sparingly to the center of the bottom lip to bring light and attention to the mouth.

10 ways to say thank you for your video interview

David Hyson adjusts the camera for the perfect shot

When communications professionals appear on Conversations in Public Relations, they reap many benefits.  Their visibility among a global audience of communicators is increased through the exposure the series provides through blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.  And nothing showcases subject matter expertise like online video does.  A Conversations in Public Relations video is significantly beneficial for a participant’s personal brand and company brand.

Each Conversations in Public Relations video we produce represents about 20 hours of our non-billable time, so expressions of thanks from participants are quite meaningful to David and me.   As communicators, we also value the opportunity to extend our relationships with participants and have access to business development and networking opportunities.

If you have appeared in a Conversations in Public Relations video and feel inclined to tangibly demonstrate your appreciation for our efforts on your behalf, here are some suggestions to consider.

  1. Call us (571) 269-7559 and let us know you have viewed the video.  Tell us what you think and thank us for our time.
  2. Leave a comment on the Conversations in Public Relations YouTube Channel or blog expressing your thoughts about the experience.
  3. Write a recommendation for our work on LinkedIn, under the Conversations in Public Relations section.
  4. Offers us a paid project to work on, or recommend us to someone you know (see the Fletcher Prince website).
  5. Suggest future show topics, and personally introduce us to thought leaders whom you know well for video interviews.
  6. Invite David and me for lunch or coffee with you.
  7. Ask us to speak about social media (YouTube, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) or marketing at your company or organization.
  8. Invite us to your company events and celebrations.  Maybe we’ll bring a video camera! 🙂
  9. Send us some company SWAG or remember us with a small gift or greeting card around the holidays.
  10. Provide us with two complimentary event tickets, conference admissions, or two seats at your sponsored table.

Preparation Check-List for On-Location Video Interviews

Recording a video interview on location with the AMA-DC leadership team

When we record video interviews at the guest’s location, it often adds a different and fascinating dimension to the video.  A successful on-location shoot requires careful planning, however, and it is more complicated and time-consuming for us to produce. We need the assistance of our guests to pull it off, but the extra effort is often worth it.

When interviews are conducted at your location, we ask that our participants arrange and provide the items and assistance on this checklist:

  • An appropriate and spacious video interview environment that is relatively free of noise and distractions.  We need access to electrical outlets and the ability to move furniture, if required.
  • Scheduling between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., or in the evenings.
  • Furnishings and props we may require, such as signs, plants, floral arrangements, small tables, and two straight-back chairs (chairs with wheels or that squeak are not good for interviews).
  • Adequate time to set up and break down our equipment.
  • Photo opportunities at your location.
  • Business cards for all participants and helpers.
  • Attention to our comfort. Refreshments, such as ice water, or lunch for mid-day or multiple video interviews.  We are always delighted to be treated to lunch with you in reward for our efforts!
  • Complimentary and convenient parking arrangements. Keep in mind that we transport heavy, professional equipment to video shoots.

Before the video shoot, remember to

  • Notify office colleagues that you will be recording video and ask for as much quiet and as few disruptions as possible during the short time we are in the office (some ambient noise is unavoidable).
  • Close the blinds in the room, if possible.
  • Turn off computers (they buzz), desk phones, and cell phones.
  • Have on hand: makeup (men: lip balm, powder), tissues, a comb or brush, lint brush, and a back-up outfit for yourself.
  • Provide glasses of water for everyone.

Video interview tips: how to be an engaging guest

Lovely guest Tomeka Rawlings and host Mary Fletcher Jones on the set of Conversations in Public Relations

Warm up before your interview

  1. Get your brain active by reading a short article or talking with someone you like.
  2. Drink water (not ice cold) or warm tea or coffee.
  3. Move around a bit.  It will both relax and energize you.
  4. Smile. It will help you feel more relaxed.

Remember, it’s a conversation, not a monologue

  1. Be prepared to talk on the topic we have agreed upon, in a natural way, without notes. We provide questions in advance and are available to talk about your topic before the interview.  Our aim is to make you look good, but you should talk about a topic that you know backwards and forwards.  Be confident!  Practice with a friend or colleague in advance, if needed.
  2. Talk about what you are passionate about; or about what you are dying to share with others.  The video interview only works if it is interesting, and your enthusiasm will help make it compelling.
  3. Allow me to ask you questions, and PLEASE answer the question I ask you! Resist the urge to work in another point you wanted to make.  We can stop taping and we can address that point in another take.  We will always give the opportunity to say what you need to say, and we provide links and cutaway images in the video.  But if you dodge the question or go off on a tangent, it makes editing the video very difficult.
  4. Ask for re-takes, if you need them. We’re always happy to re-record answers. Everyone does it.
  5. Keep your replies brief and conversational, as if you were talking to someone socially. Remember, this is a conversation, not a monologue.  You should not talk on for more than two minutes at a time in response to a question; three sentences is more like it.  Periods are your friend!  Long, run-sentences are very hard to edit, and the entire video may only be five minutes long, or less. If you need to share a longer response or anecdote, let us know so we can clip the tape and possibly record that segment as a separate video.
  6. Pauses are important. I can delete pauses, but deleting a string of ums because you were talking too fast is much more difficult to do.  Take time to pause, breathe, and reflect on what you want to say. Ask for breaks if you need them.
  7. Interact with me. You can also ask me a question or comment on or clarify something I said.  Interviews are hard for me, too.  You are not the only one who is nervous.
  8. Make your replies interesting. The best way to do that is to share real-life examples about something you care about and to be as specific as possible.  For example, if I ask you about your clients, either mention them or mention the types of clients you serve, and describe a recent project you worked on.  Make the stories your relate vivid and different. Paint a picture for the audience.
  9. Talk in a normal volume and tone of voice. Our microphone is fairly sensitive.
  10. Smile AND pause at the end of your reply, for each question. We leave a little cushion of space around replies.  We pause and hold, wordlessly.  That’s because your answer may be moved around in the editing process.  Some people are so relieved that they have finished responding to a question that their whole body sinks and their faces fall. This drops the energy in the video and it can be very difficult to correct in editing.  Remember, when you stop talking, just stay quiet for a moment,  keep your body and face up, don’t move too much, and hold your smile. (But only if appropriate for your topic.  If you’re talking about something serious, just hold your position and thoughtful expression for a moment).  It will seem unnatural to you at first, but it will look fine in the video, and it will save me time in editing. Plus, audiences need pauses to process what you have said.
  11. Engage with the “audience.” Feel free to connect with the “third person” in the room, who is the person who will be watching the video. Visualize this. If you think of it as a  three-way conversation between you, me, and the viewer, this will come naturally.  You can glance (occasionally) in David’s direction (when he is at the camera), or even position a friend in the room, or imagine there is a studio audience present.  Watch how people who are interviewed on television sometimes glance away toward the audience or cameras, and how this makes you feel like part of the conversation.

How to promote your Conversations in Public Relations video interview

Mary interviewing guests for Conversations in Public Relations

Mary interviewing guests for Conversations in Public Relations

What You Can Do To Get More Views of Your Video

  • Comment on your videos. An easy way to do that is to subscribe to this blog and to the YouTube channel ( You can also “favorite” or “like” your own videos.  A comment from you also helps improve the SEO for your company and personal brand.  Ask your employees and colleagues to subscribe and comment!  The more comments, the higher your video will be ranked.
  • Tell organizations that you belong to that you are appearing in the video.  They might highlight it on their website on in their newsletter.
  • Email the video link to your family and friends, and ask them to comment or rate them.  After all, they are your biggest fans!
  • Link to the videos on your company Facebook Page and profile.  While you’re on Facebook, please become a friend of Conversations in Public Relations on Facebook
  • Embed the video on your company web site or blog. YouTube makes it easy to do this.  Most of our guests have not recorded an online video before.  This is your chance to show your clients a personal side of you, and that builds trust.
  • Tweet about the video, including the link, and tag your update with @FletcherPrince or @ConversationsPR. You can do that by including @FletcherPrince in your tweets about your video appearance.
  • Call us and ask for more ideas (571) 269-7559.  We are happy to help.

What to Wear in the Conversations Videos

What’s In Your Video Wardobe?As we produce the online video series, “Conversations in Public Relations,” we understand that for some of our guests, this is their first online video appearance.  The question we hear most frequently these days is: what should I wear for the video?

According to professional stylists, what you wear in a video or television appearance can not only make what  you say more believable to your audience, but can also help the camera do its job to create a well-focused result.  For this reason, it’s quite important to give serious consideration to what you wear.

Overall, just remember to dress simply in well-fitting, attractive clothing and avoid red, black, and white.  But if you want to look your very best on video — and who does not? — then pay close attention to these tips.
Tip #1: Invest in Two-Three Video Outfits
There are some great shopping bargains around right now, so take advantage of this cost-saving opportunity to find two new, flattering outfits to keep in your closet for your next online video appearance.  From now on, whenever you shop, it would be a great idea for you to keep your eye open for clothing on sale that would look good in photographs or video, keeping these considerations in mind.

Wear new clothes to look your best.  On video or television, you will look best in clothes that are new or almost new.  This is because clothes that have been frequently washed or dry cleaned do not look as well as new clothes.  Resist the urge to wear your video clothes on other occasions.  If you don’t have the budget or inclination to reserve an entire outfit, or even a blouse or two, for your video appearances, then just wear the clothes you have that are in best condition.

The confidence that you project when you look great will also have an impact!

Tip #2: Wear New Shoes (or Shoes in Excellent Condition)
While today’s video does focus on tight shots, you never know if your full body, including your a view of your shoes, will make it in the final version, or in promotional photographs.  To be on the safe side, wear shoes in new or excellent condition.  They don’t have to be expensive, just not worn-looking.  Don’t wear your video shoes on the street; keep your video shoes in a shoe bag, and bring them with you to video shoots.  The bottom of your shoe may show in a video.

Ladies, closed-toe shoes will look best, as will a shoe with some heel.  Well-worn women’s shoes have a tendency to curl at the toes.  If you can, resist wearing your video-reserved pair except on camera.

Men, if you wear a worn pair of shoes, have your shoes shined, and check the soles (and don’t cross your legs and show the bottom of your sole if the soles look worn).  Be sure to wear socks that cover your entire calf; knee-length socks are safest.

Tip #3: Wear Clothes That Fit Well
Wear clothes that fit your body.  A little too snug is better than baggy, because the camera adds ten pounds and shapeless apparel will make you look heavier and also less polished on camera.

Tip #4: Wear All-Season Clothing
Online video is aired and viewed year-round. Even if you appear on television, it is likely a clip will be placed online for viewing. So, wear something that would look well in all seasons.  It would look odd to your audience to see you in a light, sleeveless top if they happen to view your video in December, and viewers will stop watching your video if you wear a heavy cabled sweater and they view your video in the summer.

Tip 5: Adapt a Simple Style for Video
Your best bet is to wear tailored, classic clothes.  If that look is not your style, and you prefer a high-fashion or casual look, select clothing that is simple and devoid of pattern to help the camera do its best focusing job.

Men look best in a suit or jacket.  But if it’s not your style, or you prefer a more casual look, you can also wear a solid colored polo top, or shirt without a tie.

Women, consider wearing pants with a longish hem.  In general, they look better on camera than skirts and dresses, especially if you are sitting for an interview.  For a more casual or high-fashion look, including our shoots for “Conversations,” dark wash jeans are fine, for a business casual look.  Just be sure your jeans are new and pressed, and consider dressing them up with heels.  Do not wear capris or gauchos, and, of course, shorts are out of the question.

If you prefer to wear a skirt or dress, there are special considerations.  First, make sure the hemline is well-below the knee. Secondly, about hosiery on film: sometimes it does not look well.  You may want to wear flesh colored fishnets instead of hose.  Some people can even go bare if they have nice, well-moisturized legs that with sunless tanning or a non-sparkling bronzer.  Another option is to wear nice boots that reach the knee.

Tip 6: Wear Microphone-Friendly Clothing
If you are being interviewed, you may be asked to wear a lavaliere microphone on your lapel.  Therefore, it would be helpful if you would wear a shirt or blouse with a collar or lapel, instead of a turtleneck, for example..  If you prefer to wear another style top, you could also wear a jacket or cardigan onto which you could clip the mic.

Tip 7: Wear Simple Accessories
Avoid wearing dangling earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that may rustle or make a jangly noise that could be picked up by sensitive microphones.  In general, men and women should remove watches (because the crystal can reflect off of the lights) and wear only one ring per hand.  Women may wear one small necklace, and small earrings that are not too shiny.  Think matte finishes.  Avoid diamond studs or rhinestones.   A small pin is fine.  Avoid wearing scarves or ties with large scale or intricate patterns.

For tips about makeup, please see our blog post on this subject.

Tip 8: Avoid Wearing Certain Colors
To help the camera focus properly, avoid sharp contrasts, and opt for solid colored tops and jackets in light to medium shades.  If you have a dark complexion, don’t wear a light colored top.  If you have a light complexion, don’t wear a dark colored top.  It makes it difficult for the camera to operate properly if you do.  Also, pay attention to your background.  If your background is deeply colored and you are wearing a light colored shirt, the camera may focus on the background instead of you.

* Do not wear red, magenta, or fuschia, which may cause the camera film to flare.
* Avoid wearing black, dark brown, and dark blue tops, which can interfere with how the camera focuses on nearby shades (generally, you can wear black pants or a skirt, however).  Men, do not wear black suits or jackets. Ladies, no black blazers.
* Men (and ladies), do not wear white shirts (pick blue or pastel instead); it flares.  The same applies to any props you may have.  Do not use white flip charts, for example.
* You may need to avoid green (if they are using a green screen; you can check).  Light green may be okay.

Tip 9: Select the Right Colors
These colors look well for television and video appearances.

* Pastels and Medium Tones
* Blue, including royal blue
* Tan
* Purple, Lavender
* Gray
* Wine or Burgundy (works well for ties)
* Navy (men’s suit or jacket — not too dark)

Tip #10: Avoid These Patterns and Fabrics in Clothing for Online Video
The reason why solid colors look best is because certain patterns may cause the camera to blur or produce a moire effect.  Reflective fabrics also do not look well in video.  Also, do not wear anything with a logo or brand name on it.

* Plaid
* Houndstooth or checks
* Fine or intricate patterns, e.g. paisley
* Tweed
* Polka Dots
* Stripes (even thin striped dress shirts or pinstripes)
* Metallics or sparkly fabrics
* Sequins and rhinestones
* Any shiny fabric, such as satin or charmeuse
* Linen (it wrinkles)

Tip #11: Bring An Outfit or Two To Your Video Shoot
Ask in advance if you can change at the location, or if you should wear your outfit to the video location or television station.  Have at least one change of clothing, even if it is just a different top.  If you are appearing on camera with another woman, such as a reporter or host, make sure you find out what she is going to wear, and bring another outfit just in case you are wearing the same color.  If you both wear lavender jackets, you both will look ridiculous on television or on a video!

Most of all, relax, and be yourself.  Remember, we focus on the face, and we can probably compensate for any wardrobe challenges that may present.  Whatever you wear will probably be just fine!

Look Good on Video: Makeup Tips for Women

Makeup makes a big difference.

Makeup makes a big difference.

Are you appearing on an upcoming “Conversations in Public Relations” video?  Great!  Did you know that the right makeup, especially in today’s HD environment, can help establish you as a trustworthy and credible subject expert?  It’s true.  Here are some important makeup tips for your big day.   Be sure to apply your cosmetics before you arrive, but bring them along, so that we can touch up or refine your look.

Why Makeup is Important for Video
To begin, understand the purpose of makeup for video.  Makeup, in this case, is not to make you more attractive than you are, but to correct the distortion caused by video and lights.  The camera deepens contours beyond their actual depth, ages your face, magnifies flaws, affects color, and layers on ten pounds!  Careful makeup application is critical because it actually helps correct what the camera “mistakes.”  Many men also need a bit of powder to look their best on television or video.

Looking Your Best on Video Day

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