by Justin Difazzio
It’s been a while since our last entry in the Brief Answers to Big Questions series, but we’re back to talk about clothing. Clothes, they say, make the man. Well, not only is that a really non-inclusive statement, but it’s also not exactly true. What you wear, or what you advise others to wear on camera isn’t everything. It can, however, help in setting a tone for your video, lessening distractions, and getting your message heard. The best guidelines to follow will be found in a wardrobe guide, a special kind of document we like to make for clients when they’re trying to dress for a video. We like to include these tips below (and more) for nailing the wardrobe on every shoot.
Set the Tone
What you wear sets an instant first impression. If the first thing a viewer sees is someone in an ill-fitting, wrinkled shirt, what message do you think they get from your company? It certainly won’t instill confidence in your product or service. Make sure whomever is on camera wears clothes that fit well, that are free from stains and wrinkles, and that don’t have flipped collars or weird creases or other things that might leave your audience feeling less than impressed. Set a professional tone, and your message will be more likely to inspire confidence. Match the professionalism level of your clothes with the level of the product or service, and you can’t go wrong.
Speaking of tones, be mindful of the color of clothes you decide on for a shoot. A crisp white shirt might seem like a no brainer, but white can reflect too much light back and really offset the color balancing in a scene. Jewel tones make a much better impression and tend to be less distracting, less reflective, and simpler to work with in the editing bay. To really impress, try matching your wardrobe to your company’s colors. Their branding is something they’ve likely put a lot of time and energy into, so using the colors that represent them can really show extra initiative.
Just don’t go overboard with it. If their branding features a lot of, say, purple, don’t show up in a purple suit. You’d hate to have a completely monochrome palette. Just go with basics that fit the tone of a video and you shouldn’t have any issues. And we shouldn’t have to tell you not to wear green to a green screen shoot unless you want to look like a floating head.
Don’t Dress to Distract
We know you’re capable of putting together an outfit full of color and pattern that will make everyone who sees you look again. But the focus of your video isn’t the clothing (unless it is, then go hog wild, fashionplate). Nothing you wear should be loud enough to distract the viewer for even a moment. Every second counts when you’re trying to get a message across, and the smallest distractions can derail an attention span. Dangly earrings? Loud jewelry? A big logo on your shirt? Heavy patterns? Fine patterns? All of these things can distract viewers by making noise or catching the light and reflecting into the camera or just simply giving the viewer something to focus on that’s not the message.
If you want to wear a company polo with a logo on it, fine. Just make sure it’s your company’s logo. If you want to wear a bright pink and red Hawaiian orchid print dress to advertise your new ham and pineapple pizza (haters can just hush), maybe opt for something simpler. And as far as small patterns go, they can show up on camera in a lot of really weird ways that can make viewers a little nauseous. Best to steer clear of that at all costs.
Be Heard and Not Seen
In all cases of clothing on set, simplicity is key. You’re there to get a message across, not to set a trend. Scarves or glasses or flashy accessories may be your thing, but microphones can be muffled by scarves, glasses can cause distracting glare (not always avoidable if you don’t wear contacts), and we’ve already talked about flashy accessories. Keep clothing classic, simple, and bright. Make sure the only thing your audience is captivated by is your bright smile and your message.
It only takes a fraction of a second for something to divert an already-fragile attention span, and you can bet people aren’t going to go back to rewatch something they missed. Don’t lose them with strange patterns, harsh lighting, or unprofessional logos before you have them, and you should have no problems keeping people focused until the end of your video.