What (Not) to Wear on Camera
While Sarah Palin glittered her way to a Donald Trump endorsement, most of us can’t pull off that on-camera look. In fact, it’s generally advised to stay away from shiny, high contrast fabrics, let alone shiny stuff dangling off a fabric. This is because contrast can confuse the camera sensor, and may cause a “moire effect”–the image may seem to vibrate. Especially once the quality is degraded through broadcast or Web compression.
So what’s best for your next event or appearance that will be recorded on video?
In this heady pre-primary season, take some cues from our political class. For women, solid jewel tones work well. Reds can be tricky. But you’ll still see plenty of women wearing them for televised events like the inaugural swearing-in ceremony or the State of the Union address. (To be honest, purple stands out more, as in this photo of the SOU a few years back.) For men, a pop of color in a tie works well (see Lindsey Graham’s canary yellow). The same rules about avoiding busy patterns and high contrast apply to both ties and scarves. The Prince of Wales is a natty dresser, but this combo of polka-dot tie on striped shirt would be a nightmare on camera.
It’s always best to bring a few options to a shoot, and if you have time, do a short screen test. And if your production is against a green-screen back drop, of course avoid green (remember to check earrings, ties, etc!) or those elements will disappear–just like magic!
Amy DeLouise is a director/producer who works hard to make people look great on camera. Her book on producing with real people on camera comes out this spring from Focal Press.
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