Kenan Doyle Branam
Media Consultant / Coach / Presenter / Producer
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You On Video

Showing Up and Being Heard:

Skills for Presenting On Camera with Skype, YouTube or Broadcast Television

This article is an introduction and agenda for a seminar or workshop. (See the Presentation Topic here.)

[ Working Draft ]
You On Video

Video on the Web and on mobile phones is the new norm for one-to-one, one-to-many communication. Whether you need to communicate with your business partners, team members, customers, or your family and friends, there is a video application for face-to-face conversation.

  • Are you ready to be on Video Camera?
  • Are you "camera shy?
  • Are you intimidated by the technology?
  • Get ready for your 15-minutes of fame!

We can support you in Showing Up, Being Heard, looking good, and feeling good about your Video Presence, whether you just want to meet someone for a conversation on Skype or you want to record a presentation for YouTube to market your product or service.

You On Camera

You have to PAY Attention to EARN Attention!

"In the information economy, ATTENTION is the monetary unit." - John Perry Barlow, One of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Attention is what humans have learned to do to survive and thrive in the world. Normally, we do this instinctively, subconsciously, on auto pilot. We continually shift our focus to what "attacks" our attention: fear, fight or flight, food, and a mating opportunity. In the age of information, our senses are in overload from all the "attacks" from people who want our attention and our money. To surive and thrive in this, sometimes, virtual world, we need to become conscious of our awareness process and intentionally "pay attention."

We can choose what, where, when, and how to pay attention!

As we continue to project and extend human cognitive processes into technology, we are challenged to reflect more on our own cognitive abilities. In order to understand Media Technology, we need to understand ourselves and our Intentionality. In order to deal with virtual reality, we need to "ground" ourselves in our reality.

Intentional Attention

When we decide to pay attention to someone speaking in front of us or on television, we focus our eyes and ears on the person's appearance and voice: facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, rhythm of words, and of course, meaning of the words.

What's happening in the background becomes less conscious. Not unconscious, if we consider that our sense perceptions still "record" everything in the environment: the ambient sounds, the play of light from darkness to brightness, and, of course, the objects and other people in the room or space.

That background includes our internal processing of our sense perception: our reflective thoughts, judgements, and the "stories" we make up about the person we are paying attention to as well as the story we are creating about ourselves.

Yes, it's complicated but that's what humans have natural abilities to do, more or less successfully. At any moment, we can direct our awareness, intentionally, by deciding what is important at the moment. Conscious practice enhances the fidelity and focus of our attention.


Facilitated Exercise: Grounding and Directing Attention

  • We can enhance our Attention by taking an inventory, first of our selves internally, from noticing our feet on the ground, the rhythm of our breath, the feelings in our body parts, our internal dialogue, and, finally, our subtle feelings and emotions. This we can call "grounding" in the here and now.
  • Then, we can expand our awareness outward to include our external environment in the present moment by paying attention to what we see, hear, sense with our skin, or taste with our breath within or without our immediate space.

Once we notice the flow of our attention, then we can direct our awareness to what's important to our intentions. Once you know Where you are, then you can find Where you want to go.


Media Consciousness: Paying Attention to Media

All the ways we communicate with one another is through a medium of some nature: the physical space around us, our voices, and all the media vehicles such as books, newspapers, the Web, and for our purposes today, though video.

Now, let's consider seeing and hearing what's important to notice "through the lens."

First of all, even though we try to create video technology to reproduce images from the real world, we also want to manipulate those images to express our unique perspectives, our message, our memes, just as an artist paints a picture. So, no matter how faithful or how high the fidelity of the "lens" is, it is NOT truly transparent, literally or virtually.

Background-forground Through the Lens
Through the Lens

Facilitated Exercise: Dealing With Camera Shock

It's an common saying that "the camera doesn't lie." It does. Technically, it is a medium that "massages" your message. So, the final deliverable on video is your communication "product", not you. It does "represent" you. You can learn to creatively manage it.

  • Looking at your image on camera and getting comfortable
  • The camera lens is Not a mirror. Neither is it a still, clear pond of water. Echo is on the other side. :-)
  • Connecting with another person through the technology "lens".
Caravaggio's Narcissus public domain
The myth of Narcissus and Echo

Creating the Message

  • What is your Story?
  • The Container
  • The One-Minute Message

    In the broadcast television world, we use to produce one minute commercial spots. We knew from viewer statistics that our "spot" had three to five seconds to capture a viewer's attention before they clicked away. Then the following 55 seconds had to be really exciting to keep them in our short story message. Now a days, most commercials are 10 to 15 seconds. Think about it.

    On the Web, the visitor's attention span is about the same or less. Think about making your video message about a minute. If you have information or enough drama to share that a certain audience really needs or wants, go for it.

    Realize that, on the Web, you can present a brief message, enticement, hint, then offer a clear link to more content, maybe a series of videos, for the visitor to choose quickly. That's what the Web is all about.


Media Clarity: Through the Lens Clearly

  • Dressing for video
    • Colors that don't draw attention away from your face
    • Patterns and strips may cause resolution noise
    • How much skin should you show?
    • Style and attitude
    • Make Up?
  • Creating the Scene
    • Light, dark, and neutral background
    • Standing or sitting
    • Props
  • Framing & Composition
    • Medium Wide - MW
    • Medium Close Up - MCU
    • Close Up - CU
    • Extreme Close up - ECU
  • Audio Clarity
    • Wired or wireless microphone
    • Ambient noise
    • Intermittent noise
    • Room Echo
    • Body/clothes noise
    • Wireless interference
  • Video Clarity
    • 3-point Lighting
    • Ambient lighting and light spikes
    • Color Temperature
    • Contrast and Tone

Creating a video series




Shared Documents


Kenan Branam with George H. Bush
Kenan Branam with George H. Bush

Dan Rather 2008
Dan Rather

George and Barbara Bush at Kennebunkport for United Way TV spots
George and Barbara Bush at Kennebunkport for United Way TV spots

James Baker recording for Victory of Freedom Tribute to be shown Tuesday, January 11, 2000 at Nixon Library Gala
James Baker recording for Victory of Freedom Tribute

Kenan Branam with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow
Kenan Branam with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow at Houston Studios

Greta Van Susteren live from Houston Studios for CNN's Burden of Proof
Greta Van Susteren live from Houston Studios for CNN's Burden of Proof

Geraldo Rivera for CNBC

Dr. Brazelton and Barbara Bush

Tommy Tune at the Hobby Center Grand Opening
Tommy Tune at the Hobby Center Grand Opening

FlashNet's CEO and officers

George Foreman Walk and Box Video
George Foreman Walk and Box Video

(See Article: Prompting VIPs)

Lyndon B. Johnson
George Bush
(and Barbara)
James Baker
Ann Richards
Bob Lanier
Lee Brown
Mrs. John Connally

Arthur Andersen
Fairmont Hotels
Global Sante Fe
United Way

Dan Rather
Amy Goodman
Bill O'Reilly Factor
Michel T. Halbouty
George Foreman
Catherine Crier, CourtTV
Geraldo Rivera, CNBC
Greta Van Susteren
Lyle Lovett
Paul & Linda McCartney
Hakeem Olajuwon
Marylou Retton
Dale Robertson
Oprah Winfrey
Tommy tune