After looking at a few thousand video “selfies” made with the Knovio online presentation tool, the conclusion is inescapable: most people don’t intuitively know how to frame their self-headshot for maximum effect. It’s worthwhile, then, to take a moment to see how the network news programs showcase their anchor talent, and then apply that to Knovio.
Take a look at these shots of some of the most visible news anchors in America. What do you notice?
The framing of each of these standard shots is characterized by three things:
- The top of the person’s head is close to but just below the top of the frame;
- The shoulders of the speaker are clearly visible; and
- The eyes of the speaker are approximately 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame.
In contrast, take a look at these (disguised) headshot video images taken straight from publicly-distributed presentations made by Knovio users:
These display the most common mistake made by Knovio users: improper framing, with too much headroom. And because we as television viewers are conditioned to a certain style of video framing, the result is that the video can be distracting. What’s more, improperly framed videos rob the viewer of the chance to read your body language, facial expressions, and gestures that can add to your Knovio story.
Video producers often talk about the “rule of thirds” in composing a video frame, in which the most important elements of the picture fall on the one-third mark within the frame (see the reference image to the right). In a single-subject image like a face-forward headshot, the vertical lines are less relevant, but it’s generally agreed that the most powerful framing is achieved by placing the presenter’s eyes on the horizontal line one-third of the way down from the top of the frame, and the top of the head just below the top of the frame.
Here’s how this applies to a presentation I recently recorded for Present-It.com (see the image to the left). By keeping your eyes on the one-third line, your head just below the top of the frame, and your head centered in the frame, you’ll look your best, and be in position to take full advantage of the gestures, body language, and facial expressions that are very much part of a well-presented Knovio story.