Tips for Live Shots

Stepping in front of the camera is often intimidating. It doesn’t need to be. It becomes easier if you practice these simple tips.

  1. Stand slightly angled to the camera. This invites the viewer to look beyond you and makes your gestures and references to what’s going on seem more natural.
  2. Focus on what you are doing and saying. Enunciate precisely and tune everything else out.
  3. Get to the point. Tell what is new first. Many reporters set the scene often repeating what the anchor just said. Putting the news first makes the live shot more compelling and concise.
  4. Tell the viewers why and how. Avoid truisms. Tell viewers what they don’t know or what isn’t clearly obvious. Don’t forget “so what” or “who cares”.
  5. Provide some background and guide viewers to what will happen next.
  6. Refer to notes if necessary but avoid reading them. Use your thumb to mark key outline points. Make sure you have a beginning, middle and end.
  7. If the anchor said it, don’t repeat or confirm it.
  8. Pace yourself. Don’t race in trying to convey urgency. Listen to people intently.
  9. Move with purpose. Don’t “walk to nowhere.” Think of this as your moment to explain, show or teach.
  10. Use a lav when possible. You don’t need to shout. The mic will pick up your voice fine in most situations.
  11. Conclude by saying your location, name and station.  Avoid “now back to you in the studio” tags.
  12. Hold your gaze on the camera a few seconds after you think the live shot is finished. The anchor may come back with a question.
  13. Refrain from scratching any part of your body.
  14. If you stumble, keep going.
  15. Wrap your shot and push the story forward.
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