Steps To Take Before Appearing On-Screen

Before appearing on camera, it’s natural to want to look your best. In this video, Emmy Award-winning Anchor Kerry Barrett offers some simple steps to take before appearing on-screen.

Video Transcript:

It doesn’t mean that you need to be up in somebody’s business like this. That’s awkward too. But it means that you are showcasing your authority and your credibility.

Welcome to Amplify

Welcome to Amplify with White Knight Productions. I’m your host, Gavin Tice. At White Knight, we’re all about amplifying voices through storytelling. And in this series, we’ll be connecting with industry professionals who know how to boost messages far and wide.

Today, we’re very excited to talk with Kerry Barrett. Kerry is a producer, reporter, Emmy Award-winning Anchor, and Founder of Kerry Barrett Consulting, where you can boost your business, brand, and expertise by bringing out your inner rock star to get the performance of your life.

Here to empower your performance skills and give us some tips on how to overcome your fears of public speaking — Welcome, Kerry!

So given your professional experience and vast career in front of the camera, what are some of the steps that you take before appearing on screen?

Well, as you can see, doing my hair is not one of them. I generally try and look my best.

Some of the steps that I take before I get ready to go on camera are obviously making sure that my gear is set up correctly, that my mic is where it needs to be, that my lighting is where it needs to be, and that I am where I need to be in this little box that you see.

So what does that mean exactly?

Generally speaking, when it comes to lights — this is never a one-size-fits-all answer because it depends on what you have going on in the background. It can even depend a little bit on what you’re wearing, your skin tone, your hair color, all that other good stuff, and what time of day it is.

But generally speaking, the best practice is to have even light sort of surrounding you.

So, I’m sitting in front of a wall of windows, almost floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Despite that, I still have a bunch of ring lights around me. So, I have two ring lights that are up, slightly angled downward and in, and I have two additional ring lights on either side.

Lighting Steps - Setting Up Your Ring Lights

The reason that I don’t have one directly in front of me — and this will be more applicable to those of you who are watching this who wear glasses — is that when you generally have the ring light right in front of you, you get the reflection. It doesn’t matter if you have anti-reflective lenses. You get alien eyes.

And though aesthetically that can be distracting, the more damaging component of having those reflections in your glasses is that people can’t see your eyes.

And then when it comes to me or you or whoever is in front of the camera sitting where they need to be — generally speaking — I divide the screen into a rule of thirds, which is three equal pieces of the pie, if you will. And YOU, the subject, should be sitting smack dab in the center.

Rule of Thirds setup

Now where that varies is if you have like a lamp or a potted plant that will look like it’s sprouting out of the top of your head if you sit directly in the middle of the screen, in which case you might want to sit slightly screen right or screen left.

But the other key is to make sure that you are keeping sort of the dead space to a minimum — and by “dead space,” I mean the space that’s not you. That means you want to have a minimum of headroom.

subject is too close to the camera

It doesn’t mean that you need to be up in somebody’s business like this. That’s awkward too. But it means that you are showcasing your authority and your credibility and you’re not afraid to be present in that video box, and you’re not sort of like shirking off to the side with shifty eyes and giving us a general bad feeling about who you are and what you may be up to.



Thank you so much, Kerry, for talking with us today and sharing your knowledge on public speaking and how to perform confidently in front of the camera. To learn more about Kerry and her business, please visit

And to hear more insider scoops on how to amplify your story, be sure to follow White Knight Productions on your preferred social media for updates on future episodes.



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