B2 Productions: What Not to Wear

March 26, 2017
Tracy Phillips

The script is written, the crew is set, the CEO has a few hours to dedicate to this video project…but what the heck should he or she wear?

This is almost always an afterthought for many of my clients, however, it’s more important than you think. Video allows you or company to reach out and connect with your audience in a personal way. Much like a first impression on an interview or date, your company video is essentially a first impression…and you want to make a good one.

I am often asked if the talent should wear a suit, a tie, a blazer or jeans? My answer is always the same. What do they wear most of the time? You don’t want to put a quirky doctor who usually wears a t-shirt and jeans into a suit -it doesn’t fit and may affect his performance. It’s also important to think about your avatar or audience. A good rule of thumb is to dress one notch nicer than what your audience is wearing (or more if that’s your style). If your avatar is young entrepreneurs, you may want to wear a structured jacket with jeans. If your avatar is medical professionals then a suit might be a better fit.

Always come to the shoot with a few wardrobe options.

A few months ago I was on a shoot where we had two doctors talking on-screen. They lived on separate coasts and showed up wearing the same exact tie. Luckily, our east coast doc had 3 other ties with him and we continued on schedule.

So before each shoot, when B2 sends out the filming schedule we also attach a little “What NOT to Wear” infographic. My clients love it. They can simply forward the graphic to the talent and concentrate on more important things…like what we’re going to order for lunch.

So here is my cheat sheet for dressing for the camera.

GREAT COLORS ON CAMERA: Stick to jewel tones and you can’t go wrong. What are jewel tones? I’m glad you asked.

jewel tones

COLORS TO AVOID: White, red and black are three colors I don’t recommend on camera. White tends to make the talent glow and takes the focus away from their head (which is where you want the audience to be looking). Black may be slimming, but unless the talent is perfectly lit, black can also age you. It absorbs the light and casts unflattering shadows on the face. Ladies, if you INSIST on wearing black then add a pop of color by your face with a bold, colorful necklace or scarf. Red is one color that comes with a caveat. If the red is deep and closer to a jewel tone it will look great. If it’s fire engine red or has too much orange it looks bad. Steer clear of neon as well…unless you’re shooting an 80’s dance video.

GREEN SCREEN: Are you going to be on green screen? Then don’t wear any green! You’ll disappear into the background. And unless you need your glasses to read the telepromter, it’s best to leave those off. Glasses can create a little bit of a keying challenge in post production.

HAIR & MAKE-UP: 95% of our shoots are budgeted with a hair and make-up professional. Even if you are a dog trainer teaching an online course, make-up is necessary. Your hair should look neat with no wild flyaways. Well done make-up will enhance your natural charm while downplaying some of those features you may want to soften. If you don’t have the budget for a pro, spend a little on some high quality powder so you can take care of facial shine or head shine.

STRUCTURE: Lapel mics are easiest to place and hide if the talent is wearing something structured on top. What does that mean? A structured jacket, blazer or button down shirt are great. A gauzy t-shirt or blousy silk dress are bad choices.

A SMILE: Yup! I just went there. This one is free. Couple it with a head tilt and some hand gestures and you can bolster your natural charm and likability.