7 On-Camera Tips
Video game streaming doesn’t technically require a camera. In fact, Lirik, one of the most popular streamers on Twitch, almost always broadcasts voice-only streams. He’s one of a handful of streamers who don’t use a camera on a regular basis.
But Twitch is far more popular today than when streamers like Lirik started. New streamers who don’t show themselves on video will struggle to find an audience. If you’re just starting out as a streamer, a camera is highly, highly recommended.
Don’t worry if you’ve never been in front of a camera before. These seven tips will help you appear professional, confident and entertaining.
1. Dress for Success
What looks perfectly normal in real life can look busy and downright strange on-camera. When dressing for a stream, avoid the following:
- Bright colors and whites
- Stripes, polka dots, swirls and other busy patterns
- Excessive jewelry and accessories
- Black and very dark colors
Instead, you’ll want to wear solid, muted colors like blues, greens and grays. Of course, streamers can look informal and eccentric. Feel free to dress as crazy as you want. Just make sure you follow the on-camera rules so your outfit is easy to read.
Also, cameras tend to add weight to a person’s appearance. So avoid clothing which is too big for your frame, as you’ll end looking like a shapeless blob.
2. Take it Slow
Generally, nerves make people talk fast. If you’re new to streaming, you might find yourself speaking at an unnaturally quick pace when on-camera. Take your time, speak clearly and don’t be afraid of a little dead air.
Now, some streamers break this rule with great success. xQc is a famous Overwatch streamer known for his rapid-fire, mile-a-minute delivery. If you’re naturally comfortable talking at a fast pace, go right ahead. Just make sure you’re not talking fast out of nervousness as the audience will be able to detect your discomfort.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Many new streamers worry about saying or doing something dumb. So they wind up not saying or doing much of anything at all. But here’s a secret: All streamers screw up from time to time.
The only way to become a more polished streamer is with practice. Fortunately, you have plenty of time. Successful streams last at least a few hours a day for five to seven days a week. Even if you don’t have a single viewer, talk into the mic like you have a large audience.
Besides, no one expects you to be perfect. Mistakes often help endear you to your audience.
4. Look into the Camera
Some streamers set up their camera to show a three-quarter view. This usually isn’t the recommended setup because the view can seem impersonal. Instead, you’ll probably want to use a straight shot where you’re directly facing your audience.
Treat the camera like you would a beloved pet. Don’t scowl at the camera. Don’t make long, intense eye contact. Don’t let your eyes dart around nervously. Instead, look at the camera in a friendly, non-threating way. People will respond well to your welcoming attitude.
5. Add Variety
Streams are several hours long. For the most part, the shot will remain static. After all, you’re not changing locations. So try to add variety to your streams by changing what you can.
Popular Starcraft and Overwatch streamer Desrow is a good example here. His camera shows just his face and upper body. But he adds variety to his stream by wearing weird, wild and funny hats. Every time someone subscribes to his channel, that person gets to pick a hat for Desrow to wear.
Even just some small outfit or background change can be a fun way to liven up a static shot. Don’t be afraid to try out different ways to personalize your stream.
6. Consider a Green Screen
Also called a Chroma key, a green screen lets you custom create your background. You have two options. First, you can create a virtual environment of basically anything you choose. Stream from the beach, Mars or anywhere else.
But most streamers use a green screen to simply remove the background entirely. The image of your face and body will appear directly in the game, like a cut-out at the bottom of the screen. This gives more visual real estate to the game. Plus, you don’t have to broadcast with a boring wall or room behind you.
7. Be Yourself
Finally, the number one tip for on-camera success is to simply be yourself. Don’t try to emulate the personality or look of other streamers. Be unique and create your own brand. Trust your instincts and create a stream that you would want to watch.
Not sure exactly what type of streamer you are? That’s alright. As you stream, you’ll learn what works for you and your audience.
Remember, every successful streamer started small. They had to learn what to wear, how to talk to the camera and just generally how to broadcast. All streamers take a while to develop a quality stream, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not drawing an audience right away. Although intimidating at first, you absolutely can learn how to be comfortable on camera!