Making eye contact with the audience means looking into the camera for IMAG, but do your artists know where to look? Here’s some tips…including a REALLY cheap way of faking a tally light on a FOH camera…read on.
If you don’t communicate to the artists where they should be looking, then the emotional connection to the audience from having IMAG at all will be lessened. so during setup or rehersal, remember to tell the artists where the main camera(s) that you want them to look at are. Once the lights go down, they won’t be able to see them so it’s best to point them out beforehand.
Of course in a pro gig you would have tally lights on the cameras so they know which one is live, but on VLOBLIVE gigs that’s almost unheard of – most prosumer videe mixers don’t support tally anyway. A GREAT way of faking a tally light on the cheap is to buy an LED rear bicycle light – you know the kind that flashes? Tape this onto the front of the camera with a ‘cone’ of gaffer tape to keep the light off the audience. Put it in flashing mode and I can guarantee even in a dark auditorium, the artists will be able to pick out the camera locations and look right at them. Of course it will run all the time, so they won’t know WHICH camera to look at, but we can’t make it too easy!!
If this is not appropriate, try the old trick of sticking some white tape in a line on the floor where they need to stand to be facing the camera, and tell them to make sure they are standing on the line.
If you have some talent who are reluctant not to look straight down the hall, you should suggest to them that “at some point” during their performance they should look to the camera, and then you have to just be sure you catch it when they do.