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Why You Should Never Wear Green On Screen

By Roz Morris, Managing Director, TV News London Ltd

A lot of people are increasingly concerned about what to wear on TV and in videos because being on camera is now a part of business life for many people. However, there’s one big challenge to take on even before you decide what to say. It’s your clothes. The problem is that what looks normal and smart in the office doesn’t always work on screen.

One of the biggest hazards to looking good on screen is wearing green. Green goes in and out of fashion.  Currently, it’s having a moment, with green dresses, tops and accessories featuring on fashion pages everywhere.  

So, in my latest video, I’m deliberately doing the wrong thing and wearing a green jacket in front of a green background. To show you the hazards of wearing green on screen. This background is called green screen and it’s the system that allows pictures of different backgrounds to appear behind you when you are interviewed.

Green screen used to be available only in TV studios but now you can buy your own green screen system and use it to provide a smart background of, for example, a modern office interior, when recording promotional videos or live-streaming webinars from your own (possibly less smart) office.

How green screen separates colours

Green screen separates the colour of the background from one shot then overlays the now “background-less” shot onto another one. Usually, the colour of the background will be green, or sometimes blue or yellow, because these colours are not natural human skin tones. Most broadcasting studios now use green screen.

When you walk into a TV studio with green screen, it looks like a green blanket placed on the wall behind the chair you will sit in. But of course, when you start your interview, the viewers don’t see anything green, they see a background behind you which is usually a cityscape or a landscape or an office interior. 

All this means that my green jacket looks very smart off camera, but it looks terrible in a TV studio using green screen or in a green screen setup for business videos. In my latest video, I show you what this green jacket looks like when it has  green screen behind it.

Once you have the green screen behind you, you can see the green jacket doesn’t look green at all.   It looks blue and it’s also got some funny movement going on because you can see the images from the slide behind me, actually appearing on the jacket. Worse still, the images on the jacket are moving about.

Some clothes are always a problem on screen

It’s not just green jackets that can cause a problem. You’ll get the same movement effect if you wear a tie, a jumper, a shirt, a dress or a top that’s green. All this looks odd and is very distracting to viewers, and it means they will be thinking about your clothes and how strange they look and they won’t be listening to what you are saying,  They may never even start listening to what you are saying!

Other distracting clothes you shouldn’t wear on TV or in videos include clothes with very small dots and stripes and checks.  These also cause distracting movement on your clothes because the camera can’t cope with the tiny colour changes and so there’s a strobing effect. Clothes with very large patterns and ruffles and frills, are also distracting and stop the audience concentrating on what you are saying.

The basic thing to remember is that some normal clothes will technically look wrong on TV and in videos. What you need to do before you do anything on camera is to work out that you look neat and tidy and professional and you’re wearing the right colours, and nothing fussy or with small patterns.

It’s always best if people don’t notice what you’re wearing

Your best result is for people not to remember what you’re wearing on screen. When you’re promoting your business or organisation, you’re a spokesperson not a personality cult. 

If people don’t notice your clothes, then you have a fighting chance that some people will actually listen to what you are saying and they’ll contact you and give you their business. If you look odd or unprofessional, your chances of building your reputation and increasing your income through TV or video appearances will range from very low to zero.

Worried about how to look your best on TV or in videos? Contact us at TV News London. We have more than 20 years’ experience of helping our clients to look and sound their best on TV and on video.

Here’s my video about this

Worried about how to look your best on TV or in videos? Contact us at TV News London. We have more than 20 years’ experience of helping our clients to look and sound their best on TV and on video.