TV tips, story behind my new Haworth Chair

One thing I try to do is always treat my guests on my show well. I don’t always succeed. It’s my job to have a conversation with them and try to get them to look good. It’s why I tell them, during demos, not to look around at me but rather to stare inside the camera lens. I learned when I was on the BBC and other TV shows that if you are looking around you’ll look shifty-eyed, not confident.

Other things you should do on TV? Wear a shirt that has a solid color. Blue, or gray, or something like that. Generally avoid white or red or really bright yellow, cause those colors sometimes bloom on TV and don’t look good. But, definitely avoid patterns. The worst will pulsate.

Ask the host where to look. Sometimes they want you to look inside the camera. Other times they don’t. If they want you to look at the camera, stare at it and don’t look away while you’re on air. This is much harder than it looks.

Anyway, if you come to PodTech and you’re in the “hot seat” on my show, you’ll be sitting in a new Haworth Zody chair, worth about $1,000. That was sent to us by Don Lair of Sit4less.com. It’s a really nice chair, certainly better than the $150 chairs PodTech bought everyone. Thanks Don for letting me try that out and giving our guests a more comfortable experience!

The first guest to use the chair was Dean Haglund, former star on Xfiles.

This week I’ll be scheduling the next two months of ScobleShow guests. I have about 200 requests and can’t get them all on the show, unfortunately.

Got any other tips for people who come on my show?

Comments

  1. It’s also cradle-to-cradle certified (as opposed to cradle-to-grave), meaning the manufacturers made it easy to recycle when the chair is too old to be used as a chair. It’s made with something like 50% recycled content as well. Very cool chair from a very cool company.

  2. It’s also cradle-to-cradle certified (as opposed to cradle-to-grave), meaning the manufacturers made it easy to recycle when the chair is too old to be used as a chair. It’s made with something like 50% recycled content as well. Very cool chair from a very cool company.

  3. My advice to guests is:

    Don’t try to mask or bury your plugs in lame advice or talking about a chair. Just come out and say, “X Donated this so I’m advertising X.”

  4. My advice to guests is:

    Don’t try to mask or bury your plugs in lame advice or talking about a chair. Just come out and say, “X Donated this so I’m advertising X.”

  5. Yeah what Goebbels said, plus expensive chairs are the hallmark of doomed start-up’s. ;)

  6. Yeah what Goebbels said, plus expensive chairs are the hallmark of doomed start-up’s. ;)

  7. You know Coulter,
    when you were just a curmudgeon commenter, you were entertaining.

    But now that you are an ex employee, your posts are a bit bitter in taste.

    A bitter ex employee?

    Whatever.
    Consistently negative and now, even worse, boring.

  8. You know Coulter,
    when you were just a curmudgeon commenter, you were entertaining.

    But now that you are an ex employee, your posts are a bit bitter in taste.

    A bitter ex employee?

    Whatever.
    Consistently negative and now, even worse, boring.

  9. I’ve done quite a few TV interviews, from both sides of the camera, and have found the most effective setup to be:

    1. Frame the shot such that the person being interviewed is on one of the 1/3rd lines of the screen, never central.

    2. Angle the camera such that they are looking slightly across the screen, into the “empty” space about 6″-1ft to the side of the camera.

    3. If the interviewer is not on-screen then sit them slightly to the side of the camera, and maintain eye contact between the interviewee and the interviewer.

    4. Never allow the interviewee to look directly into the camera lense.

    This gives a natural “observing a conversation” style of shot. You’ll notice that most documentaries use this style for segments of the video which are contributions from people other than the main presenter. If the presenter is specifically narating to the audience then they would look directly into the camera.

    P.S. Robert – next time you’re in England do come and visit Mode Lighting. We’re quite close to London, and our R&D team are doing some very exciting things with Smart-Home automation.

  10. I’ve done quite a few TV interviews, from both sides of the camera, and have found the most effective setup to be:

    1. Frame the shot such that the person being interviewed is on one of the 1/3rd lines of the screen, never central.

    2. Angle the camera such that they are looking slightly across the screen, into the “empty” space about 6″-1ft to the side of the camera.

    3. If the interviewer is not on-screen then sit them slightly to the side of the camera, and maintain eye contact between the interviewee and the interviewer.

    4. Never allow the interviewee to look directly into the camera lense.

    This gives a natural “observing a conversation” style of shot. You’ll notice that most documentaries use this style for segments of the video which are contributions from people other than the main presenter. If the presenter is specifically narating to the audience then they would look directly into the camera.

    P.S. Robert – next time you’re in England do come and visit Mode Lighting. We’re quite close to London, and our R&D team are doing some very exciting things with Smart-Home automation.

  11. It is a bit tedious to hear people implying that Robert can be “bought” for a $1,000 chair. What I heard is that he thought it was a great product, and wanted to share it out. He wouldn’t have know how good it was unless the supplier had given him one to try.

    I used to be a buyer for a big retail chain. Suppliers gave me all the free stuff I could carry. But I only bought items for our stores that had great value, great service, and met the needs of the customers.

    It took way more than a free toy to buy me. In fact, I don’t ever remember anyone ponying up the required price.

  12. It is a bit tedious to hear people implying that Robert can be “bought” for a $1,000 chair. What I heard is that he thought it was a great product, and wanted to share it out. He wouldn’t have know how good it was unless the supplier had given him one to try.

    I used to be a buyer for a big retail chain. Suppliers gave me all the free stuff I could carry. But I only bought items for our stores that had great value, great service, and met the needs of the customers.

    It took way more than a free toy to buy me. In fact, I don’t ever remember anyone ponying up the required price.

  13. Dick: not to mention I’m going to have my guests sit on the chair. If they don’t like it word will get around that I sold my soul for a crappy chair. Hint: it ain’t crappy.

  14. Dick: not to mention I’m going to have my guests sit on the chair. If they don’t like it word will get around that I sold my soul for a crappy chair. Hint: it ain’t crappy.

  15. (1) As long as the relationship with the chair company is spelled out (each time it is mentioned would be good) I don’t see what the complaints are all about.

    (2) While you are working out what kinds of shirts to wear, could all of you vloggers and podcasters get together on a standard setting for the volume control? Say “5″ (probably specified in some standard decibel or gain value that audio engineers would use). I get sick and tired of having to adjust my volume control for almost every such presentation, and worse, sometimes drastically different settings within a presentation. How hard can this be?

    (3) you know, I’m not so sure about that staring into the camera idea. I don’t think it comes off very naturally. If the interviewer is in the picture, the interviewee should be speaking to him or her, not the camera. Of course SOME interviews are recorded with the interviewer off camera, or (as the BBC products you mentioned) the questions being posed as part of a documentary and the answers (from “the expert”) being played as an insert into the program. EG: “we asked Dr. Peter Hutchinghamson of the Edingbourough Fence Institute what he thought about the new triangular designs for fence posts”… followed by a scene shift to the good Doctors office and him saying (oftne to the camera): “These have not been adequately evaluated outside our laboratories in my opinion and while they might be more stable and economical to produce I am concerned about the overall effect on Global Warming..” etc. Last time I checked, this was not the way you were running your interviews though.

    (4) I wish people didn’t make such a big deal of “shifty eyes” or draw any conclusions about the persons veracity from it. Since this seems to be victimology week, I suffer from what is commonly referred to as “lazy eye” which means that if I try and stare at one thing for too long my stronger eye is soon doing the staring and my other eye is wondering off to other things (without my even knowing it). That means that if I attempt to stare into the eyes of the person I’m talking to it is *they* who avert their eyes to avoid offending me, laughing, or whatever. Most people who want to lie to you will make it a point to stare right at you while they do it. There is no correlation. Really.

  16. (1) As long as the relationship with the chair company is spelled out (each time it is mentioned would be good) I don’t see what the complaints are all about.

    (2) While you are working out what kinds of shirts to wear, could all of you vloggers and podcasters get together on a standard setting for the volume control? Say “5″ (probably specified in some standard decibel or gain value that audio engineers would use). I get sick and tired of having to adjust my volume control for almost every such presentation, and worse, sometimes drastically different settings within a presentation. How hard can this be?

    (3) you know, I’m not so sure about that staring into the camera idea. I don’t think it comes off very naturally. If the interviewer is in the picture, the interviewee should be speaking to him or her, not the camera. Of course SOME interviews are recorded with the interviewer off camera, or (as the BBC products you mentioned) the questions being posed as part of a documentary and the answers (from “the expert”) being played as an insert into the program. EG: “we asked Dr. Peter Hutchinghamson of the Edingbourough Fence Institute what he thought about the new triangular designs for fence posts”… followed by a scene shift to the good Doctors office and him saying (oftne to the camera): “These have not been adequately evaluated outside our laboratories in my opinion and while they might be more stable and economical to produce I am concerned about the overall effect on Global Warming..” etc. Last time I checked, this was not the way you were running your interviews though.

    (4) I wish people didn’t make such a big deal of “shifty eyes” or draw any conclusions about the persons veracity from it. Since this seems to be victimology week, I suffer from what is commonly referred to as “lazy eye” which means that if I try and stare at one thing for too long my stronger eye is soon doing the staring and my other eye is wondering off to other things (without my even knowing it). That means that if I attempt to stare into the eyes of the person I’m talking to it is *they* who avert their eyes to avoid offending me, laughing, or whatever. Most people who want to lie to you will make it a point to stare right at you while they do it. There is no correlation. Really.

  17. macbeach: good suggestions. Lately I’ve been leaving the audio level alone, but that will get louder or quieter depending on 1) Distance of camera to speaker 2) How loud the speaker is.

    Regarding looking into the camera, I generally agree with you, but when on the BBC they had the host looking into a bank of screens, so really when you were looking at the camera you were looking at the host.

    But to me, the host was a plate on the wall. Really hard to focus on them.

    Visuals on TV are different than visuals face-to-face. It’s unfortunate, that’s for sure, but explains why certain types of people keep getting on air.

  18. macbeach: good suggestions. Lately I’ve been leaving the audio level alone, but that will get louder or quieter depending on 1) Distance of camera to speaker 2) How loud the speaker is.

    Regarding looking into the camera, I generally agree with you, but when on the BBC they had the host looking into a bank of screens, so really when you were looking at the camera you were looking at the host.

    But to me, the host was a plate on the wall. Really hard to focus on them.

    Visuals on TV are different than visuals face-to-face. It’s unfortunate, that’s for sure, but explains why certain types of people keep getting on air.

  19. Nah not bitter, still the same as always…skeptical sure, but life’s too short to be bitter.

  20. Nah not bitter, still the same as always…skeptical sure, but life’s too short to be bitter.

  21. “Dick: not to mention I’m going to have my guests sit on the chair. If they don’t like it word will get around that I sold my soul for a crappy chair. Hint: it ain’t crappy.”

    Like your guests would stand up, throw the clip on mic off and trot out of the building because they didn’t like the chair.

    Scoble, you are something else.

  22. “Dick: not to mention I’m going to have my guests sit on the chair. If they don’t like it word will get around that I sold my soul for a crappy chair. Hint: it ain’t crappy.”

    Like your guests would stand up, throw the clip on mic off and trot out of the building because they didn’t like the chair.

    Scoble, you are something else.

  23. I can’t believe some of the comments in this post. Sure, the chair is expensive, but (1) it has a light impact on the earth, (2) it’s nice to look at and a quality chair, and (3) it makes guests feel good. If you have a guest and you treat them like royalty, that’s remarkable and sustainable and word tends to spread.

    If you buy a couple of leather, Oprah chairs for interviewing, what are they going to cost? Probably the same.

    People that are droning on here, have no idea about the innovative, entrepreneurial aspects of Haworth. Read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, there’s a one-pager on it. Haworth decided that people wanted an ergonomic, modern chair. Instead of making something run-of-the -mill like all other work chairs, they made an unbelievable product. It sold like crazy too. I’d think an entrepreneurial media company like PodTech would enjoy the rub-off from having a good chair like the Zody. It’s a smart move.

  24. I can’t believe some of the comments in this post. Sure, the chair is expensive, but (1) it has a light impact on the earth, (2) it’s nice to look at and a quality chair, and (3) it makes guests feel good. If you have a guest and you treat them like royalty, that’s remarkable and sustainable and word tends to spread.

    If you buy a couple of leather, Oprah chairs for interviewing, what are they going to cost? Probably the same.

    People that are droning on here, have no idea about the innovative, entrepreneurial aspects of Haworth. Read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, there’s a one-pager on it. Haworth decided that people wanted an ergonomic, modern chair. Instead of making something run-of-the -mill like all other work chairs, they made an unbelievable product. It sold like crazy too. I’d think an entrepreneurial media company like PodTech would enjoy the rub-off from having a good chair like the Zody. It’s a smart move.

  25. Anyone giving him a hard time probably never tried out one of these kick-ass chairs.

    One of my clients is in furniture – and I would not shut up about a chair (similar design to what I see in that picture) I used at their offices for a couple of days for the next few weeks. It was simply amazingly comfortable.

  26. Anyone giving him a hard time probably never tried out one of these kick-ass chairs.

    One of my clients is in furniture – and I would not shut up about a chair (similar design to what I see in that picture) I used at their offices for a couple of days for the next few weeks. It was simply amazingly comfortable.