I’ve been doing some TV work lately, and I dress myself for camera, so I’ve had to familiarize myself with the basics of dressing for television. The rules are less strict than they used to be, thanks to improved camera and display technology, but they still apply. Here are the basics, if you find yourself having to dress for the camera.
- Avoid small patterns. This especially applies to narrow stripes or fine checks. These can distort on camera, especially when compressed for digital. This is especially true for larger fields like shirts and jackets.
- Avoid white shirts. White shirts can glare under bright studio lights, which camera guys hate. Go with blue instead.
- Favor fabrics with a soft finish. Hard worsted wools (even fine ones) can look shiny and cheap under ultra-bright light. Flannel is a great choice for this reason.
- Favor dark solids. Navy blue or charcoal gray will always look good.
- Avoid logos. They’ll likely make you cover them up, whatever they are. They’ll even use some felt and gummy stuff to cover up a Lacoste alligator.
- If you’re using a green screen, avoid green. Otherwise you’ll turn into the semi-invisible man.
- Do your ironing. Under bright lights, small wrinkles can look big and scary.
- When in doubt, bring a backup. Check with the camera operator and director or producer that something is reading well on the monitor.