Brian Edwards Media

Media Tip: The eyes have it.

glassesThe eyes have it on television.  They tell us what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, they make us like you, they make us trust you – or not. We need to see a person’s eyes  to make an assessment of them, and to make connection with them.

So – glasses on, glasses off? It’s a question we’re asked all the time. There’s no simple answer, but there are some guidelines:

  •  A pair of glasses is a barrier between you and the viewers. All glasses obscure your eyes to some extent.
  •  If you sometimes wear glasses, you’re probably better without them
  •  If you always wear glasses and you take them off, you’ll probably look a bit like a mole

Our general advice is, if you’re comfortable without them, take them off.  If you’re not, don’t.

That said, there are definitely specs that work and specs that don’t.  Many broadcasters who wear face furniture have special pairs for the studio.

  •  Transition lenses can darken under the studio lights. They’ll definitely go darker if you’re outside in daylight. They should be avoided for television.
  •  The best glasses for the screen have fine frames, and lenses large enough not to cut across the eye. Better still if the lenses are frameless.
  •  The new, fashionable glasses with small lenses and strong, dark frames look dreadful on telly. Even worse are the ones with tinted lenses. You might as well be wearing a carnival mask.
  • Sunnies may be cool – but they’re not cool when you’re being interviewed on television.

And the most important tip of all:

  •  If you’re wearing glasses on telly, make sure they’re sitting on your nose properly. If the top of the frame cuts across your eyes you’ll lose all your impact.

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  1. JC: “We need to see a person’s eyes to make an assessment of them, and to make connection with them”.

    “The eyes are the windows to the soul”.

    But every so often, the shades need to be drawn. In certain awkward interviewing situations, many of our pollies’ two-faced traits become even more pronounced. Their natural evasive proclivities become strained under the harsh glare of the TV lights and the unrelenting gaze of the camera. And the discomfiture shows up in the eyes. Darting about, faster than a lizard’s tongue, drinking.

    For them, refractive mirror-type glasses are a “Must”. Instead of seeing their furtive eyes, the viewers get treated to a rainbow kaleidoscopic “Wow” on the lenses. It also effects an impromptu role-reversal: The prey becomes the predator, so to speak.

    The interviewee feels comfortable and secure (almost incognito), and it’s the interviewer who becomes self-conscious. Best of all, for the subject — we, at home, aren’t able to make damning judgements by way of “shifty eyes”.

  2. Many folk watch the body talk of those being interviewed on TV. When the PM is being cornered his eyes flicker, he disembles then mumbles if without a script. Bill’s eyes shift, he gives a little head flick to his right then recovers. Muldoon had it sussed by staring directly down the lens. David Lange always looked quietly in control and steady – credible. I think that Phil is nearer the Muldoon mould and speaks directly though not down the barrel.
    I find it hard to make sense of what anyone is saying if they are wearing dark glasses, and that includes my wife

  3. •Sunnies may be cool – but they’re not cool when you’re being interviewed on television.
    Unless your Lou Reed

  4. 4

    Yeah, Paul makes a point.

    I disremember, exactly, what the Herald columnist DC remarked, regarding FB communication etiquette. But it was along the lines of — it’s impolite for bloggers to hide behind a pseudonym or a moniker. She compares it to not removing sunnies, when being introduced to a stranger. Or, when being interviewed. DC regards it as “rude”. Sir Bob Jones goes even further — he does not like seeing sunglasses atop of the head.