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What do you think when you see people shooting TikTok videos or live streaming in public?

I had to do it as part of a project for work recently, and it was nerve wracking.

I’m more of an introvert and not at all confident being in front of other people.

It was a challenge to step out of my comfort zone and put myself in the spotlight.

Thankfully, a friend came along for the shoot and made the whole process a lot more fun and carefree.

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But halfway through our filming, a nagging thought came into my head: Are other people watching and judging me or is it just me overthinking things?

With TikTok videos, Instagram Stories, Twitch streams and YouTube Shorts, there are so many ways for people to interact with an online audience now — and that means when we encounter anyone videoing themselves in public, chances are, that clip is going to find its way online

And as Singaporeans, we are constantly bombarded with online drama like when a woman accused a man of staring at her in the gym when he was actually watching Mr Bean on the television above her head. Talk about looking foolish!

But such caution is understandable when there are other incidents like the man who admitted to taking photos of two women on a Sentosa beach after they confronted him.

So what are the do’s and don’ts for shooting videos in public?

Be mindful of those around you

taking tik toks in public
Image source: Shutterstock / Twinsterphoto

Nowadays, everyone is a budding filmmaker — going out of our way to achieve our desired shot.

Selfie sticks, tripod stands and (for indoor clisp) LED ring lights are just some of the tools in our kit. I once saw a teenage vlogger walk through Plaza Singapura, chatting to her live audience on Twitch while wearing a phone hooked up to a harness!

I dodged around her though, because I didn’t want to show up on her feed.

So when I’m shooting videos, I am mindful of those around me, making sure I don’t inadvertently snap someone in my shot or catch someone in a clip. Even though I don’t need their permission to shoot in public, I feel that it’s polite not to make someone feel uncomfortable.

And when I start to shoot, I make it obvious that I’m doing it. I don’t get many issues because I’m a girl, but a male friend of mine told me that he is more mindful of how he takes photos and videos in public because he doesn’t want to get accused of doing something unsavoury.

Timing is also key. I pick times where there are fewer people around — in the wee hours in crowded areas like Orchard Road, or conversely, during office hours and weekdays in recreational areas like parks and nature reserves.

Dealing with judgy looks

taking tik toks in public
Image source: Shutterstock / yamasan0708

But when I can’t avoid the crowd, one of my biggest challenges is dealing with stares.

Some people (especially the older generations) may not fully understand what millennials and Gen Zs are doing on social media.

They feel as if we are just wasting time filming videos and taking photos, often forgetting that it is part of how we document our lives, and a way of recording our passions, interests and the simple joys of experiencing things.

These I try to ignore, but I have to say sometimes, a look from a judgy auntie is enough to make me rush (and mess up) my shot!

Dealing with curious stares

taking tik toks in public
Image source: Shutterstock / Minda photos

Aside from judgy looks, I sometimes have to deal with curious stares

It is rare for people to see the ‘behind the scenes’ for photoshoots or video shoots.

Recently, I came across a local influencer talking about her wedding photoshoot along Orchard Road.

She said that although her shots were great, the number of stares she got for wearing a wedding gown in the middle of Orchard Road were overwhelming. Her conclusion? The pictures were worth it but she wouldn’t recommend the experience for those more shy and introverted.

Looks like that’s out for me!

Awkwardness loves company

taking tik toks in public
Having friends shoot videos together makes it more fun and less awkward. Credit: Singapore Kindness Movement

As someone who is more shy and introverted in an unfamiliar environment, it definitely helps a lot when there is someone else with me to “suffer” together with me.

There are certain things that are much easier when you have someone else with you.

Being with a friend makes it easier not to care about what other people think because there’s someone else with me dying of embarrassment together.

That, ironically, makes it less awkward… and even fun!

One of my colleagues mentioned that filming in public is never easy as it takes a lot of self-confidence to do so.

So dragging a co-conspirator along makes it a bonding session — more like a “if we die, we die together” kind of vibe.

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It’s a form of moral support; a system to gain confidence and be more daring to do more.

I am more introverted when I am in an unfamiliar environment. But it was an eye opener for me to see how confident I became when I had to film a TikTok in public with a friend.

I was less awkward, and more confident in voicing out what I needed to say and do.

Maybe that’s the key, not just shooting a video, but to do things out of my comfort zone, such as talking to a stranger or showing kindness to a neighbour — to find someone who’s willing to do that, to die die do together with you!

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