5 Tips For Shooting Lip-Lickingly Good Food Videos
Video is a powerful tool in the foodie brand’s marketing kit. It’s a great way to promote your restaurant, showcasing your dishes and expertise to a hungry audience.
But the perfect food video takes time and effort. If you’re looking to enjoy the benefits of video for your restaurant or takeaway in 2020, you’d do well to follow these five simple tips for shooting lip-lickingly good food videos.
Don’t get expensive equipment — get the right equipment
While it’s worth investing in high-quality equipment to record your food video if you can, it’s not a necessity. If you’re a foodie startup with a tight budget, you don’t need a high-end camera to record great food videos.
If you have to spend money on one thing alone, make it a good-quality camera. Most smartphones come with a decent camera, but a digital SLR offers greater capabilities that will enhance your video as a result.
Many food videos are shot from above — think of the 60-second recipe videos you see on BuzzFeed. These make for compelling viewing and are perfect for social. But to record one of these, you’ll need an overhead rig. Thankfully, it’s possible to create a cheap DIY rig at home (here’s a useful guide to get you started), and they’ll improve your production quality tenfold.
Take photos first to inform your filming
During film shoots, there will be a cinematographer onsite who takes preliminary photos of a location before filming starts. This helps them get a feel for the scene, helping them note interesting qualities such as lighting or composition so that they are fully informed when it comes to filming.
This technique is as useful for big-budget movie shoots as it is for food videos. When you understand the basic elements of food photography — aesthetic, preparation, lighting, composition, and so on — you will be able to record your food videos with an expert eye.
To that end, take a few preliminary photos of your food before filming. Note problem areas, such as potential shadows covering the food, and identify the best angles for your shoot. This will help your videos look and feel professional from start to finish.
Capture movement and motion to entice your audience
Look at any good food video, and you won’t just see static shots of food resting on a plate. You’ll also see shots of dishes being stirred, steam rising from a hotpot, fresh vegetables being chopped, or a broth bubbling over.
This movement is what really adds value to food videos. It gives viewers an insight into the preparation that goes into the dish and makes your food video stand out. In short, you’re using video to capture food for a reason, so take advantage of it.
The trick here is to use movement and motion to tell a story around your food. Order your shots in chronological order to show your viewer how your dish was prepared, and include close-ups to further tantalise your audience’s tastebuds.
Don’t neglect the importance of sound
Arguably the best things about food are how it tastes and how it smells. Unfortunately, there’s no way to capture this on video (yet), so savvy food cinematographers have to rely on other ways to get their audience licking their lips.
Sound is one useful way to achieve this. The sizzle of chicken dropped into a wok, the crunch of fresh vegetables being sliced, the gentle bubbling of a pot on the stove — these all evoke strong emotions in the viewer and have them eagerly awaiting your dishes.
You can use a musical bed to accompany this, but it’s also worth including a dialogue overlay too. For example, you might have your head chef describe their inspiration for the dish in question over the sounds of it being prepared. This makes for a rich video that conveys the magic of food through sound and image combined.
Get your lighting on-point
In video, lighting is everything. It’s easy to underestimate the value of good lighting, particularly because the best videos don’t actually show it — the lighting looks and feels natural, so it’s easy to forget that there’s actually a great deal of work that goes into creating it.
If possible, shot your food video with natural light. But if it’s not possible, look to daylight balanced lightbulbs instead. These provide a natural feel while letting you shoot inside a studio. As a general rule of thumb, your lighting should be focused on the front of your food, rather than behind. This prevents shadows and lights up every aspect of your delicious dish.
Two bits of kit worth having here are diffusers and reflectors. These are the shiny pieces of material you often see used in-studio shoots, helping you direct or dim the light according to your specific needs.
It takes time, effort, and skill to craft a beautiful food video that has your audience salivating in anticipation. With practice, you’ll become more adept at creating great video, but start by following the tips above and you’ll be on your way to crafting tasty-looking food video that does your dishes justice.
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