Whether you’re making a video to advertise your business or just sharing your favorite recipe with an instructional guide, food video production skills will help you reach your goal. A major thing to keep in mind is that many of the same principles that apply to general commercial videos are also important here — remember you’re selling a product! Whatever that may be — gourmet items, expert services, or just the idea of a tasty entree — needs to be featured in its best light.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for new food videographers is the simple fact that not all dishes and ingredients are visually appealing on video. Contrary to popular belief, however, prop food is not the norm. Instead, most high quality video projects call in a professional food stylist to make actual food look amazing. While they may start with the real deal, though, some tricks aren’t exactly appetizing — or edible: Glue is a common “special ingredient.” Also, since it takes longer to shoot a food video than it does for a hot meal to go cold, re-glazing (and even painting) is often a must to keep items looking moist. An experienced food stylist can also help your team with layouts, set design, and even ingredient sourcing. If you want to take a more DIY approach, read up on food styling techniques yourself for step-by-step guides on learning the trade.
Many food videographers prefer to use natural lighting exclusively for one major reason: studio lights are hot. If you're using real food, that means wilted lettuce and melted ice cream. If you have to go with artificial lights, stick to low intensity and/or diffuse options.
Shoot at a high frame rate for up-close food shots where subtle movements can show off its best qualities. You can translate this to slow motion during editing to capture split-second moments the viewer may otherwise miss. For example, that spray of water when you cut into crisp lettuce? A great way to highlight its freshness.
Avoid very wide lenses when shooting food, but most other camera specifications can work great. Those that create a shallow depth of field in particular are especially flattering. Of course, the best one for the job will ultimately depend on your project's individual needs.
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