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How to shoot a cooking show

If you are an excellent cook and wish to share your love with others, video is the way to go.With this simple advice, you can avoid typical errors and create a food film that will make your audience’s mouth water!

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Essentials

Camera Tricks / Kitchen Set, Chelsea Green screen Studio man and woman at counter - cameras setup , white cabinets

You’ll need a camera, a tripod, clear audio without visible mics, and illumination. Optional accessories include secondary cameras for b-roll or other camera angles and more microphones to capture cooking sounds.

Brooklyn Master Kitchens

If you want dynamic shots with panning, zooming, or focus changes, you’ll need at least one camera assistant and maybe two.

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The desired photos determine which camera (s) to use. If you only need fixed angles and no zooming or shifting, you can use an HD-capable smartphone. This system is cheap and flexible for camera placement.

Chelsea West Kitchen Studio 3

You’ll also need inexpensive lights.

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Professional filming requires a tripod. Even with a cellphone, you can take smooth photos.

shoot-in kitchen studio

Beyond a camera package, you’ll need a good backdrop. A well-loved recipe book, a bowl of fruit, and fresh flowers create a welcoming atmosphere.

open kitchen Hells Kitchen Brownstone film location

Non-essential

We’ve discussed what you need to film a food video, but it’s also important to consider what wouldn’t look good. On the countertops, remove any crumbs, the garbage can, pet food bowls, toys, and debris. Ensure that all surfaces are spotless. Don’t forget to turn the oven’s clock off!

Plan for a few takes

Make sure you have enough ingredients for many takes, as it is likely that you will need to repeat some steps of the cooking process multiple times to obtain the appropriate video.

Also, it may make sense to have the final product properly prepared, elegantly arranged, and plated, so that the big reveal goes well.

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Kitchen, Film Location

Needed Shots

Even though the chef may seem important, the food should be the focus. Close-ups, slow zooms, and focus give viewers a visual feast.

If you can capture an amazing moment, like sauce dripping down a steak or a flambé bursting into blue flames, you’ll have a winner.

If the final product tastes good, don’t worry if the cooking process was imperfect. If a few onions or flour spilled, it would only make the recipe seem more real and attainable.

Further information

Editing is a wonderful opportunity for a voiceover or more text to be added. The two are particularly helpful for conveying component proportions or troubleshooting recommendations.

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hill studio kitchen area

POSITION

Kitchen, right? True, but consider your kitchen. Can you cook while filming? Can you cook and use a camera?

Once your venue is ready, consider the audience. Most TV cooking shows show the chef on a distant island. Being against a wall makes the subject and kitchen look like a police lineup.

To avoid this, use camera angles to separate the subject from the background. This will highlight (and depth-of-field) the cook.

Small kitchens require creativity. Should the movie focus on the kitchen? Non-stove activities don’t need you. Use a beautiful table or area for most of your photos.

Lighting

Depending on your kitchen’s design, windows can be bright. Light changes throughout the day, complicating post-production.

Essential lighting. Recommend backlight, filllight, and keylight. Sideways and downward is best. Shadows give direct lighting depth.

Illuminate the topic. Backlighting creates 3D.

Find the best camera and keylight backlight position. Head is defined, but light isn’t.

Shadows are lit. It hides shadows. Shadows are filled with fill light (hence the name).

Keylights, backlights, and reflective surfaces replace professional lighting (fill lights).

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Most of us are familiar with food-filming tutorial vlogs where the chef and the rest of the crew make it appear simple. Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be hooked, and so will your viewers!

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