How to shoot epic food commericals
As foodies and content creators, we at Syrp are always on the lookout for new restaurants and delicious recipes. Most of the time, we base our decisions on what we see on social media, just like everyone else. A recommendation from a friend is always good to have, but when you see that epic food shot… that’s when you know that you really have to go and try it for yourself.
We raise our expectations based on a delicious image or video and sometimes, many times, we don’t get what we expected.
This is the art of commercial food photography and filmmaking.
We are not food stylists, food vloggers or food photographers. We are simply hungry filmmakers about to tell you a secret or two behind those crazy food shots so that you can make them too without a crazy (and expensive) setup or master chef cooking skills.
In this video, we will walk you through the whole process: from how to make pancakes look fluffier to the post-production process that will make this food commercial look just like those you see on TV. We also tell you everything about our go-to setup!
Watch the full clip above or continue scrolling for some important highlights of this production.
Choose a recipe and customize it to meet your needs
If you’re already playing that insane food ad in your head, it’s easier to anticipate what could go wrong and prepare yourself for it. Like always, the subject is the most important focus of this production, especially if you’re going to be shooting it up close. In this case, we decided to go for yummy pancakes and syrup. As traditional pancakes tend to be floppy, we modified our recipe to be similar to the trendy Japanese Souffle Pancakes. If you have never heard of it, you are missing out!
We needed to make many different pancakes that looked exactly the same in size, so we used egg rings. This also helped them rise.
Chase Madsen, filmmaker, peanut butter lover and an awesome cook in his spare time, said: “I increased the baking powder a little and added some white vinegar to ensure there was enough acidity for the leavening agent to work fully – about a tsp. (You can’t taste it but could switch it for lemon juice if preferred)”
Think outside of the box for this setup
We are all about DIY! So we used our motion controllers to create the desired movement that we were after and that we had seen many times on other food commercials. A couple of Genie II Linears will help do the up and down movement of the pancakes while the Genie Mini II rotates them so that they collide exactly at the right time.
Light is critical for close up food shots, so keep it in mind before you start. What elements do you want to emphasise? For this video, we used 3 Litepanels Sola 6+, 1 Manfrotto Lykos LED panel and turned them as bright as possible. Obviously, the light setup will change from shoot to shoot.
The never-easy process of post-production
During the shoot, we took a few things into consideration to make this process easier, like painting the wires black to avoid blooming. Matthijs Blok, filmmaker and special effects magician, used Nuke for this food commercial. He talks about the 3 main steps of this post-production process: remove the wires, cleaning up the background and colour grading. Of course, it’s easier said than done, so watch the video for more details on this step.
Add a professional voice over (there are many reliable and cheap online platforms that offer this service), create cool motion graphics and your fluffy pancakes commercial is ready to hit the net!
Now we challenge you to use your Syrp gear to do something creative and different. Maybe a turning cake while being decorated? Or buns and meat coming together making the perfect burger? Share with us your videos to get featured!
Did we miss something or have any filmmaking questions? Comment below!
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