Top Tips For Filming Your Own Kitchen Cooking Video

Whether you’re hoping to add some mouthwatering content to your company blog, vlogging on youtube or simply want some publicity snaps for your favourite products, you should understand the art of making a successful cooking video. Especially if you’ve rented a commercial kitchen for the occasion.

Kitchen videography provides a lot of scope for creativity and stunning visuals, conveying both brand and personal identity to your target audience.

We’ve put together some simple tips to show you how to master the art of kitchen filming right from the first take:

Pay close attention to natural actions

Cooking is action intensive, when we watch someone preparing food we become mesmerised by the movement of their hands and utensils as they transform ingredients.

Whisking, chopping, peeling – they’re all rhythmic and familiar actions. If these motions don’t feature heavily in your video, or are poorly filmed, the captivating hold they have over the viewer is broken and your recipe, however wonderful, becomes much less appealing.

While food products themselves are largely inanimate, during the process of cooking they become a feast of activity. Think of the oozing chocolate puddings and bubbling dishes we see in our favourite television adverts. Even a humble boiled potato looks much better with butter trickling down it, or with freshly chopped herbs being sprinkled across the top.

Make sure you don’t miss opportunities to capture as much of this natural, enticing movement as possible. It’s an easy way to encourage audiences to engage with the food, imagining what flavours and smells are being created while you cook.

Extra Camera Tips: By filming more of these bubbling, sizzling moments than you think will be used in the final cut, you’ll be able to select the most drool-inducing shots for each stage of preparation.

You can also use this time to experiment with angles, camera movement and motion speed.

Angles: Take a look at the approaches used by  other videos and make sure you plan how your kitchen will be arranged and presented in each shot. For instance, a birdseye view might work better on an attractive surface or with your favourite utensils arranged in the frame.

Movement: Where technique is paramount or potentially unfamiliar, keeping the shot clear and steady, with few sweeping or zooming camera movements, will keep your instruction from being lost in distractions.
These filming motions can be really effective for showing dishes while they are cooking, especially if the recipe has many different components. Zooming in on bread rising the in oven or circling a bubbling pot will build pace, anticipation and appetite.  

Speed: Varying the speed at which different processes play will enable you to direct audience attention on particular parts of the process. During a repetitive or time consuming stage of preparation, speeding up the footage will retain audience attention. The finished dish, on the other hand, can be made to look more indulgent and appealing when served or prepared in slow motion.

Prioritise visual appeal over taste

This doesn’t have to be as deceitful as it sounds. Depending on your platform and audience, your viewer may only be watching the video for the ‘food porn’ appeal, in which case, a brown and beige stew, however tender and well seasoned, may not attract many viewers.

But if you want to share a successful recipe with followers and you want to encourage them to cook this dish, you will need to consider how to find the balance between aesthetic and flavour appeal.

This may mean that you select more colourful recipes, with lots of fresh ingredients, or dishes that lend themselves to being arranged attractively. In order to tailor your recipe to produce a visually pleasing video, consider using bright garnishes, sauces or even just a bed of salad with eye-catching ingredients, such as pomegranate seeds or toasted pine nuts.

Light is essential, but get ready to prop

You don’t have to go too high tech on the lighting or fork out more than you need to on reflectors and industrial lamps. But don’t neglect it; poor lighting can taint your entire video.

An effective DIY approach to getting the most of out of your existing kitchen lighting is to use aluminium foil and white fabric sheets to reflect light into the area you’ll be filming in. Where possible, use natural lighting in your videos as this creates one of the most flattering atmospheres to film in. But think carefully about time of day and how long it will take you to finish making the video – continuity is important and you don’t want want your big baking reveal to happen in gloomy evening light.

Under any of these conditions, your food is at risk of overheating as a result of the hot light bulbs. Depending on your dish, the reactions to the heat will be different and will need different props and manipulation to remain attractive.

This where the deception of the camera becomes so useful. Everyday items, such as toothpicks and wire, can be used to prop wilting or crumbling pieces back into position. Remember no one is going to eat this so you can get away with quite a lot.

Audio enhances visuals

Don’t feel you have to narrate every moment, if you’re blessed with silky Nigella Lawson tones then it may be beneficial, but otherwise using music and onscreen text is often an effective alternative.

This is almost entirely dependent on the purpose of your video. For film-makers hoping to establish or continue a strong audience relationship, speaking on camera or over the footage may suit you more. But of course, variation is not only the spice of life, but a key ingredient to cooking videos. Try featuring graphics and music alongside your narration to engage your audience in different ways.

Music is essential. Without it your video could feel unfinished, unprofessional or even unimpressive. Leave yourself plenty of time during the editing process to select music which matches the pace and tone of your video.