Hi everyone! Mr. JOC here. Ever wonder about the behind the scene magic for food shows on TV and how the talent always look perfectly lit and the food super delicious? We got a glimpse of how it all happens during our visit to Seefood Media studio in New York City. I’ll share a few tips on DSLR video setting as well towards the end of the post.
During our visit to New York City over the Christmas holidays, one of the highlights of the trip was being able to visit our friends Jamie and Saukok of Seefood Media. We were really excited since Nami had just started Just One Cookbook YouTube Channel and had a ton of questions about food videography. Who better to answer our questions than our own James Beard Award-winning video production friends.
A bit of background on our friendship. Long before Jamie and I both settled down and got married, he used to live in San Francisco and we had met through our mutual friend Leonard. Loving food brought us together and I learned a great deal about ingredients, food preparation, and how to create good food from the many hours we spent in Jamie’s kitchen. Those days were an amazing gastric ecstasy experience for me (thank you Nami for allowing my stomach to continue enjoying the same happiness).
From Jamie, I learned how to make stock from scratch with fresh ingredients and many other fundamentals cooking skills. During that time, Jamie was always hosting parties for his friends and I became a frequent beneficiary of his delicious creations. White truffle rice, Kobe beef burgers, seared foie gras, and slow-roasted beef tenderloin just to name a few memorable dishes. I was a bit surprised when Jamie left the technology industry to get his master’s degree in Food Studies because he loved gadgets and technology. Now with Seefood Media, he gets to combine his passion for high tech and his love for food.
As Nami started her Just One Cookbook YouTube channel, it was an unfamiliar undertaking since neither Nami nor myself had any experience with video. To get started, we got our inspiration from watching hundreds of Upwave videos Jamie and Saukok had produced, which is nominated as a finalist this year for James Beard Award Video WebCast! I’ve included one of our favorite ones below.
When we arrived at the Seefood Media studio, it was quite cool being in the same space where Rachel ray, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and other amazing chefs have been. Jamie and Saukok patiently answered all of Nami and my endless questions about kitchen setup, countertop material, cabinet set up, and how to create a space that is optimized for food videography. The promo video below for SeeFood Media is a great glimpse into the amazing work they do.
We got an exclusive tour of the 3 existing kitchens and how they are optimized for shooting. My personal favorite was kitchen B with the movable islands (see Floor Plans below). How cool is that? We drooled at the incredible prop collection and kitchen gadgets room, 8 Kitchen Aid blenders in all different colors… do I need to say more? Besides the existing kitchens, we also got a sneak peek into their future plans to build even more studio space.
Thank you Jamie, Saukok, and Chewbarka (their cute dog!) for hosting us in your amazing studio and we look forward to seeing a live shoot there soon.
Now, a few DSLR tips for those of you that are thinking about starting food videography with DSLR.
1. Make sure your Auto Lighting Optimizer is turned off and ISO is set to manual. This will prevent your shot from being over or underexposed based on the brightness of your object.
2. Always shoot on manual mode, unless you have Canon 70D which is able to auto-focus in movie mode.
3. Change your picture style setting by lowering the contrast, saturation, and sharpness. This will make your objects look more natural.
I find the above clip by Philip Bloom really helpful with DSLR setting and wished I was aware of the information when I first started.
Full Disclosure: Just One Cookbook has not been compensated by Seefood Media and all images courtesy of Seefood Media.