How to make an overhead food video like Buzzfeed Tasty videos: Bacon Wrapped Scallops

How to make an overhead food video like Buzzfeed Tasty videos: Bacon Wrapped Scallops

I’m writing this post on December 30th. The most forgotten of the holidays in the holiday season. December 30th is Bacon Day.
According to the founders of Bacon Day, we are encouraged to eat a variety of bacon while watching Kevin Bacon movies, or movies with bacon in the title. Giving and receiving gifts of bacon is also encouraged. The hashtag #BaconDay should be used for all bacon-day-related social media posts.

For my bacon day, I’m celebrating by making bacon wrapped scallops. Maybe I’ll watch Footloose in the background while I cook it, but I also plan to film my bacon day escapades and edit the footage into a food video similar to those made under the Tasty label by Buzzfeed. I’ve had many people ask me how those are made or say they’d like to make them but they’re too hard or time consuming. Well, my gift to you for Bacon Day isn’t actual bacon, but will be a lesson on how to cook bacon wrapped scallops and a lesson on how to make an overhead food video. That’s like me teaching you to fish (for bacon) rather than giving you a fish (or bacon).

I’ll be using my iPhone for all the filming. For tips on how to film better videos with your iPhone, check out this post.

Overhead filming

Overhead filming isn’t that much different than any other type of videography. The main challenges are how to set up the camera, how to get the lighting right, and how to switch angles to ensure your hands don’t block the shot.

Securing the camera

The first step is to set up a stable overhead filming rig. You have several options ranging from a dedicated setup like this one that screws onto a tripod:
How to make an overhead food video like Buzzfeed Tasty videos: Bacon Wrapped ScallopsHow to make an overhead food video like Buzzfeed Tasty videos: Bacon Wrapped Scallops

If you plan to shoot many overhead videos, this may be a great investment. I don’t intend to show off my bacon cooking skills on a regular basis, so I figured out how to rig up a great overhead camera mount with items I already had. Actually, I used my microwave. It’s the perfect height and allows me to grab my phone for different angles without much fuss. I also toyed around with using binder clips, but I didn’t need to use them.

photo of iPhone set up for filming an overhead food video

Getting the lighting right

Just like any video, getting the lighting set up properly is critical to a great outcome. For this shot I have the ambient lights in the room all turned on.  I’m also using two clip lights hanging above the filming area since my stove is pretty dark otherwise. This setup isn’t ideal since I used the space above my stove which has a lot of highly reflective surfaces. It’s never easy, but there’s usually a way to make it look better than just shooting off the hip. I moved the lights around depending on the scene, and used different tools to try to mitigate as much of the reflection as I could. Next time I’ll probably set up a burner on the back deck and film outside in natural light.

Switching angles

Since I filmed this overhead food video solely from my phone camera, I needed to move the phone to get each different shot. I also had several freehand shots that needed the shakiness removed. I took this into account by filming a slightly wider shot than my actual scene to leave a bit of extra room to crop off. Cropping off the outside edge helps in shake reduction during post-production. I also marked the exact spot where the phone sat for the overhead shots so I could put it right back where it was each time I moved it. While having multiple cameras set up makes filming easier and smoother, you don’t need multiple cameras to get the job done.

Get to the bacon already!

Alright, I know you care about bacon wrapped scallops way more than how to film an overhead food video. Once I got my filming set details all figured out, I began working on the actual cooking. Here’s what I did to make the filming and cooking doable all at the same time.

  1. Gather all ingredients in advance: When I cook, I typically make it up as I go. “A pinch of this and a dash of that”. I get pretty creative and don’t follow recipes very well. When filming myself cook, I had to organize more than normal. It wasn’t too hard since my bacon wrapped scallops only had three ingredients – bacon, scallops, and cajun seasoning.Bacon, scallops, and cajun seasoningBut it’s not just the ingredients that you need to think about when filming. I went through each step of the process in my head to ensure I had all the supplies I needed on hand before I started. Here’s the complete list:
    • Plate for scallops
    • Paper towels to pat wet scallops
    • Plate for bacon
    • Paper towels to put under and on bacon while par-cooking in microwave
    • Toothpicks for sticking through wrapped scallops
    • Skillet (got to be cast iron)
    • Tongs
    • Plate for cooked scallops
  2. Think through the video shots needed to make a complete scene. I went through each step of the cooking process and mentally prepared a storyboard of sorts for which shots I’d need.
  3. Work through each step of the cooking process pausing to film the clips needed for the final product.
  4. After filming each step, check it on the phone to ensure you have the footage needed before moving on to the next step.
  5. Enjoy the bacon! It took quite a while to film each step of the recipe, but once I filmed that final shot of the plated meal, I was soooo ready for some bacon. I ate way more scallops than is probably healthy, but hey – it’s Bacon Day.

Post-production editing

Once the filming is complete, the real work begins. A good edit for an overhead food video is not an easy task. It takes a bit more muscle than the typical online or free video editing app can offer to do it right. At Video Butlers, we primarily use Adobe Premier Pro and Adobe After Effects. With these powerhouse editors, we can work magic. Check out what we put together from the footage I shot of making bacon wrapped scallops. It’s a shame you can’t add smells to video yet.

We offer unlimited professional video editing and can do just about any project – especially if it involves bacon. Come try us out for free and get going with your own overhead food videos.

Bacon Wrapped Scallop Recipe:

Ingredients:

  1. Jumbo scallops
  2. Uncooked bacon in same quantity as scallops
  3. Cajun seasoning (we made our own, but you can also buy it)

Directions:

  1. Thaw scallops, rinse under tap water, and pat dry
  2. Cook the bacon until cooked, but not crispy. This can be done in a pan or in the microwave.
  3. Grease a skillet with the bacon grease and heat on medium-high
  4. Wrap scallops with pieces of bacon securing each piece with a toothpick
  5. Season each side of each scallop with Cajun seasoning (you can also use another flavor if you prefer)
  6. Cook scallops in skillet for about 2-3 minutes per side turning once.
  7. Scallops are done cooking when no longer translucent in the center.

 

So it’s pretty simple, but oh, so worth it. Enjoy #baconday!

 

 

Leave a Reply