The Gear We Use For Recipe Videos


by Bjork on Aug 07, 2017 in Building Traffic, Social Media

Note: The Pinch of Yum video gear is also covered in our Food Video Course. To view the course, you can sign up for Food Blogger Pro here.

Lindsay and I have started to shoot videos for Pinch of Yum's YouTube channel and social media channels. It has been a fun challenge for us!

THIS is the gear you need to make awesome, viral food videos! Learn about editing software, camera recommendations, tripod options, and more for making recipe videos with a DSLR or an iPhone. - #recipevideo #videogear #foodblogging #foodblogger

We've had a handful of people email (and post to the FBP forum) asking us what equipment we're using to shoot these videos. That's why we put together this list of what we're using, some basic examples of how we use it, as well as some other common video-related questions we've gotten recently. We'll cover:

  1. Equipment for Shooting DSLR Recipe Videos
  2. Equipment for Shooting iPhone Recipe Videos
  3. Editing Software for Recipe Videos
  4. What's the best lighting for cooking videos?
  5. How do I make cooking videos like Tasty?
  6. What's the best camera for shooting recipe videos?
  7. How do I edit cooking videos?

Note: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links. We earn a commission from the sale if you purchase a product after clicking on one of these links. FBP members can learn more about affiliate marketing by watching the affiliate marketing course.

Equipment for Shooting DSLR Recipe Videos

1. Canon 7D

A Canon 7d with a 28mm lens on a table.

We use a Canon 7D to shoot almost all of the video you see on Pinch of Yum's Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel. We occasionally will use an iPhone when we don't have the 7D readily available (more on that in a bit). We shoot our videos at 24fps. This gives the video more of a cinematic or "Hollywood-like" feel to it. 30fps or 60fps would feel a bit more digital. 60fps is reserved for capturing really fast motion, or to create a really dramatic look that might feel out of place for a typical recipe video.

2. Canon EF 28mm f/1.8

A Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 lens on a table.

This is the lens we use for the wide, overhead shots, but it's not great for detail shots. The shorter the lens, the more area you can cover on your overhead shots without needing the camera to be very high off the surface. This is the lens that we use when Lindsay and I talk into the camera in this video. It's also the lens that we use for the overhead Tasty-style shots in our recipe videos.

3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8

A Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on a table.

This is a spendy lens and shouldn't be at the top of your "to buy" list. That being said, it's an awesome lens if you can justify the expense. The 70-200 is great for detail shots and creating awesome depth of field, so it requires that you have some distance between you and the subject in order to focus. It's great for detail shots if you want to feature the texture of a recipe - check out the 52 second mark on this recipe video for an example of the 70-200 in action.

4. SanDisk Extreme Pro or Lexar Professional Memory Cards

2 SanDisk Extreme Pro memory cards on a table.

You’re going to want a card that can handle the speed and size of your footage if you’re shooting on a DSLR. In terms of space, what we would recommend is something above 64 GB (we use a 128 GB card). Probably you could get away with 32 GB depending on how long the videos are that you are creating. Look for U3 Class 10 cards from professional brands like SanDisk or Lexar.

5. Promaster Tripod with a Manfrotto 131D Lateral Arm

A Promaster Tripod with a Manfroto 131d Lateral arm.

If you want to shoot "Tasty-style" top-down videos with a DSLR, you'll need a good tripod with an arm. Because a tripod won't shoot completely vertically on its own, we use the Promaster Tripod with the Manfrotto 131D Lateral Arm so that we can get that perfect top-down shot.

6. SmallHD 701 Lite

A ProAm USA Iris Pro HD 7

Top-down videos are great, but it's sometimes difficult to make sure your food is centered in the frame, in focus, or overexposed because of the angle your camera is at. That's where a monitor comes in. We attach the ProAm monitor to our DSLR so that we can see what's being captured in the shot. Some other options are the Lilliput Hd70hp 7", the ProAm USA Iris Pro HD 7" Monitor, and the IMORDEN 7".

7. Lowel EGO Digital Imaging or Amazon Basics Portable Photo Studio

A Lowel EGO Digital Imaging Light on a table.

We use natural light whenever we can, but the weather just doesn't cooperate sometimes. Lindsay has used the Lowel EGO lights for artificially lit photography, and they work great for video too. We have a whole course about artificial lighting on Food Blogger Pro where Lindsay walks you through how to use an artificial lighting setup. Artificial light will give you the freedom to shoot video whenever and wherever you need to.

Equipment for Shooting iPhone Recipe Videos

1. iPhone 7 Plus

A row of multi-colored iPhone 7 Pluses.

Would you believe that Lindsay shot one of Pinch of Yum's most popular recipe videos by herself using her iPhone? It's true - check it out here. Smartphones can be a great way to start shooting recipe videos if you're not quite ready to jump into DSLR videos. Plus, shooting a smartphone recipe video is as simple as hitting record on your camera app!

You can also use an iPhone to capture audio, as the audio recording capabilities of DSLR cameras is really bad. We've only been using the iPhone lately because I borrowed out the audio record that I usually use (see below).

2. Overhead Pro Tripod

An Overhead Pro tripod for mobile phone videos.

We really like using the Overhead Pro Tripod for iPhone video. The nice thing about this tripod is that it has an arm, so that the camera is far away from the legs of the tripod; you’re not getting those in your shot. Smart phones are light enough that this very small tripod can support it, so it's a great economical option.

3. Reflector 2

The Reflector Logo

Just like the monitor for DSLR videos, we use Reflector 2 so that we can see what the phone is recording without having to look at the phone screen itself. It hooks up wirelessly and broadcasts your phone video onto your tablet or computer.

4. Zoom H4N Digital Recorder

A Zoom H4N Digital Recorder.

We used the Zoom H4N audio recorded for the Food Photography Lighting and Putting it All Together courses that Lindsay did on Food Blogger Pro along with a clip-on mic. It's a great mic for picking up the audio in a room, but it’s not quite as good as using a clip-on microphone like the one below.

5. Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3

2 Sennheiser lapel microphones.

We ordered two of these mics. I've used this mic when I worked for a non-profit. It was the mic that was recommended to me by a video production company as the best of the "prosumer" level mic. In other words, it's the best mic you can get without having to spend a crazy amount of money for a professional mic.

That being said, it's still a really expensive mic. I'd advise you to only purchase this if you’re really going to dive into the video stuff. The Zoom H4N is a much more affordable option is you’re just getting started.

Editing Software for Recipe Videos

1. Final Cut Pro X

When FCPX first came out there was a lot of push back from the video editing community because the software looked and acted a lot like iMovie, which was great for beginners but frustrating for pro level editors. Apple has significantly improved the software since then and it's now an awesome prosumer level software. It's not quite 100% pro, yet it's not quite 100% consumer.

How do I feel about it? I love it. It's easy to use and I can get the results I want.

One of my favorite features is Synchronize Clips. I use this feature to quickly and easily synch up the audio and video clips for the shoot.

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

If you're already using Adobe Lightroom and/or Adobe Photoshop for your food photography, you might want to add another Adobe product to your workflow. Premiere Pro gives you a lot of control in terms of the final video, and you can export your video as a square for social media directly from this app. It's also great for those who are working on Windows computers - Final Cut Pro X and iMovie (below) are both only for Macs.

3. iMovie

You can use iMovie on a desktop or on an iPhone, so it's a great solution for those who want to try their hand at phone videography. It has a few more limitations than Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro, but it's a good solution for just starting out with video editing.

Common Questions About Shooting Recipe Videos

But wait, there's more! Here are some of the most common questions we get about how we shoot recipe videos, along with some quick answers to get you started:

What's the best lighting for cooking videos?

There are two kinds of light to use for food video - natural light and artificial light.

At Pinch of Yum, we love using natural light for our recipe videos. It’s gorgeous, soft lighting that matches the food photography style on the blog. Plus, it’s free!

There are a few things to consider when filming with natural light. Find a location where the light is even for the longest period of time. A north facing window is a great location to shoot, but explore your space to see what’s best in your unique shooting location. When filming video you are typically working over a longer period of time than you are when shooting still images. During that increased filming time, natural light can shift and change with the time of day and weather. Be sure to monitor the light as you film and adjust your white balance and fill cards accordingly.

Changes in white balance can be adjusted in the editing process, but just like still photography, you will want to get as close as possible when filming to make the editing process as simple as possible.

Artificial light is also a great option. It provides even, consistent light and light temperature that you can turn on anytime of the day. That being said, artificial light can be a costly option, particularly if you are hoping to replicate the true beauty of natural light. Depending on the size of your work space, working with artificial lights can be bulky and cumbersome to work with and store.

How do I make cooking videos like Tasty?

The Tasty-style of recipe videos have become a fun and popular way to share recipes. They are characterized by quick, overhead video footage demonstrating a recipe typically set to fun music.

Here are some tips for making your own Tasty-style food videos:

  • Overhead Angle - whether you are using a DSLR or your camera phone, Tasty-style food videos need an overhead camera angle. Get a tripod that has the ability to hold your camera horizontally over your work surface while you film.
  • Close Up/Side Angle - While Tasty-style food videos stick mostly with overhead angles, there are occasional close ups or side angles that break up the overhead footage. By adding in this side angle, it helps to create transitions between long periods of stirring, whisking or long cook times. The close up can also create interest by showcasing the enticing texture of the food. These close up or side angles can be shot with a second camera set off to the side or by simply moving your first camera down or zooming in during certain points of the recipe process.
  • Speed - There are a variety of platforms to share your recipe videos, and some have limits to the length of the video. Tasty-style videos typically are sped up to keep a snappy feel and move the viewer through the recipe without focusing on some of the longer, more monotonous steps. That being said, when editing your video, be sure to find places within your recipe to speed up or cut down on length of time to keep the momentum of the video moving forward. This will help keep the viewer engaged throughout the entire video.
  • Music - There are many places online for purchasing music to use in your videos. We like the YouTube Audio Library, which is free, or Premium Beat, which offers affordable music licenses. Be sure you are reading the licensing information to stay within the legal guidelines of how and where you are allowed to be using the piece of music. Choose music that fits your own personal style and that can help develop your own brand of recipe videos.
  • Text - A great Tasty-style recipe video has some text, but not too much that it becomes tedious to watch. Basic ingredient titles in an easy-to-read font is best. For recipes that have a complicated step, considering focusing more time of the video on that step as well as providing tips for the viewers in the way of video text.
  • Share, share, share! - You’ve just made an awesome Tasty-style video with one of your best recipes - go and share it with the world!

What's the best camera for cooking videos?

At Pinch of Yum, we love using DSLR cameras for shooting cooking videos. There are many different models out there but we recommend checking to see if your current camera has video capability. If it does not or if you are looking to purchase a new camera, here are some things to consider:

  • Full Frame vs. Cropped Frame - Full frame cameras tend to come with a higher price tag than cropped sensor cameras. We actually do not have a preference here, but what you will want to make sure you choose the correct lens to pair with whatever style of camera you choose. Full frame cameras will give the true focal length of a lens, while a cropped sensor camera will be slightly more ‘zoomed in’ with the same lens. For example, a 35mm lens on a cropped sensor camera will behave more like a 50mm lens. There are many different equipment set ups that will work for cooking videos but these are all points to consider and research before purchasing any new equipment. By experimenting with your current equipment, it will help give you a starting point of where to go and what to purchase.
  • Focus - Choose a camera that has tracking focus and/or continual autofocus during video mode. Because of the movement during video shoots, it can be frustrating to try to keep the action in focus manually. Experiment and learn your camera’s focus system for best results!
  • DSLR vs Point and Shoot vs Camera Phone - We prefer using DSLR cameras for our cooking videos. Like natural light, it helps to mimic the overall style of food photography on Pinch of Yum. If your DSLR does not have video capability or you are looking to keep cost down, consider looking into using your camera phone or point and shoot. There are a variety of portable cameras on the market, such as the Canon G7X that give you great control over your video, have tracking focus, great color, as well as a flip up screen to help you monitor or video while shooting. These are also great vlogging cameras if you are ever interested in on-the-go video shooting.
  • Monitor/Tethering Capabilities - When choosing a camera for cooking videos, consider it’s ability to tether or shoot in a way that you are able to see the action while shooting. Canon cameras often come with a free software for your computer that allows you to live view film. This is helpful to be able to see what is in frame while shooting a video. Some cameras have flip out screens that can be helpful, too. Be aware of the size and ease of watching these screens while shooting. You can also purchase a separate HD monitor to connect to your DSLR camera in order view what your camera is recording in real time. Having a monitor or tethering set up is extremely helpful particularly if you are recording videos solo.

How do I edit cooking videos?

There are several editing softwares on the market, and at Pinch of Yum, we use Final Cut Pro X to edit our food videos.

No matter what software you use, here is the general workflow for editing together a cooking video.

  • Import your clips into your software program.
  • Drag overhead shots into your project’s timeline in the correct order.
  • Do any and all color correction or exposure adjustments before you start slicing up clips. This will save you tons of time in the editing process.
  • Decide what side angle shots or close up shots you want to use (if any) and lay over the top of the overhead shots. Do any color correction to those clips.
  • Speed up clips. We typically speed up clips anywhere from 2x-4x and occasionally more or less when needed. 2x is a good place to start and can be adjusted as you get further into your editing.
  • Go through clips and delete any areas without action. These are the periods of time where your hands were not in frame or at the beginning or ending of a clips. Cutting out these down times keeps the video snappy and interesting.
  • Bring in music.
  • Adjust clip lengths and speeds to fit with music changes and tempo and to achieve overall desired length of video.
  • Add in text over video where you want to show ingredients or instructions.
  • Watch through entire video and adjust anything as needed.
  • Export video and share.

What about you?

Have you ever recorded videos for your website? What equipment did you use? Software? What did you learn in the process?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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