Filming recipe videos is a great way to visually show your readers and followers how to make a recipe. Videos are also incredibly popular on almost every social media platform.
Maybe you’re already filming recipe videos and just want to up your game, or maybe you’re a recipe video newbie looking for the best camera for cooking videos. Either way, we’re here to help!
We are going to take a deep dive into the gear that our sister site and food blog, Pinch of Yum, uses for recipe videos – from cameras and tripods to editing software.Want to learn more about recipe video equipment?
While filming and editing videos is undeniably more work than shooting and editing still photos, videos are so versatile! You can share versions of your video footage across platforms – including Instagram Reels, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, AND on your food blog!
Let’s start with a list of what Pinch of Yum currently uses, some basic examples of how we use it, as well as some other common video-related questions that we’ve seen on the Food Blogger Pro community forum recently.
- Equipment for Shooting DSLR Recipe Videos
- Equipment for Shooting iPhone Recipe Videos
- Editing Software for Recipe Videos
- Recipe Videos FAQ
Equipment for Shooting DSLR Recipe Videos
We use a Canon 7D to shoot almost all of the side-angle videos you see on Pinch of Yum’s website, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube channel. If we had to choose, we would nominate this camera as the best camera for cooking videos! That said, we will occasionally use an iPhone when we don’t have the 7D readily available (more on that in a bit). We shoot our videos at 24fps because it gives the video more of a cinematic or “Hollywood-like” feel to it. 30fps or 60fps would feel a bit more digital. In fact, 60fps is reserved for capturing really fast motion, or for creating a dramatic look that might feel out of place for a typical recipe video.
We use this camera when shooting overhead cooking videos for Pinch of Yum. We like having the zoom lens to be able to change the cropping and composition without moving the camera and/or tripod.
If you’re using two cameras to shoot your recipe videos and want a cheaper option than a second Canon 7D, the 80D is very similar at a slightly lower price point. We use this camera for our side-angle shots when we really want to highlight the detail of the recipe — think: stringy cheese, melty butter, sandwich cross-sections, etc. The 80D is nice because it has a swivel screen that can help you keep an eye on what you’re filming no matter where you are.
This is the lens we use for wide, overhead shots, and it works really well for close-ups too. It’s not a prime lens, which means that you can zoom in with the lens itself, rather than zooming in during post-production.
We use the Canon 55-250mm lens with the Canon 7D Mark II for our side-angle shots. It’s a more budget-friendly zoom lens for those close-up detail and texture shots.
You’re going to want a memory card that can handle the speed and size of your footage if you’re shooting on a DSLR. In terms of space, we would recommend something above 64 GB (we use a 128 GB card). However, you could probably 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.
Impact C-Stand with Sliding Leg Kit (Black 11′) and Camera Mount
We have two of these stands: one that we use for the overhead camera and one for the side angle. For the overhead, we stabilize the arm with a sandbag on the other end.
We like the versatility of these stands because they can be used for many things in the studio beyond just holding the cameras. This stand is pretty large, so keep that in mind if you’re working in a smaller space!
You will also need to purchase a camera mount for these stands to attach your camera to them. We use Manfrotto mounts because they are interchangeable with the quick-release plates.
Manfrotto Ball Heads with Quick Release Plates and Manfrotto 014-14 Rapid Adapter – 5/8″ Stud to 1/4-20″ Thread
If you decide to go with the Impact C-Stand, you need to purchase a tripod head to attach to the C-Stand.
Make sure that whatever mount you purchase is rated to hold the weight of your camera (some are light-duty and will not hold a heavy DSLR and lens firmly).
Lastly, you will need the Manfrotto Rapid Adapter to attach the tripod head to the C-Stand.
Top-down videos are great, but it’s sometimes difficult to see if your food is centered in the frame, in focus, or overexposed because of the angle of the camera. That’s where a monitor comes in. We have two of these monitors that we attach to our two DSLR cameras so that we can see what’s being captured in the shot.
We use natural light whenever we can, but sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. We’ve used all three of these options for artificially lit photography, and they work great for video too.
The Westcott option is the most expensive option, but the NEEWER lights are a great alternative. The NEEWER lights are smaller, easy to store, and come with a dimming option if you want a warmer light.
Lastly, the Amazon Basics Portable Foldable Photo Studio Box is an easy and affordable choice for artificial lighting!Ready to learn more about artificial lighting?
Here are some additional, smaller items that will make your filming process a lot easier:
- HDMI to Mini HDMI Cord: If you’re using a monitor when filming, you’ll need a cord so you can connect that monitor to your camera. Based on the cameras and monitors we use, this is the cord we need. Be sure to check your specific cameras and monitors to figure out what kind of cord you need.
- Canon EOS Utility: Since we shoot with Canon cameras, we use a free (!) program called EOS Utility to tether our side-angle camera to a computer monitor. We can see what our camera is recording and adjust our camera settings directly from this program.
- USB to 5-Pin Mini-USB Cable: This is the cord we use to tether our camera to our computer monitor.
- White Balance Cards: We use white balance cards to set custom white balance before a shoot. They help with the overall “look” of the final video.
- Bounce Cards: Just like in photography, we use bounce cards to lighten up some dark areas in our shoots. We don’t use them all the time; instead, we use them as needed if the lighting is subpar. We use the foam core boards from craft or office supply stores!
- Diffusers: You know that beautiful, soft light you see in really awesome photographs? You want that same quality of light for your videos! You can use diffusers built specifically for photography, or you can find a sheer curtain that you can hang in your window.
- Google Drive: We use Google Drive to help us organize and collaborate on our videos. It’s part of Google Workspace from Google.
- My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive: Video files are big, so a big external hard drive is great for organizing, storing, and protecting your clips.
Equipment for Shooting iPhone Recipe Videos
It is increasingly common to see recipe videos filmed on a phone on social media. This popular Reel from Pinch of Yum was filmed on a phone! 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 really like using the Overhead Pro Tripod for iPhone videos. The nice thing about this tripod is that it has an arm. Since the camera is far away from the legs of the tripod, you’re not getting the legs in your shot. A smartphone is light enough that this very small tripod can support it, so it’s a great economical option.
Just like the monitor for DSLR videos, we use Reflector 4 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.
We used the Zoom H4N audio recorder for the Food Photography Lighting and Putting it All Together courses 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.
We have two of these mics. This mic was recommended to us by a video production company as the best of the “prosumer” level mics. 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. We’d advise you to only purchase this if you’re really going to dive deep into video. The Zoom H4N is a much more affordable option if you’re just getting started.
Editing Software for Recipe Videos
When FCPX first came out, there was a lot of pushback 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% professional, yet it’s not quite 100% consumer.
At Pinch of Yum, we use Final Cut Pro X to edit our food videos. One of our favorite features is Synchronize Clips. We use this feature to quickly and easily sync up the audio and video clips from the shoot.Learn everything you need to know about Final Cut Pro X.
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 is also great for those who are working on Windows computers – Final Cut Pro X and iMovie (below) are both only for Macs.Ready for a deep dive into this software?
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.Want to learn more about editing in iMovie?
We like to use InShot to edit videos on our phone (like for Instagram Reels and TikTok). It is easy to record the videos using your iPhone, edit with the InShot app, and then upload the final video to whichever social media platform you prefer.
While there is a free version of InShot, InShot Pro allows you to download your videos without the InShot watermark.
Recipe Videos FAQ
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:
At Pinch of Yum, we love using natural light for our recipe videos. The gorgeous, soft lighting matches the food photography style on the blog. Plus, it’s free!
When filming with natural light, find a location where the light is even for the longest period of time. A north-facing window is usually a great location to shoot. 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.
Artificial lighting is also a great option. It provides an even, consistent light and light temperature that you can turn on any time 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 also be bulky and cumbersome to work with and store.
Keep in mind that you’ll share the video across your social media platforms before, during, and after shooting to make sure frames are composed so that several different crops will work. Head over to our Definitive Guide to Video Sizes for Social Media post for more details on dimensions and video duration.
Consider a slightly different edit for different platforms. For example, for Reels and TikTok, a shorter, snappier video that features more of the finished product will usually perform better than a longer, instructional video.
The same footage can be used on each platform, just rearranged, sped up, or slowed down. You might also choose different music for each platform to appeal to that specific audience.
A great Reel or TikTok has some text, but not too much that it becomes tedious to watch. For recipes that have a complicated step, consider focusing more time of the video on that step, while also providing tips for the viewers with text.
Overhead style recipe videos are a fun and popular way to share recipes. They are characterized by quick, overhead video footage demonstrating a recipe, typically set to fun music or narrated.
Here are some tips for making your own overhead recipe videos:
Overhead Angle – Whether you are using a DSLR camera or your phone, you will need a tripod that has the ability to hold your camera horizontally over your work surface while you film to achieve the overhead angle.
Close-up/Side Angle – While this style of recipe video sticks mostly with overhead angles, there are often occasional close-ups or side angles to break up the overhead footage. These angles can be shot with a second camera set off to the side or simply by moving your first camera down or zooming in during certain points of the recipe process.
Speed – There are a variety of platforms on which to share your recipe videos, and some have limits to the length of the video. Consider speeding up your video to keep a snappy feel and move the viewer through the recipe without focusing on some of the longer, more monotonous steps.
At Pinch of Yum, we love using DSLR cameras for shooting cooking videos. 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. 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.
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.
DSLR vs. Point and Shoot vs. 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 costs down, consider looking into using your phone or a point and shoot camera. 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, and a flip-up screen to help you monitor your video while shooting.
Monitor/Tethering Capabilities – When choosing a camera for cooking videos, consider its ability to tether or shoot in such 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 for seeing what is in frame while shooting a video. Some cameras have flip-up 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 to 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.
No matter what software you use, here is a general workflow for editing a cooking video:
1. Import the video clips into your software program.
2. Drag overhead shots into your project’s timeline in the correct order.
3. 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.
4. Decide what side angle shots or close-up shots you want to use (if any) and lay them over the top of the overhead shots. Do any color correction to those clips.
5. Speed-up clips. We often speed-up clips anywhere up to 2x speed. 2x is a good place to start and can be adjusted as you get further into your editing.
6. Go through clips and delete any areas without action. These are the periods of time during which your hands were not in frame, or at the beginning or ending of a clip. Cutting out these down times keeps the video snappy and interesting.
7. Bring in music.
8. Adjust clip lengths and speeds to fit with music changes and tempo and to achieve the overall desired length of video.
9. Add-in text over video where you want to specify ingredients or instructions.
10. Watch through the entire video and adjust anything as needed.
11. Export the video and share.
What about you? Have you ever recorded videos for your website or social media accounts? What equipment did you use? Software? What did you learn in the process?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.