Jump to content
Osman Arslan

Advice needed for Dark and moody food cinematography

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I just shot my first cooking video. I would appreciate some feedback. I will attach a link to a very short 1 minute cut of it for you to see. I am happy with it overall. However I think in some shots highlights could be kept at lower levels. Especially the shots of the onion. I am not sure though. It doesn't look that bad. I know the beginning and the end of the video don't seem completed. I just cut this to post to the instagram profile of the channel. The actual video is much longer and completed. 

Aside from your feedback for this video, I would like to get some advice on dark and moody lighting for my next cooking video. If you watch this video you will figure out my lighting setup. I will give references from this video to tell you what I have in mind for the next project. In this video I used an Aputure 300d with a 3'x4' soft box and I also added a white bed sheet 2-3 feet front of it. I positioned the light hitting from 10 o'clock to the chef and the set. I also added a bounce from the opposite side of where the light is. I hung black duvetyne behind and the sides of the chef to hide the setting which was my messy living room. 

For the next shoot I would like to create an image like in the attached photo. So for this one I am planning to use a honeycomb grid like snapgrid in front of the softbox. Get rid of the bed sheet and put black cutters to the both sides. I will also hang the duvetyne just like I did in the video. I will also get rid of the bounce I used and maybe add a negative fill instead. In my video light was hitting from a higher angle than this photo. I believe in this photo light is positioned very low from the ground. I believe my light in my video is much softer than the light in the photo. I will also have all the props dark colored. Please let me know if I am on the right track. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance. Here is the link to the video: 

Osman Arslan

 

 

 

RATATOUILLE2-videoLarge.jpg.7b8a20be8654bbd56c42f3db8a7968a2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mentioned IRE values. What would be the ideal IRE values for dark and moody scenes. Is it something to consider. I thought it was. Any advice on that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I shoot food and product somewhat regularly.

First, what you shot looks very natural. That single source look. I think it looks great. Reminds me of the Johnsonville look. The back light is key to getting the steam to show, which you did. Your aerial tabletop shot loos prefect.

Regarding the highlights on the onions, 2 things. 1, it is a closeup shot which allows you to net and shape the light to a finer degree, which you should totally take advantage of. It's usually a food reset for each focal length anyway. You can flag or net using dots or fingers, foamcore scrap works great in a pinch. 2, If closeup adjustments are out of the question then exposure adjustments will have to be made, such as irising down to desired highlight level then fly in a foam bounce over the table to raise the table back to the right level. If that bounce is ineffective enough, then it'll need to be powered by a separate light source. Fresnel, tunable LED would be ideal.

Alternatively, a polarizer could work if it is a reflection of the juices, but it'll elliminate other reflections as well, including on the spoon. I use polarizers a lot for product shots. Invaluable tool.

The tabletop picture that you want to emulate looks edited to make the table dark, like they crushed the blacks. As far as lighting, there is obviously a side push from the right. It might be a 2x3 or 4x4 of opal considering the lack of crisp shadow. Then it looks like they have an overhead bounce on the left side. You can see this acting inside the cup, the spoon and the bowl. But it's absent on the square pan. So it might be a 4x4 board just over that area. And judging by the reflections in the cup there are a couple fill cards on the bottom of frame. The plastic spoodn handle is reflecting likely another fill card at top of frame.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Edited by Stephen Sanchez
Typo
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thank you very much for the detailed comment Stephen. I really appreciate it. That helps a lot. I am new to shooting food. I always look for the reflections to see where the light is coming from or to determine the size and the type of the source etc when I’m analyzing a shot from a movie.  However I didn’t think of doing that for this 🙂. If you realized I only mentioned the main light coming from the right side and said nothing about the other sources reflected by the things in the shot. I will always look for that from now on. Thank you for that. Honestly I had a polarized filter with me during the shooting. I put it on to see the effect. But I didn’t have a monitor with me. From the small lcd screen I couldn’t tell if it was degrading the image or not. So I left it out. I will check before the shoot tomorrow and use it if it’s good enough. I’ve had it forever and I’m not sure about the quality of it. If I’m not mistaken it’s a Hoya. However I will definitely use it from now on to eliminate it to reduce the reflections. Like I said I am new to this and learning. For the close ups. It’s the same principle as lighting a talent. You go softer as you get tighter. Thank you for that point too. I will keep studying. I really appreciate your comment. Thanks again. 

Edited by Osman Arslan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something to note. If its a $20 polarizer then youll likely see a color shift as you turn it (usually warmer). So be sure to set it and leave it for consistency.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hello Stephan, 

I just shot a new video with the same setup. This time I used the polarizer I had. I would love to hear your opinion if that made any difference. I believe except a couple of shots it clearly made difference. However I forgot about netting the close ups. That's why a couple of spoon shots have hot spots. Do you see anything bad caused by the polarizer? Color cast or anything? I would appreciate if you can answer. If you have time... Thank you. Here is the new video:

 

Edited by Osman Arslan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Color looks great. And those highlights are much better tamed.

A note. I assume with the same setup that once you added the filter you had to iris open to regain correct exposure. This wide aperture is a bit too much in my opinion. The DOF is so shallow at times that the part of the food is discernable. I would have set my iris to a range where more food was in focus and adjusted the shutter and ISO to compensate. Even lowering the fps on the slow motion to help it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

It is true. Also This time I used a different lut which lowered the exposure compared to the first lut I used which was Agfa Portrait lut. When I added the Agfa film lut it was much brighter and the highlights were pushed to the max. Then I tried this Leeming lut and I liked it at the time but you are right. I should've tweaked it after adding the light. I haven't finished editing the actual video. I just cut this for instagram. So I will tweak it to make it right. Thank you. 

Edit:

Sorry I just got what you meant. Yes it is true I am not happy with the super shallow depth of field on this video. I liked the previous video better. That's exactly what I was telling my wife. It was a mistake but as I said I am learning. What matters actually is the food and I am ruining it with this shallow depth of field. Live and learn. I will keep that in mind next time. Thank you. 

Edited by Osman Arslan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, we learn through experiencing and making adjustments. The work we do requires so much staging and actors and space with equipment that practicing or training can be impractical and instead learned live. Now you know. After a while it'll be inherent.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • G-Force Grips



    Tai Audio



    Serious Gear



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Glidecam



    Paralinx LLC



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Metropolis Post



    Just Cinema Gear



    FJS International



    Ritter Battery



    Abel Cine



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Visual Products



    CineLab



    Wooden Camera


×
×
  • Create New...