How to make a recipe video on a budget

Within our Using Video in Social Media workshop, a request we regularly get asked for is to use case studies that don’t feature videos for clients that were the result of huge production budgets. One of our favourite examples that we therefore talk about in the session is a video from Discover Great Veg (below), provided to us by Sara Davis from Ceres PR, who produced the video .

We therefore asked Sara to provide us with a guest blog post about the production of the video…
How to make a recipe video on a budget

Anyone who works in social media knows just how much content you need to populate a feed. Generating original content can be costly, so smaller brands could be put off producing video. Despite some production houses charging upwards of £20K per video, you can make a recipe video with an iPhone, a little help with the cooking, time and imagination. What you do need, is investment in production, props and a promotional budget if you’re distributing the content yourself.
Whilst the ‘Tasty’ type videos may look like a synch to knock up, there are certain factors to consider both in the content side and the technical side before you begin. At Ceres we always use a home economist to ensure the food is perfect, which leaves me free to do just about everything else myself.
Firstly, what you need is a simple recipe that’s going to look mouth-watering when cooked, the final video needs to inspire people. Think either colour or indulgence. Beef Bourguignon may taste great, but it’s difficult to get a brown stew to ‘Wow’.  Melted cheese and running poached eggs look particularly good, or something healthy and colourful that will ‘pop’ off the screen.
You then need to break it down into a few simple stages to give the gist. You can post the full recipe as a link at the end, so forget the minor details and focus on making it look easy, achievable and delicious.
Plan each stage and what props you will need. This is where you can add some subtle personality to the video.
Bowls, chopping boards, plates and napkins etc. all help create a certain ‘feel’- we have amassed quite a props store and I always keep an eye out for interesting stuff when I shop.
It’s worth taking note of food magazines as food styling in photography gives ideas on current trends. Years ago it was all white plates and close ups, now it is much more lifestyle based with wider shots and more props to create a mood. Avoid anything shiny if possible, go for matts and textures as everything will look much more ‘premium’ and you won’t get camera or light reflections.
At the planning stage it’s useful to know which platform you are shooting for – YouTube & Twitter require landscape, Instagram needs square and Facebook can take either. Knowing this in advance helps with props and framing, particularly for any captions you may need to include. You may need to shoot some sections twice to accommodate both formats.
Canon
I have a Canon 7D and an iPhone6 which I use to film. Both are good and I use them in different ways. The iPhone is particularly good for overhead shooting.
iphone overhead 
I try to set the position to the widest I will need during the recipe and leave it locked off so I can edit seamlessly. I use my DSLR for some close ups and cutaway shots which give more depth to the piece and can also be used as bridging shots to get from A to B if needed.
Lighting is something to watch out for. I try to use natural light where possible as it’s so powerful (and free!).  Unfortunately in the UK, though the weather isn’t consistent so artificial light is a necessity and I have a set of LEDs to give things a boost when needed.
The time needed depends on the recipe itself. We cook everything on camera, even if it might not make the edit, and we only re-shoot a section if there is a problem. What I do take time over is the final dish as this is the selling point, so I will spend time styling it with props and shoot a variety of shot sizes and angles. A word of warning – those delicious M&S type shots with cream running seductively down a dessert can take an AGE to film as food doesn’t take stage direction very well – so build in extra time and ingredients if you plan on getting some movement in there. It’s almost always worth it, but you do need patience.
I edit everything on Final Cut Pro X as I find this is the quickest programme to get professional results, especially with all the captions involved. Of course it’s not just about the footage, choosing the right music can take hours if you let it, as there are an infinite amount of tracks out there. It’s worth choosing a track first and then cutting to the beat as this can help give the video some rhythm and pace. Ideally the shorter the better and it should definitely be less than a minute to sit on Instagram. Facebook is less restrictive, and it will loop anything 30 seconds or less for a maximum of three times which can help to attract attention to your content. I try to start and end on a good shot of the final dish to lure people in – if I get hungry editing it then I think I’m on the right track! Fortunately, in my job there’s always loads of delicious food around and because the role is quite physical I tend to burn it all off straight away. The downside is…nope, sorry there isn’t one. What can I say?

Sara Davis

Content Manager
Ceres PR
Please use the contact form to enquire about fees and to book our Using Video in Social Media workshop at your offices for your wider team.

Using Translations to Globalize Video Marketing

This guest post from Rachel Wheeler of Morningside Translations combines two of our key interests, Video and Localisation.  We run regular workshops at client offices on both of these topics, so do get in touch if you would like more information or to book a session for your team.
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Using Translations to Globalize Video Marketing

Online video already has a greater reach than any US cable network. With this size audience, it has become clear that online video can be a highly effective marketing tool.  
In addition to increasing reach, studies have shown that video content yields significant results. Customers prefer watching video about products to reading about them, and customers say that they are more likely to buy after watching a video.
Using sites like YouTube and Facebook can give your business the ability to reach millions of potential customers from around the world. When it is done right, you can use these services to reach customers in other countries. If you want to have the greatest impact, the use of translation services can ensure that your online videos make a connection with this broader audience.

Why Video is Important

Research from Eyeview suggests that a landing page with video can see up to an 80% increase in conversions. If you offer your products and services in multiple countries, you can further increase the effectiveness of video by offering translated versions of the website and media.
When the website and the video are in the visitor’s native language, they are much more likely to spend an increased amount of time on the page. When visitors spend more time on the page, they are more likely to convert. The additional time spent also improves SEO, which has a component based in bounce rate on a web page.
Videos can also have an impact on your email marketing. A report from Invodo shows that using the word “video” in the subject line can increase open rates by close to 20%. Video can also increase clickthrough rates by about 65%, and it can cut the unsubscribe rate by approximately 26%.

Increasing ROI with Translations

Video marketing can be one of the most effective methods for increasing sales and building your brand, but you want to get the most out of every video. Distributing your videos internationally can increase your reach, but if you want to increase the return on investment, translations can help your videos have a greater impact in foreign markets.
Professional translation services can also ensure that your videos are sending the right message in foreign markets. Translations are not always straightforward. A message that hits the mark in English could be seen as inappropriate to people of different cultures. By getting a translation service involved early, you can craft a message that will come across well in different languages and for different cultures.

Localizing Videos

You could choose to localize your videos by making a separate video for each language, but this will increase the cost of your marketing campaign. Instead, you can save money by making videos that can be more easily translated for multiple languages.
One common option is to use subtitles. It is an inexpensive option for making a video more accessible to foreign language speakers, and the text can easily be added to the videos.
Dubbing is another option. You can hire voiceover actors to record replacement dialogue for the translated version of the video. This can be a more effective way to attract viewers, but it can be costly. If there is just one actor it can be done at a reasonable cost. However, as more voices accumulate in a video, the cost can make this option a poor choice.
It can be helpful to consult with a translation service during the production process. You can go over different options, and find ways to make the video more adaptable for the purposes of translation.
When a video is in the native language of the viewer, they are much more likely to watch, and it also increases the chance that they will share the video. Professional translations can help your videos make this connection, and this will increase the impact that your content has in foreign markets.
Morningside Translations is a professional translation agency with local experts across industry verticals. They began in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, where they have since grown into a leading translation firm with offices around the world. They specialize in working closely with clients to produce content that bridges the gap between languages and cultures.

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