Food content creation
for household brand Frylight
We were really excited for this one – just the tonic for coming out of lockdown this Summer with a food content creation project based around new recipes for Frylight.
We were tasked with creating a number of recipes that would provide a set of quick yet healthy meals for families, as well as demonstrating the wide range of applications for the Frylight cooking oil spray.
Our brief involved us writing the food recipes from scratch and then delivering recipe videos and recipe photography for each dish.
So, where to begin?…
Content Creation: The Recipes
This was the perfect job for one of our regular food stylists, Holly Cowgill – who works with us on a number of our food content creation shoots. She helps us with projects all the time, including those for Bay’s Kitchen, BIMS and White Rabbit Pizza.
The task for her here was to work with our client at Frylight to make sure that the recipes were correctly articulating the use of their cooking oil, with one eye on the impact on production – as we wouldn’t want to overload the shooting day with unrealistic expectations. So it’s a fine balance.
Holly had to work with planning these recipes around hitting a certain cost and keeping certain key ingredients in mind as well. No easy task, but the collaboration on all sides was successful in achieving the right outcome. Only once these recipes are in place can we firmly move on to production planning.
At the same time, we would be making loose scheduling plans alongside in production, considering backgrounds and props in advance, as well as blocking out the edit time.
Food Content Creation
Like other content projects, we regard food content creation as the generation of both video and photography assets from a single brief. In this case, that set of content was split between a series of full food recipe videos, supporting food photography of the finished dishes, plus we also wanted to deliver some behind the scenes photography and macro photography across the shooting day.
We had budgeted for an ‘extended day’ of shooting here – which gave us up to 12 hours with which to prepare and cook the dishes before the food content creation began, which gave us a good amount of hours in the day to allocate to video and photography seperately.
Food content creation forces a balance, and the best way to tackle this is to ensure that both the photography and video teams get the time that they need, with enough flexibility from each side to make it a smooth execution.
Food Content Creation: Video Production
When working on food content creation briefs such as this where both photography and video play a part in the same shoot, we usually adopt a video-first approach. As the lighting we use is different for photography than it is for video, we need to make sure that we allow the setup to generate good quality on both sides of the creative line – we wouldn’t want to deliver great video and average photography, or vice versa.
Our process for the video production side of the content creation is to start in pre-production. The Pocket Creatives team will look at the recipes in detail, and plan the shots for each aspect of the recipe. In this project, we utilised a familiar approach of the top-down camera mixed with closer side angles. This tried and tested method provides great balance of creativity with what you can call ‘follow-ability’ – it’s no good making a recipe video all funky and jazzy if your viewer can’t keep up and follow the steps. On the other hand, a single camera approach makes for a boring video or a disjointed and forced edit. Having the two cameras together helps overcome both challenges.
We’ll also spend a lot of time considering backgrounds, props, serving plates and utensils. For this specific food content creation brief, we purposefully kept things simpler than we sometimes do – so that we don’t distract with props, keeping the focus on the simplicity of the dish and the cooking process, while leaving viewers in no doubt to the hero product.
Food Content Creation: Photography
Compared to video production, food photography is slightly simpler – you can be more mobile, the lighting is a tad more forgiving, and as you’re only looking for standalone images you can afford to jump in and out as you need without upsetting the video.
The main deliverable here is just an end dish shot, with and without the accompanying Frylight product, so typically we jumped in once the video was complete for each recipe and then captured what we needed. Lighting is nicely provided by our portable folding umbrella softbox, plus some bounce poly boards to manage shadows. We prefer to shoot bright but with a little drama – which means keeping some shadows in place for modelling and depth.
We used our redundant time while the video was being recorded to grab as much behind the scenes photography, product close-ups and cooking shots as we could. This just adds to the volume and variety of the overall content creation package, where certainly for social having different assets can be really useful for different occasions.
Food Content Creation: The Edits
Delivering both video and photography content meant two seperate food content creation processes to follow, with video requiring the lion share of the time.
Having looked after Co-op Food’s recipe videos for the past few years, amongst others, we have a solid food content creation process that works well. This allowed us a swift and efficient edit and delivery schedule, with review and feedaback time built in – and proudly, no overruns 🙂
Our Production Director, Lauren, now has close to 150 recipe videos to her name – being in safe hands doesn’t quite go far enough!
Ryan, in post-production, worked on creating the initial assemblies, followed by more detailed edits that gradually become more complex, incorporating client notes throughout. As we were delivering for different social media channels as well as having some custom web size expectations, once the master video was signed off, this master is then re-shaped and formatted into the familiar square and portrait aspect versions. Tailoring our outputs this way does add on a few more hours to our food content creation process, but it makes the viewing experience much better.
The photography deliverables take just a few hours to complete, by comparison, where we optimise the exposure for each image individually, make any repairs and dust removal, and apply a finished look. I always feel bad when talking about these side by side, as it makes it look like photography is really easy – which of course, it isn’t! But faster, it is 🙂 These ones were overseen by our photography producer, Bryony before being delivered using our custom online gallery to the client.
“Our brief for Pocket Creatives was to create eight low-cost and engaging recipe videos for a family audience. The team were creative and led the project well; from understanding our needs through to final edits, working with them all was a pleasure. We’re really pleased with the final outcome, and can’t wait to get sharing!”
Lissie Bernard, Brand Manager at MH Foods
Food content creation is becoming a bigger part of the services we’re asked to provide, and while some people will simply switch from video to photo mode on their camera, it’s not the way we like to do things if we’re putting quality first.
What we’re really proud to deliver here through our food content creation process, is a high quality and watchable set of video recipes and photography that sits nicely amongst Frylight’s past assets. You can see more projects in our food portfolio and dedicated food recipe section too.
Steven Mayatt, Creative Director
“Fun, innovative and unflappable. Pocket creatives are great to work with – whether it’s finding the perfect lighting for trifle to capturing GoPro footage on a whisk, they always approach every situation with a steady yet game-changing attitude. I see the whole team as trusted creative partners to make great content together.”
Kitty Aldis, River Group
“I have been working with Steven and the brilliant Pocket Creatives crew for 3 years – in fact since they started out. They have captured in excess of 100 recipes, produced 7 videos including 2 crowdfunding campaigns, their work, professionalism, and commitment to client satisfaction second to none. What’s more is how they have developed, evolved and grown in creativity, experience, and inspiration.
On a personal front the individuals in the team have to most wonderful personalities – an absolute joy to work with!”
Tanya Robertson-Lambert, Tanya’s Just Real
“I worked with Steven and his Pocket Creatives team to create a recipe video, and I couldn’t recommend their services enough! From the ideation stage, through to filming and editing the finished product, at every stage, the whole team were first-class, going above and beyond to create a compelling, high-quality recipe video that generated heaps of engagement. I would definitely work them again.”
Ben Cullen, OLIO