OpenTable has been a leader in online restaurant reservations and reviews for 20 years, connecting diners with over 40,000 restaurants worldwide and finding tables for more than 21 million people each month. We’re blessed with a wealth of local cuisine and imported influences, resulting in Vancouver and British Columbia having over 4,400 restaurants listed.

We were commissioned by OpenTable to produce a series of short videos capturing the creation of signature dishes at some of Vancouver’s most popular restaurants. Our videographers Warren Fenton and Cristobal Ruiz had the skills and appetite for the job, going on location at Hawksworth, Bauhaus, Nightingale, Savio Volpe, and Wildebeest.

Related Post: Meet the Team: Cristobal Ruiz, Cinematographer

Warren had time to put down his camera and taco to share some insight into creating professional restaurant and food videos for social media marketing with a Q&A.

What kind of equipment did you use?

Warren: The three essentials were our LED panels, a camera capable of 120fps for that sweet sweet slow-mo, and macro lenses so you can really catch the small details.

What were some challenges you overcame?

Warren: A big challenge was the wide variety of lighting depending on the restaurant and location, we solved this by bringing our own lighting in. Heat in the kitchen and hot oil was also tough, we had a few cameras overheat on site. For most dishes we only had one shot to film them, so we had to be on point the entire time.

Any food filming techniques or tricks you can share?

Warren: Small movements while filming go a long way to showing a food item in a more appealing light – seeing more of the dish helps make it appetizing. With chefs working quickly to get dishes out, slow motion lets the viewer take it all in. Similarly, using a macro lens allows people to focus on small exciting things that happen in prep that they wouldn’t catch.

“Other than the obvious benefit of sampling some of the dishes… I really enjoyed watching the artistry of a skilled chef at work in their element. We filmed some of the most interesting dishes in town for this and watching them come together was fantastic.” – Warren Fenton, cinematographer

Any tips for editing food prep videos?

Warren: Editing food prep into bite-sized videos requires cutting out steps of the food creation process. For a 20-30 second social media video, it’s crucial to only show the best and most interesting parts in that brief time.

Do you have a favourite video from this project?

Warren: I loved the liquid nitrogen dessert dish from Hawksworth. Not only is the liquid nitrogen separation of citrus cells fun and exciting to watch, it’s unusual in the result it produces – tiny superchilled pops of citrus really bring the dish to life.

Any videography tips for restaurants or foodies out there?

Warren: Use a variety of camera angles, only show the best parts of the process, look for small exciting moments that happen to help tell the story of the dish and highlight them. Food prep is an art, treat it as such. Flour on a pizza prep area is confetti, a mixed drink is liquid gold, and searing a salmon steak is fireworks. Have fun with it!

Watch the full set of OpenTable videos through the playlist below:

Related Post: How to use strategic media production to achieve your goals.