We've seen a trend over the last few years towards video being the preferred way for users to consume content, including food and recipe content online. This has become more important over the last 2 years and we now believe that video is a requirement for recipe videos moving forward.
Types of video
There's generally two levels of video that you can opt for:
- YouTube-style, 10+ minute videos that is more like a cooking show
- Hands-in-pans style, overhead shot of the instructions, closer to 60 seconds after editing and focused on the recipe process
- Social media format
Everyone should be doing the hands-in-pans style videos at minimum, with the goal of having a few-second clip per recipe instruction, similar to process shots.
Social media video is done off a normal camera phone.
Everyone in the world has a different learning style, and preference for how they like to consume content. Google knows this, which is why the search results show text, image and video.
Google knows that a site that offers the most ways for their visitors to consume content is most likely to cover the bases and provide the best possible user experience for all visitors.
Recipe card schema allows for assigning a process shot and video clip with each instruction step. While these shouldn't be in the recipe card or print version, it's important that it's assigned to pass through to the schema.
Note that this is not required and you will not be penalized for not having it but those are minimum requirements and not highest-meets-needs. Since almost nobody does process shots or video clips attached to instruction steps, this represents an untapped opportunity for sites to provide the best possible user experience.
The base setup for both longer-form video, hands-in-pans, and social are essentially the same, using:
- a camera
- a C-clamp to hold the camera overhead
- 2 lights with light boxes
- phone mount such as this Canvas light with phone mount
For YouTube-style videos, you'll want to add a forward-facing camera with a tripod. Make sure it's the same camera as you use for the overhead (less learning, compatible accessories). For a lavarel, the RodeLink Camera-Mounted Wireless Receiver with digital wireless system
- dual camera setup allows for more dynamic editing and more useful videos
- C-stand mount holds the overhead camera
- weights to counter-balance and hold the C-stand are useful
- tripod holds the forward-facing camera
- the camera body doesn't really matter - spend the money on high quality lenses
- you can do YouTube, hands-in-pans, social media and recipe photography all at the same time with the right setup
- the same lighting and camera settings work for both photos and video
- setting the white balance is key to color quality!
- diffuser light from the side
- note: front-facing light lacks shadows and makes things look flat
- recommended: second diffuser light from other side at 50%
- as much space as possible between you and the background looks best
- avoid backlighting behind you
- mirrorless cameras are the future, get one with a screen that can flip to face you during shooting
- 24-70 mm lense
- if you have an assistant to help photograph while you do the video, they're usually standing off at 45 degrees, out of camera
- otherwise, the phone with a canvas light mount works
- people connect more with casual film style, not overly polished and professional
- your phone stand is fine in the longer form videos
- film the test recipes as well even if it's not officially what you're going to use - the failures can be used as B-roll, and you can educate your users on how to avoid the failures
- See Pailin's Kitchen from Hot Thai Kitchen as a great example of how to film popular YouTube content
- the full recipe doesn't need to be on YouTube - link to your website for people who want it
- the YouTube call to action is to subscribe and watch the next video, not to leave YouTube and go to your site
- think of the social video as being 4-second clips
- this helps keep peoples attention
- there should be a focus for each shot
- vary between talking for 4 seconds and performing the action/instruction for 4 seconds
- avoid zooming in and out with the phone because it can be confusing to follow
- for reels, keep it snappy and don't worry about audio, just do a voiceover after editing
- decide what kind of video you're doing: entertainment, education or info
- recipes are usually education (teaching)
- it can be entertainment if you're not showing all the steps - entice them to visit your site for the recipe
- mindset for videos: this is the best information we have at the time, and we're trying to make it approachable
- Final Cut Pro for editing on PC
- TikTok for video editing on phone
- Camera setting: shutter speed should be 2x the framerate you record at, rounded to 10
- eg. 24 fps = 50 shutter speed
- film in 4K quality
- this helps for cropping/zooming
- you'll need to set the white balance each time if you don't have a permanent setup/studio
- taking equipment down and setting it back up is time consuming
- hands in pans is slow and outdated on social, people have seen it too much
- hands in pans works for recipe posts/cards because it demonstrates the process and can be matched to the instructions
- the opening shot for the video is done at the end, after everything is done, and edited to be at the beginner, to show what you're going to be educating them on
- for mobile, emphasize every step so that it's clear, and you have time to voiceover (5-10 seconds per step)
Coming up with the script is partly discussing the recipe, and partly answering questions people will have.
- imagine the post is already done, and you're answer questions
- look at already-ranking videos on youtube and Google, and look at the questions in the comments - answer those