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« That’s What Friends Are For | Main | Stuffed Asiago Mushrooms - it's Time to Party! »

Inside Special Fork: Behind the Scenes of our Video Blogs

By Sandy Hu

It’s a gorgeous Sunday morning in San Francisco.  But instead of going out to enjoy it – and heaven knows we’ve had few perfect summer days to revel in – my son Dave and I are dutifully chopping and measuring and getting ready to shoot another Special Fork video blog.

Fridays are video days on our blog site and we are committed to introducing a new video blog every week.  Dave and I comb through the Special Fork beta site looking for recipes to spotlight that are quick, easy and delicious, and that offer a teachable moment.  Sometimes, we simply want to show how do-able a recipe is, even for beginners.

We use two Flip cameras on tripods – one to capture close-ups – and we shoot in HD.  We use my kitchen as the set, which offers a lot of counter space for prepping out of camera view and good, natural light.

After having found a recipe we like, we test it the day before we shoot to ensure it’s as good as we anticipate.  Then Dave does the grocery shopping and we prep together.  We shoot on Saturday or Sunday beginning about 9 am; we must be done by 1:30 pm, when the sun comes streaming in from the glass doors, changing our light.

We plan on making a recipe three times. If we are very lucky, we get it on the first take. Dave figures out the camera angles and does all the shooting.  We take turns doing the demos.  When we’re done with the video, it’s time to do a close-up still shot of the recipe for the final image of the video. I set that up, using tableware from my kitchen for props.  During the week, Dave, does the video editing so we can upload the video Thursday night.

Having worked in food public relations for many years, I’ve coached chefs, cookbook authors and others, as part of media training.  I’ve also worked one-on-one with chefs when Ketchum, the agency I worked for, partnered with CBS-5 to do TV segments called Quick & Easy Cooking, featuring demos by San Francisco’s top chefs.

I also supervise still food photography for clients, working as a team with professional photographers, food stylists and prop stylists in photo studios.

So I know our demos aren’t as polished as what professionals can do. But, as a startup company, we do the best we can.  I’ve learned a lot by watching real pros do their job and I try to apply the learnings.

When my son Chris was a junior at the French American International School, he turned in a project that was a little rough around the edges.  His teacher kindly called it “artisanal.”  I like to think that our videos, too, are artisanal – done with a lot of heart and effort and with every good intention of teaching others simple and delicious things to cook.

Special Fork bloggers blog Monday through Friday. For more recipes and ideas on your smartphone, check us out at Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @specialforksndy.

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