Shooting Food — Filming Food So It Looks Good Enough To Eat

I’ve worked a number of movie shoots with eating scenes and they can be very difficult because of perishable food items. Since the object is to make the food always look good (even if it is barely on the screen), there are special challenges in shooting edibles. And if you’re filming a feast, the food should look perfect!

I’ve created this list to share some of the most useful information that I’ve come across working Art Department with food handling. These items come from real world experience, so they should be applicable to most filming situations.

Here are some tips on filming food:

Use colored dishes

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Most non-professional art directors overlook using colored plates, service trays, glasses, etc. Color dishes do two things for you: add color to your scene and add contrast to food presentation. Imagine a black plate with a tomato and a leaf of lettuce on it. Much better than a white plate with the same items. Warning: Only do this if the colors of the dishes match (all glasses same color, all plates same color, etc.) If it looks like you picked up a hodgepodge of colored dishes at the local thrift store, it will ruin the film illusion.

Use a spray-bottle of cooking oil

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Most food has a matte finish so the food surface doesn’t reflect much light. A spray bottle of oil will add a shine to items that will enhance how most food appears on film. It will also add lighting highlights that enhances the look of food. A coating of oil can also be used to simulate wet food.

Think ahead about food rotting

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Many people think of food refrigeration before the shooting begins (making sure meat, etc. is well kept before 1st call). Beginners often forget to consider what the food will be like after 5 hours of shooting under the hot lights. Consider this when you’re putting together your on-camera meal. It’s hard to get a good performance out of an actor when a rotting pork chop is sitting right under his nose.

Mix real food with fake food

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If you use all fake food (wax grapes, plastic lemons, etc.), the food will appear fake on camera. The best technique is to mix real and fake food. This can work especially well with deserts. Fake ice cream with real cherries and whip cream looks good enough to eat! Also, mashed potatoes can be a useful stand-in for ice cream.

Use the vaseline trick for beading water

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Vaseline can be used on an actor’s face to simulate beads of sweat. Likewise, you can coat the outside of a vegetable (such as an apple). Use a hand spray filled with water and the water will bead on the surface for that just-out-of-the-garden freshness. Note that this effect won’t be picked up by the camera except with close-up photography and specific lighting, so don’t bother except under those conditions. This technique can also be used for beads of water on a glass if you need the glass to look like it’s sweating from a cold liquid inside.

Soft lighting makes food look good

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The general rule in shooting food is that soft light makes food look good to eat, hard lighting makes it look like poison. The hard light creates harsh shadows which makes food look blacker/rotten. Food lighting is exactly like lighting people — think of your desired effect.

Use dish soap for a head on a beer

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If the scene requires beer, dish soap provides a good frothy head that lasts under the hot lights. Obviously, make sure your actors don’t take a swig. That said, I would personally recommend avoiding shooting beer. Unless it is specially lighted, it will show up on film as a flat brown which typically less than appetizing.

Undercook food to retain firmness

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Many foods wilt under the long shooting hours and hot lights. Some foods such as pasta (especially spaghetti) can be under-cooked to a rubber consistency. These foods will then stay firm during the entire shoot rather than wilting and appearing exhausted.

Bring spare tablecloths

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Almost without fail an actor will spill something on your tablecloth. Both the spill and the stain will cause horrid problems for film continuity. Have 2 or 3 identical tablecloths on set. When a spill occurs, you can quickly swap out the dirty one for a clean reserve.

Consider using food doubles

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If the food shoot is going to be very long and the food needs to look perfect, you can use fake food for the long shots and the real perfect food for the close ups.

Sharpen Your Shooting Skills – Indoors

Shooting simulators are cost effective, easy to use systems which can provide hours of entertainment and skill development for the whole family. You can use one of many replica laser firearms which are available or use you own gun on the simulator. New technology allows you to use your own personal firearm on the simulator, in conjunction with special laser-insert cartridges. Consistency is a key element for good shooting, now you can practice with the same gun on the simulator as you will take out into the field.

There are over 30 hunting and shooting games available for the system. Everything from bear hunting to dove shooting are options on the shooting simulator. Want to teach you kids about Hunter’s Safety?…there is a program for that, want to practice your shooting skills in a non-violent setting?…there are programs for that as well. Easy to setup and easy to use, you can be up and shooting in a matter of minutes. Do you find yourself uneasy at the shooting range? Always worried about someone else and their shooting ethics? All of this can be avoided by using a simulator in your own home. It is a fabulous way to provide a safe and effective learning environment for new shooters.

Want to introduce yourself or a friend to the exciting world of archery? It is a simple add on to the simulator. You can hold a competition with your friends for the high score, all the time building and improving you shooting skills.

Save time and money on your trips to the range, by practicing your shooting in your home. Getting ready for the first hunt of the season? Want to make sure you hit your target with poise? Build the confidence you need by practicing on an indoor shooting simulator, all from the comfort of your own living room or basement.

The History Of Flight Simulator Games

Flight simulators are virtual tools that are designed to teach the user how to fly an aircraft without the risk. When you are learning how to fly professionally or for fun, you cannot buckle yourself into a 747 and expect to catch on in a matter of minutes. Flying an aircraft is not like riding a bike; one small mistake can have serious consequences. This is why flight simulator games were created to help teach training pilots how to fly. Learn about the history of flight simulation and see just how much it has advanced over the years.

The first known arcade game to use flight simulation was Jet Rocket. This simulator was released by Sega in 1970 and was designed as a form of entertainment and not training. The game featured a cockpit complete with all of the controls and a basic and stationary landscaping scene on the screen. Players could shoot missiles and explode targets before their eyes.

The advancement of these types of games brought the release of Jet Rocket making way for a whole genre of combat simulator games. The next popular game to hit the arcades was Interceptor made by Taito in 1975. This first-person shooter took flight simulation to a new level and used a joystick so the player could aim at enemy aircraft and disintegrate them in mid-air.

It was not until the 1980s that flight simulator games were made for personal computers. They have remained very popular on personal computers to this day. The first PC game to hit the market was subLOGIC. The subLOGIC game, created by Bruce Artwick, has basic graphics, real world scenery, and a mock control panel. The creator made several different versions of subLOGIC for Mac computers and later for IBM compatible computers. The IBM compatible versions were licensed under Microsoft as Flight Simulator 1.00. The company later released 2.0 and 3.0 versions with more aircraft options and better graphics.

After PC games, came more advanced games for playing consoles in the home. Sega released a flight simulator game in 1987 that was titled After Burner. This combat game used a joystick and was widely popular on the Genesis and later the PlayStation. Super Nintendo also released a game called Pilotwings. This game helped the player earn their pilot license by completing flight lessons that were built into the game.

These types of games may have started out slow but they have graduated into a huge market. They are designed to entertain you and teach you what it feels like to control an actual aircraft. New simulator games have advanced so much that you will really feel like you are controlling a plane. If you choose the right game, you can use controls that are found in actual cockpits and select the weather and time of day you want to fly. You can even fly over your house and see it with satellite technology. The world of flight games will continue to grow.