The Perfect Egg Sandwich, continued...
I figured I would continue this post in this forum since it's where it began. Thanks to everyone who responded with their feedback on the egg video and my questions regarding getting into the industry.
Quick question: Is being well versed in FCP an asset within the production industry or do most pros use Avid or some other editing program I don't know about. Or is knowing FCP adequate?
In terms of online food videos, I have probably done as much research as anyone without even intending to. By which I mean, I taught myself to cook by watching thousands and thousands of online how-to vids. The overwhelming majority are poorly edited and filled with aspiring food network personalities. The "niche" that I see, or what I see as few and far between, are tutorials that cut out the fluff and get to the point. "If you want to make an egg sandwich, do 1.2.3." Presented in a professionally filmed and edited, concise video that is visually appealing, thoroughly instructional, and without going over the top, subtly entertaining. The egg sandwich video is just a format, so to speak. From here on in, I would like to step it up a notch with more gourmet/complex recipes.
Obviously, the "format" I am trying to develop in my video, which I hope to apply to other recipes, still has a lot of holes in it (http://www.adammcdermott.com egg sandwich, revised).
Now, in terms of the big picture, I am tired of working in restaurants. Although I love cooking and the thrill of working the line on a busy night, I look at my friends and family who've gone the more traditional route in terms of careers, and I'm envious of the nights and weekends they have off.
I would like to create a mass of cooking videos, develop my video editing and web skills, and branch off from professional cooking into some sort of multi-media type gig that will afford me a better quality of life. I’m hoping a cooking video website (along with a few short docs) that I create and maintain would be enough of a resume booster to help get me a job in multi-media, one that doesn’t involve working nights and weekends.
Basically, the whole point of doing a site filled with cooking videos that I've done is so that I can stop cooking and transition into another field.
As for the egg video:
Thanks for all of you who watched the video and gave me feedback, I took it to heart. Initially I was thinking that I would make one video that was so-so, and apply any corrections to the next separate project. But on second thought, I figured a better idea was to perfect the initial project and then move on applying the lessons learned. The egg video is far from perfect, but it’s quite better than the first go-around, IMO.
I shortened it by 1:20. I added more text and took out the out of focus shots. I added a “foley” track. And I fixed the shot where my hand was obscuring the cutting of the onion. After re-shooting some stuff, some of the lighting still needed work so I “brightened” it in FCP. Is that cheating? Is it better to re-shoot with the appropriate light?
My weaknesses are still controlling the audio and the lighting.
I will probably end up reshooting the entire video over and over until I have something that is as perfect as the egg sandwich itself, ha!
If anyone has the inclination to watch the revised video, it’s at http://www.adammcdermott.com under The Perfect Egg Sandwich, revised.
Thanks again for all the advice!
I think there's no point in trying to ape exactly what dozens of other established TV cooks already do. First, you can't afford the resources to match them at that. Second, the niche is glutted already. Third, nobody can top Alton Brown so why try.:-)
This is why I think you're on a better track with a version of a cooking show that is all very tight close-ups of the food and the hands ONLY. Leave personalities out of it altogether, and allow the viewer to assume some of that role themselves, thus making the experience more involving.
To make that work, the photography has to be at least as good as regular cooking shows, but better, because with everything in close-ups, there is less room for error.
That said, your next aquisition IMO has to be some more and better lighting gear. Some softboxes and some hard lights to play up textures on an eggshell, and throw those specular highlights here and there, that twinkle and invite. Treat your hands like you are going to be a pro hand model, because you are. Work on gestures with the hands that are fluid and expressive, let the fingers do the talking and try to keep dialog to a minimum. Spend a lot of time perfecting the typography and use good design principles to compose it and sequence it and animate it a ltitle bit here and there. Make the typography a character in itself, an expression of your personality.
Look at your counter top and stove top as tiny little stage sets, and spend time getting every little aesthetic detail of foreground and background just right. You might make a skateboard dolly to let the camera do tracking and dolly shots around the sides of an activity like cutting the onion. Play with depth of field to throw audience attention around the frame to support the "story". and yes, each recipe should be a story.
Keeping everything tight and compact like this can be cheaper to produce, and it also plays well on tiny phone screens and ipods and web stream windows.
I want to know what restaurant in Baltimore you work in. Hopefully you're making a lot more than egg sandwiches. If you don't want to go public with the info add email or a phone number to your web page.
The revised version is MUCH improved. Still an un-even edit or two, but much, much better. And I agree with Mark (as usual). Close-ups and ECU's are the way to go and yours are working.
[Adam McDermott] " I'm envious of the nights and weekends they have off."
[Adam McDermott] " ...help get me a job in multi-media, one that doesn’t involve working nights and weekends."
Are you passionate about the craft or are you looking for free time on the weekends?
Working in the production industry involves a ton of late nights and working over the weekend. If you're just starting out, working nights and weekends may be the only way to get your foot in the door. If you freelance for a living your schedule is always subject to change. You might have planned to do something over the weekend and then a client calls with a job for Saturday. You're not going to turn down the work. The people that are successful in this industry do what it takes to get the job done (working long hours, etc.) because they are passionate about the craft.
Thank you for your frank critique Mr. Hazen.
Defining the career I'm searching for continues to be a work in progress. I have a very strong interest in developing a skill set that will allow me to effectively and professionally deliver information and stories to an audience, hence my interest in participating in these forums.
Having nights and weekends off is not the only objective of my quest. I figure once I get a good handle on making and editing films, it can only lead to new opportunities.
Being in the production industry isn't necessarily my goal. I would like to be in the journalism industry (not television) with strong multi-media/video skills.
In any case, onward and upward.
I've put the egg sandwich to bed and am filming my new recipe.