This is why food ads cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce

Nov 21, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

This is why food ads cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce

Nov 21, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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We’ve all seen them thousands of times, the ubiquitous fast food advertisement flickering across the screen for 30 seconds while we catch up with our favourite series. But we rarely put much thought into how they are made. Or how much effort and money is put into shooting them.

Or normal people don’t at least. If you’re like me, the ads often fascinate you as much as the programs do. Trying to reverse engineer the lighting or camera moves in our minds becomes irrestible. This excellent video from Business Insider takes you behind the scenes at a commercial food production video shoot at The Garage in Brooklyn, New York, and it’s fascinating.

First up we have the food stylist. It’s his job to prep the meat for the burgers, select the ‘heroes’ and generally make things look as delicious as possible. We learn however, that looking delicious is far different from actually being delicious. The meat patties for example, are barely more than raw. Their grill marks are merely seared on with a hot skewer, the meat painted for maximum colour.

And if the raw meat doesn’t put you off, the many skewers will. These along with cosmetic sponges are used to prop up the separate parts of the burger. The back half that won’t be seen by the camera is a far different story to the camera-ready side.

Next we see the set and prop designers. It’s apparently a job skill to have a hoarder’s attitude. We are told exactly where and how long ago their favourite props were acquired. The set is put together with equal verve. Rather than just finding a kitchen that looked correct, they build one.

And if that isn’t all expensive enough, we next see the behind the scenes of the robotics department. These robots move the products across the stage, and are also important in controlling the camera movement. Everything has to be done the exact same way each time we are told. It’s all a little bit mad scientist meets MacGyvor, but the results prove that everyone here is highly skilled at what they do.

Finally we meet the director, Steve Giralt. He used to be a stills food photographer, however, he moved into video production later. He’s famous for the split ingredients burger fall and allegedly has millions of views on social media of his behind the scenes footage. Robots moving chocolate and marshmallows together into a high speed smash to create the perfect slow-mo of a smores going together in just the right way is a classic example.

Suddenly I’m hungry. It all looks delicious! Bon appetite!

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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