Does this look like your kitchen on Thanksgiving?
Well this is my kitchen but it's not Thanksgiving...as you can tell by the smile on Kathy's face (Whoops! I hope she doesn't read this!). I'm not saying that she's not thankful on Thanksgiving, it's just that Thanksgiving is so stressful! It's enough to make a nice person like her a bit snappy (especially when I'm sending out a newsletter instead of helping in the kitchen!). But I digress.
The photo above is a behind the scenes snapshot of the production effort that went into the video that comes on the Cook'n with Betty Crocker CD. While the finished video clips looks clean and simple, there is really quite a bit to it. I love to go behind the scenes and I thought you might too. In fact, I really get into the Sesame Street episodes where they take you to the cereal factory and what not. There I go, digressing again.
It took two full days of shooting to produce the Cook'n with Betty Crocker video. It's an exhausting whirlwind of cooking and cleaning with plenty of laughs as you can tell by the blooper video clip.
For several weeks before the big day, we're busy writing scripts (and getting them approved by General Mills), searching for talent, making menus, and grocery shopping. On video day, we wake up early to clean the kitchen and get the roasts and other slow-cooking foods started. Since the lighting equipment and two ovens combined with all the rushing around tends to over-heat our actors, we crank the A/C too in an effort to get a jump on it.
Shortly after Pete and his crew showed up, he realized that he forgot one of his cameras (Pete's the one on the right, sitting on the steps, sampling some food from the last shot). We were actually happy for the delay because we weren't quite ready for him yet! Of course, we gave him a hard time about it and asked, teasingly, if this was his first shoot. We asked him if he left it at the wedding hall. His company is actually top-notch but he's a fun guy to tease and it sets a relaxed mood for the day.
While Pete went back for the camera, John and Tom set up all the rest of the equipment. Tom (sitting on the left) watches the two monitors and makes careful notes that are used for editing purposes later. I think that's what he does. Besides testing the food when we're done to make sure it's really good, I'm not sure what else he does. John (on the right in the back) works the boom camera. That's the one that gives you the over-head (top-down) view.
As they invade the kitchen with tons of wires and equipment, we run around frantically and make final preparations (trying not to trip on the tripods too many times! Whoops!). Fortunately, my sister Kim (the blonde in the back hovering over the counter), showed up to help in the nick of time. Not only does she help prepare the food (and give me moral support!) she brings her two oldest daughters. Her girls have the most difficult job of all. They must play with our four kids upstairs or outside and keep them quiet as church mice the whole time!
Finally, Tammy, our lead actress (pictured on the left), shows up to do her magic. She and I review the scripts one last time and choose a couple easy ones to get us started. Then, I'm off to change my clothes and fix up my hair. OK, as you can tell, I didn't really fix up my hair. I probably should have though! Kathy picks out some "camera-friendly" clothes. We unplug the phones and freezer to keep down the background noise, and we're off!
Before long, every dish and piece of silverware in the house is dirty, the place is a wreck, and our fridge is full of left-overs. We're laughing and having fun though and we're hopeful that Pete can edit out all of our mistakes!
So, the next time you watch a Cook'n video and think about how easy it looks, you can say that you've been "behind the scenes"...and know that everything is not as it appears!
-Dan @ DVO