A fun video for Asti Trattoria. Two cameramen. One vision = make the food look as good as it is.

Asti May 2014 from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.
This video is about Asti May 2014

My friend, Chris, and I both swim with the owner of Asti Trattoria here in Austin. It's been open for nearly fourteen years now and I've been trekking across town for an almost endless series of great lunches and dinners for....fourteen years now. Asti is a neighborhood restaurant. It's located in the Hyde Park area of Austin, directly north of the University of Texas at Austin Law School.

Chris and I both wanted to play around with shooting food on video so we approached our friend, Emmett, to see if he needed a video for his restaurant's website. Bingo. Everyone wins.

We talked about the process a couple of times after swim practice and then set aside two days in which we would document the behind the scenes action at the restaurant. Nearly every second of video is shot handheld. There are a few exceptions like the night shots and the exterior shots. We would have used tripods more in the kitchen but we were working in and around the chefs during their regular service hours and, like any really good restaurant, they stay busy during every open hour.  We learned to swerve by the action, lean in and move out without burning our cameras or getting in the way (too often).

I had grand plans for a beginning, a middle and an end but I got some great advice from a cinematic guru. He basically said to scrap the script and just start layering in the good shots with the music we'd chosen. He told me that when I ran out of shots I liked then the edit was over. Good advice.

We did some interviews but they slowed the program down too much. In the end we decided to let the food sell the project... Bon Appetit. If you live in Austin check them out: http://astiaustin.com

Tech notes: I used a Panasonic GH4 while Chris used the GH3. We used both cameras mostly at ISO800 and ISO1600. While convention calls for shooting with very flat profiles and low contrast and sharpening we aimed to get out of the cameras exactly the image we wanted to see in the edit so we aimed for natural or standard settings with very slight modifications. Our lenses of choice were the 12-35mm f2.8 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Panasonic X lenses. We also used several ancient Olympus Pen lenses,  including the 40mm 1.4 and the 60mm 1.5. We usually shot with the lenses wide open and I did a lot of my work in manual focus. Both cameras were set at 30 fps.  I did the edit in Final Cut Pro X and we output to 720p for the copy that's resident on Vimeo. Ben helped me with a few technical issues that came uninvited into the editing. Man, can that kid troubleshoot. Thanks to Chris and Ben for all their hard work. 


Anonymous said...

Feedback, let alone criticism was not requested, but here's some, anyway. ;-)

Without going too deep into details, quite a nice video, it kinda works, and the flow is good. Not 'safe' to watch when hungry, which means it does work. Works for the client restaurant, too. I literally had to go and fix myself some dinner after watching the clip. The end clip was nice, too.

The only thing I didn't like was the audio track, which was simply a bit too loud. That means both the background music and the master volume were a bit too high. Fortunately that's pretty easy to fix.

Anonymous said...

Cool. Well Done. A nice example of what can be done with the newer Panasonic cameras.

Unknown said...

I just want to know if I need reservations cause sign me up, I'm in.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Ed, in the middle of the Summer I don't think you'll need reservations but when the Fall hits it's always a good idea for Friday ans Saturday evenings.

Probably my favorite restaurant in Austin.