The Truth About Food Commercials

Posted: October 10, 2011 in misc

The New York Times recently ran a fascinating piece revealing the complex process involved in creating a food commercial (think Burger King, Red Lobster, etc.).  I found this section particularly eye-opening:

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant and thought, “This does not look like the dish in the ad,” here’s the irony: The dish in the ad doesn’t look like the dish in the ad, either.

This casserole shot, for instance, is an elaborate tango of artifice, technology and timing. The steam wafting over the dish comes not from the food, but from a stagehand crouched under a table with the kind of machine that unwrinkles trousers.

The hint of Alfredo sauce that appears when the fork emerges from the pasta? That’s courtesy of tubes hidden in the back of the dish and hooked to what look like large hypodermic needles. Moments before each take, Mr. Somoroff yells, “Ooze!” That tells the guy with the needles, standing just outside of the frame, to start pumping.

As for that quarrelsome drip from the fork, it is the responsibility of Anthony DeRobertis, a special-effects rigger who holds his own hypodermic of sauce and is having a hard time synching with a hand model, a young man with a military haircut who is clutching the fork.

“Anthony, the second drip is about 10 minutes after the shot is over,” says Mr. Somoroff after five or six takes, sounding faintly annoyed.

“I’m right on it,” Mr. DeRobertis says.

“You’re on it, but it’s not dripping when it has to drip.”

A break is called and a tube is attached to Mr. DeRobertis’s sauce injector, which is then taped near the bottom tine of the fork, in a way that’s invisible to Mr. Somoroff’s immense Photo-Sonics camera.

Sauce and fork are finally in unison. After a few more tries, Mr. Somoroff has a take he likes enough to show to reps from the client and its ad agency, a group of whom are waiting in a nearby room that is decked out with a large high-definition TV. The pasta appears moist, the steam organic and the minuet of drip and hand nothing more than a diner on the verge of a blissful bite.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s