During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all searching for new things to do. Some people are starting to stream their games online, or finding new ways to write. But some hobbies are a bit more necessary – unless you can afford take-out every day, everyone needs to cook.
That’s why people are flocking to YouTube videos by Tasty more than ever before. Even though many people at Tasty has been working from home for months, their YouTube content has only become stronger and more distinctive. But what is it that makes their videos so darn appealing?
It’s a tough question to answer, but there are some common themes in many of Tasty’s most popular uploads that keep bringing millions of new people to their channel. And luckily, most of the things Tasty does best can be accomplished by everyone, for free and online! Once you’ve figured out the video tricks, all you need to work on is the hard part: the cooking.
- Don’t just feature the food – feature yourself
- Label everything you use on-screen
- Use speed changes
- Keep your cameras stationary for (nearly) everything
- Spice it up with title cards
1. Don’t just feature the food – feature yourself
If you really want to know a recipe, you look up the recipe. If you want some more personality, entertainment, insight, and detail, you go to a Tasty video. If you want to apply the same appeal to your own content, you’ll need to inject some entertainment value of your own.
The best way to actually accomplish this aspect of Tasty’s videos is to have a stationary camera set up that films the whole time you’re cooking (yes – unfortunately, it’s best to have two cameras rolling when you make Tasty-style videos). The camera angle that showcases you can be tough to set up – I recommend watching Alix’s videos to get the hang of it. She does a great job of talking directly into the camera while she cooks and prepares, and her camera angle both provides a good shot of herself and manages to show most of her cooking area in the same frame.
2. Label everything you use on-screen
Even if you’re paying perfect attention during an entire cooking video, you’ll inevitably miss some important details. That’s why it’s important to label all your steps, ingredients, and tips on-screen. You can leave them up while you go on with your video, so viewers can make sure they get the most important parts of the video.
If you’re worried about your added text interfering with the style and appearance of your video, don’t be. If anything, your text can be used to enhance the style, distinctiveness, and aesthetic that you’ve set out to achieve in your content. If you’re using a video editor like Kapwing, you can customize every last detail of your text or subtitle layers, from font to animation style. Don’t let boring visuals get in the way of your individual style.
3. Use speed changes
No one wants to watch a 45-minute YouTube video just to learn a recipe. Especially if some steps take a long time, there’s nothing wrong with speeding up your video through the slower parts.
Even more, you’ll probably want to make a couple jump cuts during your video, depending on what kind of video you’re making. If you record while shopping for ingredients, for example, you’ll obviously cut to your prep, and if you put a dish in the oven, you’ll want to cut to the time you take it out. But for smaller steps, like shopping, chopping, glazing, or plating, it can be helpful to speed up some sections of your video. This way, your viewers can still see what’s happening, but they don’t have to feel like you’re wasting their time.
4. Keep your cameras stationary for (nearly) everything
This step isn’t consistent across all of Tasty’s videos, but it’s a great note to follow if you want to be able to accomplish Tasty-style videos on your own, without any camera crew. Some cooking channels, like Bon Appetit, rely on top-level production crews, large kitchens, and roaming cameras that can follow their chefs every step of the way.
Luckily, Tasty’s videos don’t tend to work this way. This means that all you need to start producing this style of video is a tripod (or similar device) for both cameras. My recommendation would be to use two simple tripods or flexible phone holders to set up your phone and a camera, or your phone and friend’s phone. Make sure one of them gets a good shot of your face when you’re explaining things, and the other can be easily moved from your prep counter to your cooking surface. It may seem complicated, but with both cameras in place, you can keep one where it is for the whole recording, and only move the other once or twice.
Another trick is to zoom in occasionally. Even if your camera remains completely still, this can break up the visual monotony of a still shot and make your video a bit more lively.
The only time you might want to actually move your camera while filming is your final plating shot. You'll want to pan slowly over the dish, showcasing the presentation of the final product. Luckily, you won't need to be doing anything else during this shot, so it's still easy to do by yourself!
5. Spice it up with title cards
This is another editing feature that Tasty doesn’t use in all of their videos, but it adds a ton of character and style when it’s implemented. Check out one of Alvin’s videos, for example: he mixes up simple hand-held front-cam videos with high-production value food closeups, and adds in a third type of video feature: title cards. These add a ton of character to his content, with custom illustrations, cute phrases, and musical breaks.
It doesn’t take a lot of work to make stylish, distinctive title cards, though. You can quickly make reusable ones with a background texture, custom text style, and vector illustrations. In Kapwing, all you need is a new scene (they can be quickly copied, moved, and edited), a background image, and a text layer. This way, you can give your video several title cards in the same style, editing the text and graphics for each one.
Of course, the most important ingredients to a Tasty-style video are the food, personality, and personal experience that you convey. But once you master your editing, you can really let your flavors shine on camera.