Hi everyone, Joe here, Siri's husband (often referred to as "the camera man"). As some of you might already know, I do most of the behind the scenes technical stuff for our cooking show. I thought I would create this page to share some helpful information for those that might be wondering what tools and equipment we use to create our cooking show.
Starting an online cooking show can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a lot of hard work and a little luck it could even replace your full time income. Below you will find short write ups about the equipment, software, and other resources that we use to create our content. I will keep this page up to date, adding new items as we buy/use them and taking off items that we no longer use. Take your time to read through it all, and feel free to email me with questions.
I use a Canon EOS 70D as my primary camera for both pictures and video. I really love this mid-range Digital SLR camera because of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF features that other brands simply haven't mastered yet, or just don't offer. In addition, the Movie Servo AF and constant tracking in video mode make shooting video and staying in focus very easy. In short, with Canon's proven technology, this is probably the best mid-range DSLR for both video and pictures available.
I use a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 as my primary lens. I do like this very basic lens, it is inexpensive, durable, and a good all around lens. This lens was part of a Canon kit and came with the camera. I will be investing in a f/2.8 lens some time soon in order to get better filming quality while in the kitchen with naturally lower lighting levels than what can be found outdoors.
I use a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 as my secondary lens. This telephoto zoom lens is not used as much as my primary since it has a further reach and would be hard to maneuver while filming and shooting in a small kitchen. It does make for an excellent outdoors lens though. I use it when I am taking pictures or filming outdoor scenes. I really like the range of the zoom, the light weight design, and the inexpensive price.
I use a Rode VideoMic GO as my primary audio device at the moment. I like it because it provides great high quality directional sound, almost zero background noise from the sides and rear, and is light weight at just 2.5 ounces. No battery needed, just plug it in to your camera's standard audio port and it uses your camera battery. It is also quick and easy to snap on and off between my primary and secondary camera.
I use the SanDisk Extreme PRO series of flash memory cards for both primary camera and my secondary camera. I try to find a high MB/s transfer rate on these cards in order to shorten the time it takes to transfer video and pictures from my cameras to my computer. I find that I can fit an entire episode of video and pictures on a single 32GB card, so I rarely buy anything larger. I do have about 10 cards though because we will sometimes film 3 or 4 episodes in a single day. Having a lot of cards allows me to film one episode per card, film several episodes per day or week, and still have a few extra cards left over for emergency.
I use a Western Digital 6 TB External Hard Drive as my primary storage device for all of the pictures and movies that I take. I trust Western Digital with my storage needs because they are consistently ranked number one in reliability and quality in the hard drive market. I take hundreds of pictures every week, and on average film at least 20 GB of video per episode, and often times much more. Having a 6 TB hard drive that is small, reliable, and fast (USB 3.0) makes data storage and back up easy. Since it is plug-and-play, there are no issues or problems when installing it. This is not the smaller travel version that powers up using only a USB connection. You must plug this one in to the wall for power. I use it as my primary data storage and backup device.
Indoor lighting is a tricky topic, but perhaps one of the most important topics covered here. A great camera in bad lighting will more often than not result in bad pictures and video. While you can improve picture and video quality in post production, you can save yourself a lot of time and work by using good lighting. A great example of poor lighting can be found in our Season 1, Episodes #1 - #33. In the early stages of creating Spoon Fork Heart, we were still trying to figure everything out, and we learned about lighting the hard way. Have a look at any of those videos and you will notice a yellow/orange tint, and overall low quality. The yellow tint was a result of using a combination of standard soft-bulbs in our kitchen along with a couple of large garage spot lights. This lighting combination was horrible, the lights burned hot which caused flash and light spots in the video, and the soft white kitchen lighting caused the yellow/orange tint. Season 1, Episodes #34+ is when we started investing in better lighting, better cameras, and better equipment. You can see the difference in the videos. I use four of the LimoStudio Umbrella Day Light Balanced Pure White Florescent Lighting as my primary mobile lighting. These really brighten the kitchen up and are easy to move when filming different shots. I also replaced all of my stationary kitchen and dinning room lighting with the same bulbs.
Google Apps for Work is a very useful grouping of tools to help us stay organized and on the same page. Every Google app that we use has a purpose in helping us organize and collaborate. From Gmail, to Calendar, to Docs, and Forms, Google Apps for Work really helps us. With real time collaboration capability, we can work together on the same recipe even when we are in different locations and on different devices.
Adobe CC is the Adobe subscription service that gives you access to a full range of Adobe products. Instead of buying separate Adobe software programs as stand alone products, I prefer to get them all in one place with the Adobe CC subscription. With Adobe CC updates to the newest versions of programs are always free. We mostly use Photoshop for picture editing, Lightroom for picture development, and Premier Pro for video editing. However, we have been experimenting and teaching ourselves After Effects for in video graphics, and InDesign for eBooks and eCookbooks. In addition, you can get special pricing on the Adobe CC subscription if you are a student or a school or university employee, a government employee, or have a business need for multiple accounts.
We use SquareSpace to host the Spoon Fork Heart website. SquareSpace is a very easy to use platform, you don't need to know HTML or be a coding wizard to have a beautiful SquareSpace website. Of course there is seamless ecommerce integration for you to sell your own products as well. The monthly cost is fairly inexpensive and the service and up time are excellent. We have been using SquareSpace from day one and have not experienced a downside yet. Blogging and editing are super easy, and there is a lot of social media integration options with the SquareSpace platform.
We use SmugMug as our media host for pictures. Being able to host large image files on a media server instead of directly on our website ensures that things run fast. SmugMug hosts our pictures and then we only post the links on our website, this means that when viewers look at the pictures on our site, they are really looking at them via a seamless link to SmugMug. Again, this keeps our bandwidth usage low and our site fast.
We use YouTube as our main media host for videos. Hosting our videos on YouTube's media servers means that we don't have to host the videos directly onto our own server. Similar to the SmugMug explanation above, hosting our videos on YouTube allows our website to remain fast and our bandwidth usage low. In addition, using YouTube as our video host also allows us to monetize our video content.
When I was younger I used to put all of my spare pocket change in an old water jug at the end of every day. As the days and weeks went by, my saved pocket change grew into a somewhat decent amount. In today's digital world, I almost never carry cash, but I can still squirrel away my pocket change every day. I use Acorns as my new "water jug". Acorns links to my debit card and automatically rounds up every purchase I make to the nearest dollar amount. Whether I am at the grocery store buying ingredients for the Spoon Fork Heart cooking show, or at the department store buying new kitchen equipment for the cooking show, my change is always saved and invested with Acorns. For example, if I buy $18.84 worth of ingredients using my debit card, Acorns rounds up the change to the nearest dollar amount, which would be $19.00 and sets that $0.16 in change aside for me. It doesn't seem like much, so I don't really miss it. But by the end of the first month, I had realize that I had saved almost $40.00 in spare change. To make it even better, I can invest my spare change in the stock market using Acorns fractional shares investing technology. If you want to start saving and investing your spare change too, then just click this link (acorns.com/invite/2NUT5D) or the Acorns picture above and receive your free $5.00 reward when you get started.
Disclosure: We are not sponsored by any of the brands listed above and have not received any compensation for using or promoting these brands. However, we do earn a little revenue when you purchase the products through the links on this page. If you want to use the same items as we do, then please consider helping us out by clicking the links found here. The intent of this page is to inform our audience of the brands that we use and that work well for us and our needs. While these work for us, you are encouraged to do your own research and make choices based on your own needs.