Flight of the Bumblebees is a five-part video cooking series inspired by the beauty and magic of bumblebees in spring and summer. The series features recipes inspired by the natural world, peaceful music and calming visuals and was designed to provide a sort of small, restful escape from the everyday for viewers.
Creating A Common Look & Feel To Unify The Series
I try to make my film work really immersive so when the audience is watching they can kind of fall into the worlds I’ve created and come along with me as I cook and create. For this project, I built out a set with a lot of soft, natural elements with a color palette featuring bright whites, contrasting dark greens, and vibrant yellows. The lighting for the series is done primarily using a single, diffused natural light source with selected scenes lit using an LED light panel and projections.
For me at least, my work isn't just about cooking, it's about creating a whole experience for the viewer, creating this peaceful space of a few minutes where people can relax and unwind and just have a moment for themselves.
As far as the content of the series goes, each episode features the creation of a dish and starts with a short description of what inspired it. The cinematography in the series focuses on creating a calming atmosphere with slow pans, gentle movement and soft lighting. The soundtrack features a lot of soft piano and strings which I tried to fit to mimic the mood or concept behind each dish.
Camera & Lens Selections & Settings
I used two Sony lenses for the project, the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master which was great for capturing full length table shots and establishing shots of the set. Since I was shooting in quite a small space the wide angle capabilities of the 16-35mm lens really helped to keep shots feeling airy and spacious even when the camera itself was quite close to the subject. The second lens I used was the 50mm f/1.8 which is perfect for creating hero shots with a really soft, romantic background while keeping the subject crisp and in focus.
A few stylistic decisions I made for the series include choosing to shoot in 24fps instead of 30fps. I was shooting with the Sony Alpha 7 III which offers both so I could choose the best setting for the project. For this particular series I wanted that really cinematic film look, so I went with the 24 fps as this creates the look most viewers recognize and associate with films. Another stylistic choice I make often when I’m trying to create really clean shots of a subject in frame is to shoot with a faster shutter speed and really reduce motion blur. It’s a personal choice and something I just really like the look of but you end up with shots where you can actually see individual grains of sugar pouring into a bowl or really defined drops of liquid.
One of the challenges I had was when I first started filming. It took me a while to adjust to using the new camera, but I think that is just the nature of the beast when you’re learning your way around new equipment. What I found super helpful was the camera’s tethering abilities and how easy that was to set up. When I’m filming alone and there is so much going on, I often just can’t fuss with loads of cords and adapters but I could hit two buttons and link the camera wirelessly to my tablet which was so helpful. Using a tablet or viewfinder is great for dialing in any details or correcting the composition.
I think there is something really beautiful and inherently soothing about when someone cooks for you. With the Flight of the Bumblebees video series, I wanted to really elevate that experience. I hope you enjoy it and that as you watch the series, you’re, at least momentarily, transported into the world I’ve created.
In addition to being and Alpha Female+ grant winner, Kristin Atwood is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. She was nominated in the "Outstanding Single Camera Editing" category in the At Home Pasta Series which she created, filmed and edited in the early days of lockdown. You can see more of her cinematic food videos on her YouTube channel, Chef Studio.