Best Queso Scenario

Panchero’s Mexican Grill is a client of Planet Propaganda, who partnered with Chris Hynes Photography to create images for their upcoming Queso campaign. Their concept would require two specialty shots, so we were called in to assist with the video portion of the production. The first shot would be simple enough: a big ol’ bowl of queso being slowly stirred, captured at a high frame rate for slow-mo. No problem! The second would prove to be a bit trickier: a close up, top-down view of a burrito that smoothly transitions to a wide and off-centered profile. This shot would require both tight follow focus work along with a skilled jib maneuver.


To get this specialty scene for the burrito, the clients suggested a steadicam but we thought a jib or crane would do a better job for the precision the shot required. This would also make it possible to perform multiple takes with ease until we nailed the perfect one. To get this one-take shot, Natalie manually pulled focus as she brought the jib down and back. It took several takes, but Natalie captured this seamless shot. We used our Sony FS7 with a 50mm Canon lens to get the desired shallow focus, shooting at an aperture of F4, Shutter 1/180, 60fps in 4k, in hopes to give the editor a great deal of room to scale the shot accordingly to leave room for type lock ups and frame space for additional shot stabilization cropping.

Natalie Hinckley of Hinckley Productions operating Sony FS7 on Jib

I was on set in the role of camera assistant and to log shot notes. I created a makeshift edit station so we could test footage and review as we worked. Since we were shooting S-Log3 RAW 4K, I uploaded the footage to Premiere, processed and colorized the clips, then rendered it out so the client could review it all on the fly.

Bowdie was there to gaff and grip. The clients wanted the burrito to be lit perfectly and evenly. As you can see from the photos, this was extra tricky because the backdrop was a sort of foil-like surface, which bounced the light back. This caused all kinds of shadows and reflections. Set up was tough, but once we hammered out all the details the shoot went smooth.


Hinckley Productions Lighting Color Correcting on Set with Sony FS7 Jib

But even with all these elements, the real challenge was getting the talent camera-ready. I had no idea the amount of time and energy that went into dressing up the star of the show…. A deceptively mouth-watering burrito. There were people fussing with pins, magnets, glue, toothpicks, weights, even a blow-torch. All these things contributed to the immaculate burrito you see in the final product.

Hinckley Productions Sony FS7 Jib Closeup Dolly Shot


The next shot was an overhead of a vat full of queso dip swirling in motion. Achieving this required mounting the camera directly overhead using a professional studio camera stand typically used for product photography. We had to shoot at an extremely high frame rate (180 fps) to capture super slow-mo. It was a little nerve-wracking seeing our precious Sony FS7 dangling over a giant bowl of liquid cheese but luckily there were no casualties. To get the shot, we Macgyvered a stirring device. There was a metal tube in the bowl of queso that someone moved around with a magnet from underneath the giant bowl. It was all very tricky but we got the shot and it looks delicious. Ironically, pizza was served at lunch.

Hinckley Productions Sony FS7 Mounted on Photo Stand for a Closeup Shot
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