How Chipotle Uses Wireless Video to Make IG Videos Look So Damn Good

Are you following Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on Instagram? If so, you’re no stranger to their innumerable posts of saliva-inducing, double-tappable burritos that make you pause and appreciate a post that finally isn’t a selfie or a meme. As more people adopt the photo-centric social media platform (sorry Facebook, IG is the new cool kid now), businesses from local restaurants to major food chains are flocking to it to promote their goods. And who can blame them? Aesthetic food is the trend these days!

But Chipotle takes videos to a whole other salsa level. Their food porn IG videos make chips & guac look more like an art form than an appetizer, not to mention how oddly satisfying it is to see a cup of queso dip being poured over a burrito bowl. Who creates these videos anyway?

Grip it and dip it. #nationalchipanddipday

A post shared by Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on

This is the work of a 14-person crew, namely production company Plate to Pixel, who assembled a crew consisting of DP Justin Aguirre (@justins_lens), Director Alan De Herrera, 1st AC Greg Cahill and Sound Blake Christian.

“Our job was to get a lot of motion-controlled, action-based shots with the food. Chips falling into dips, hands dipping into different sauces, wrap-around shots and lots of others,” Aguirre explained. “These would go on Chipotle’s Instagram stories, highlights and regular posts where over 500k+ people would see.”

The Setup

The production took 3 days (a full 36 hours) to capture all of the footage for seven 5-second videos, showing just how demanding these food shots were to achieve. In addition to time though, the right gear was needed to capture the footage. Here’s the setup Aguirre used:

  • Sony a7S
  • Zeiss CP2 + Canon 50mm Macro
  • SmallHD 702
  • Wooden Camera NATO Handle
  • Teradek Bolt 500
  • Panasonic 1710 (Director & client monitor)

Because these videos are catered to mobile users, HD resolution wasn’t a big priority. So instead of cinema cameras, Aguirre instead opted to use the a7S with the Zeiss Macro Lens (?) for sharper, zoomed-in shots and small form factor. “We had to be able to capture every detail of the food. Even the salt particles on the chips.”

Footage was shot vertically to capture the correct framing for predominantly smartphone viewing. Sony a7S was hardwired HDMI to the SmallHD 702, which looped the video to the Bolt 500. The wireless feed was sent to a Bolt receiver in video village, where the Director and clients monitored from Aguirre’s Panasonic 1710.

Keeping It Professional

Working with clients (especially large companies like Chipotle), it’s important to not only produce awesome footage, but also perform professionally on set. And as all cinematographers know, the gear tells a lot about the user. That’s why Aguirre chooses Teradek for his monitoring.

With the Bolt 500, Aguirre provided a monitor that clients can view all the way from video village. This meant they could be away from set and still see a detail-accurate 1080p60 image of the shot, leaving more space for the production team on set to focus on filming. Doing this wirelessly helps keep the distance between set and video village free from cables.

“We had 14 people running around on set, from the production crew to Chipotle chefs and executive clients,” said Aguirre. “Working with food and kitchen equipment, we want to make sure it’s as safe as possible. Bolt allows us to have a wireless system that exactly like wired monitoring, but much cleaner and more professional.”

More video clips can be seen on Chipotle’s Instagram @chipotlemexicangrill.

Check out Justin Aguirre’s work @justins_lens.


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