Because we’re already knee deep into the second season of Cooking with Gandalf (a playlist of ALL videos from this show can be viewed HERE), I thought I’d briefly talk to you about what ACTUALLY goes into each episode. It seems really off-the-cuff and simple, but the process in which one episode is produced is pretty long and arduous. But worth it, right?
Step 1: Decide on a recipe. This can take anywhere from five minutes to three weeks, depending. The “special” episodes (for holidays) take a bit longer, especially if we’re making more than one food (like on Thanksgiving- that menu took about two weeks to finalize).
Step 2: Plan a day to film. To do this we have to coordinate with each other (there are three hosts, after all), guests, school work, and ingredient availability. Especially lately, since Colton’s car has been in the shop, it’s been kind of hard to procure all necessary ingredients for recipes, so that’s always a concern when planning a day to film.
Step 3: Prep. For special episodes, when there’s background decorations like the hearts on Valentines day or the pilgrims on Thanksgiving, putting up all that crap can take between ten minutes and an hour. In addition to decorations, we also have to make sure we have enough room to cook everything and that the kitchen isn’t a mess. Oftentimes we’ll spend a good hour and a half before an episode washing old dishes and wiping down counter tops. I also have to set up the tripod and make sure the camera is at a height at which you can see the cooking going on and also the top of Colton’s head, as well as Gandalf. It seems like half of our total prep time is finding a place on camera for Gandalf where he isn’t in the way of a host or of the actual cooking. During this time we also try to pick out a Gandalf quote to use in the outro.
Step 4: Film. Filming can take between 2-5 hours per episode, depending on what we’re making and how long it takes us to actually get started. In addition to the actual cooking, I also take a couple of minutes before we start to film closeups of decorations and ingredients, if applicable/possible.
Step 5: Cleanup. This includes putting the room back together if we’ve displaced chairs and kitchen appliances for better shots, taking the tripod down, doing dishes, and storing leftover food away for later. This part probably takes the longest consecutive time, after filming. It also might not happen for several days because we’re college students.
Step 6: Editing. Though filming can take as long as 5 hours, I generally have about 1-2 1/2 hours of footage for each episode, because when there’s nothing going on but waiting, I’ll turn the camera off. It takes at least an hour or two to go through all of that footage, and then a little longer to actually edit it into something coherent. Then I’ll play the rough cut of the episode with Ellen and Colton, they’ll give me feedback, and I’ll reedit and finalize.
Step 7: Uploading. Lately we’ve been uploading episodes 2-3 weeks after they’ve been filmed, because we managed to crank out a bunch of episodes towards the end of January. Actually uploading the episodes takes between ten minutes and two hours, depending on the internet connection.
Whew! So there. That’s basically what goes into each Cooking with Gandalf episode. It’s an awful lot of work, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that it’s absolutely worth it.