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17 Videos and 80 stills For Dan Goldberg’s Project With Kamodo Joe

Translating a brand’s vision from concept meetings to final product is a challenge our photographers and directors constantly work to achieve. Kamado Joe, a grill brand, wanted someone who captured the adventurous spirit of its customers while maintaining the integrity of the food involved. Enter Dan Goldberg. Dan, whose lifelong goal is to tell unpretentious narratives through photography, has traveled the world in search of culinary experiences of all kinds, from Michelin star restaurants to back alleys and hole-in-the-wall joints. And with a professional background as a sous chef, Dan fulfilled the client’s prerequisites. 

On set, Dan was able to deliver what the brand wanted. And not only did he shoot stills and direct motion, he wanted to see the project from start to finish so took on editing. Using his studio and collaborating with his crew to make it happen, Dan oversaw all aspects of the editing process from finding the right voiceover actor to incorporating music that elevated the motion. Read on to hear about the good, the blizzard, and the unexpected, and how Dan and his team came up with creative solutions to deliver to the client.

"For this project we did everything. We sourced an editor, the perfect voice over actor and the selected music. Not only does it give us creative control, but the I want the client to know that they can come to us as a one stop shop. It makes the work better and more cohesive and at a more affordable price point." -Dan Goldberg

How did your experience as a sous chef help you on this project?

Working in kitchens and as a sous chef teaches you to always stay on your toes. We originally planned to shoot this outside because the product is a hot charcoal grill. We were going to style our parking lot as a backyard, however, in a classic Chicago way, we realized a blizzard was to be expected that week. So we worked with a special effects team, food stylists, prop styling team, producer and DP to make this happen inside the studio. We needed the food to be hot since it was a video, so to do that safely we made a huge vent hood over the stove and used flexible duct work from our fry kitchen in the studio to vent it to the outside. We cooked all week, in the middle of a blizzard…with a good amount of fire extinguishers nearby for good measure.

Other than a blizzard thwarting your plans, what was a memorable moment from this project? 

We wanted to shoot a good amount of B roll for this project and wanted to do so in a real market setting. We got to go to Paulina Market, one of my favorite markets in Chicago, before they opened to shoot for an hour or two. It was lit very simply with only one light source and a small crew. The point of this was to show the elements of what goes into making a great dish and the type of care that goes into where we get our food from. I really liked this idea and think that this out of the studio portion accomplished that.

How did you work through shooting both motion and stills?

We were able to shoot motion one week and stills a few weeks later. I really liked this because I could completely focus on the motion and how the camera was going to move and how the light would work. It felt that since I could put all my focus into directing that I came up with more creative ideas to show off the unique elements of the grill, like the temperature gauge. We stuck a torch right behind the temperature gauge and shot the time lapse. Being able to only focus on shooting motion apart from stills helped me come up with clever ideas. 

What did you learn from this project?

That you always need a plan A, plan B and plan C, especially in Chicago in the middle of winter. Although the shoot didn’t go as we originally planned, I am proud of the solutions we came up with and in turn, the final images and motion.

What do you want people to take away about you and your work after seeing this?

That I enjoy directing from beginning to end. From getting involved in the creative and pre-production, to post production. For this project we did everything. We sourced an editor, the perfect voice over actor and the selected music. Not only does it give us creative control, but the I want the client to know that they can come to us as a one stop shop. It makes the work better and more cohesive and at a more affordable price point. I love the creative crew I have on hand and want to offer that up to clients as much as possible.

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Follow Dan on Instagram for more unpretentious narratives with food and gathering at the center.