How To: Vienna Beef's Classic Recipes / by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

The digital world we live in provides ample opportunity for individuals - and companies - to share their diverse talents, passions, and ideas with the masses.  This type of sharing frequently comes in the form of quick and simple instructional videos. Vienna Beef recognized this trend and seized the opportunity to teach its audience how to bring Chicago food staples into the home kitchen. Enter Banner Collective and our task to create “How to Make” recipes videos for several of the Vienna Beef classics.

We set up shop at Vienna Beef’s test kitchen inside their brand new factory. The vast majority of shots were filmed at an overhead, ninety-degree camera angle.  Our Technical Director, Ryan Linich, enjoyed the challenge of building a safe and sturdy rig to make the dramatic angle possible. Constructing this particular type of rig was a first for him and the nature of the shoot provided some interesting challenges. One such obstacle was filming over a hot stove, where the cameramen were worried that the flames could potentially melt the camera. To evade any heat related incidents, employees would continually fan the space between the burners and the camera equipment with towels, taking turns as needed. This simple, but effective solution allowed for the ideal shot and worked up an appetite for testing all of the delicious hot dogs we had prepared during the shoot.


After the assembly of the dogs, we took a “beauty shot” to exemplify the aesthetic of the hot dog in a final reveal. To unveil the finished hot dogs in the most pleasant way, this was the only time the camera wasn't overhead. The angle allowed for us to use a shallow depth of field to draw the eye directly to the temptingly savory hot dog in the foreground.

A shoot as dynamic as this one demanded a group effort. Vienna Beef’s Director of Bistro Products, Jamie Mestan was our hand-model extraordinaire and chef. Her familiarity and comfort with the props and set proved vital in helping us put every puzzle piece in its right place. Ryan happily accepted the position as official taste-tester for the closing shot. With his newly gained skill set, his advice to aspiring taste-testers is to ‘pace yourself’- you may want to eat the whole product all at once, but most shots require multiple takes!

While the primary goal of the recipe series was to demonstrate how to make--and maybe even introduce--a Vienna Beef recipe, the video also aimed to remind viewers that one does not need to be a world-class chef to make the Chicago classics! The challenge was proving this notion by showing the steps in a direct manner that translated well on-camera.  We hope everyone enjoys the end results...and light up those stoves and get to cookin’!