Chuck Studios shows off the custom rigs it builds to get crazy food shots for advertising

The agency celebrates its elaborate practical effects in a photo exhibit in an Amsterdam restaurant

Published On
May 02, 2023
A contraption designed to create a wave of orange juice

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Food photography is a wild mix of art and science. Now, Chuck Studios is taking you behind the scenes of some of its most eye-catching shots—and showing the custom-built rigs that made them possible.

For example, we’ve all seen a “burger drop” in a commercial—a shot where all the layers of a burger fall from above and land together together perfectly. That’s not CGI. It requires a unique rig. The one below was built by Willem Vrederick van Haeren, SFX supervisor at Chuck Studios:

Chuck Studios' "Burger Drop" food photography rig

Kristy Snell, creative director, photographed the shot itself, seen here:

Chuck Studios' "Burger Drop" food shot

Chuck Studios makes many such rigs, and it’s celebrating them in a unique exhibit at a restaurant in Amsterdam called Pllek. Photographs of the rigs are mounted on the eatery’s walls, with QR codes leading to the Chuck site, where short videos show the resulting food shots.

“People think we rely on CGI or other visual effects, but the opposite is true,” said Snell. “We want to do everything for real, so we combine old-school mechanical technology with a new-age focus, which results in images that feel genuine and look realistic. The spectrum between careful preparation and magic—that’s the sweet spot of Chuck Studios.” 

Here’s a rig that creates a wave of orange juice:

Chuck Studios' "The Wave" food photography rig

Chuck Studios' "The Wave" food shot

“We aim to depend on luck as little as possible,” said Snell. “We create a setting in which ‘lucky accidents’ occur. By combining this with the correct lighting and of course the most beautiful ingredients, we orchestrate beautiful choreography time and time again. By working with all of our technology, behind the camera, we saw that it had its own beauty and decided to proudly show that to the public with this exhibit.”

Here’s a rig that throws bacon into the air:

Chuck Studios' "Bacon Playground" food photography rig

Chuck Studios' "Bacon Playground" food shot

See more of Chuck Studios’ work in its SFX showreel. The free exhibition consists of nine images in all. It is open at Pllek until the end of June at Pllek in Amsterdam Noord, T.T. Neveritaweg, 58, 1033 WB Amsterdam.


May 02, 2023
Agency :
Chuck Studios

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