It’s called the magic of the movies, but a lot of the tricks of the trade in Hollywood are deceptively simple.
This is especially the case when it comes to filming eating scenes, as one TikToker has revealed in a viral video.
Pretty much every film you’ve ever watched involves a character eating or drinking something. It’s so ordinary you’ve might never have given it a second thought. But with most scenes requiring multiple takes, if an actor was to chow down on a whole burger or down a full pint each time, things would quickly get pretty unsustainable.
So what’s the solution? According to David Ma, it’s actually pretty simple. In most blockbusters, actors don’t actually eat the food that they’re eating.
Using examples from a few well known films, Ma illustrates his explanation, revealing that when filming eating scenes, the camera simply cuts from the actor before they swallow the food, allowing them to go through the motions of biting and chewing before then quickly spitting it out into a nearby bucket.
It happens in Moneyball, where the shot cuts before Brad Pitt swallows the hot dog he’s just crammed into his mouth, and in the Fast and Furious movies, where multiple characters swig beer without actually drinking it thanks to a series of fast cuts.
It’s even the case in one of cinema’s most iconic scenes, with Ma pointing out the various cuts in the Pulp Fiction diner scene that let Mia and Vincent eat their burger and $5 dollar shake without Uma Thurman and John Travolta having to themselves.
Picturing some poor assistant following Brad Pitt around with a bucket full of half-chewed food probably isn’t what directors want views to take away from their films, but now you know, you’ll be spotting the clever trick everywhere.