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Children react to foods' First Taste

The First Taste captures in reactions of a group of children trying certain foods for the first time. Vision courtesy TEDx 2013

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It was the video that captured those moments we've all encountered and, one hopes, still encounter, even if our adult selves have learnt to restrain an outwards show of disgust, surprise, confusion or rapture.

Screened at the TEDxSydney conference on Saturday The First Taste captures in delightfully slow motion the unfettered reactions of a group of children trying foods such as anchovy, Vegemite and olives for the first time.

Matt Gilmour, creative director at marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi, says the inspiration for the film came from his two-year-old daughter, whose bewildered disappointment at a gherkin features towards the end of the film.

Olives
If you can make it through the first few seconds .... Photo: Supplied

“Every time she tries something new, just the stupid faces she pulls,” Gilmour says.

“It's funny how raw a child's reaction to something is. There's no filter. It's just really physical and that's what I love about it.”

Intended as “a kind of mental sorbet” to clear audience members' minds between speakers, Gilmour says he set out “to create something that would be memorable in its own right but also wouldn't mean people would have to think too much”.

olives
... olives can deliver an astonishing result. Photo: Supplied

The First Taste cinematographer, Hugh Miller, said one of the challenges was creating a space bright enough to shoot in super-slow motion, but which wouldn't frighten or intimidate the children.

“All the young kids were filmed at 500 frames per second so every single moment is magnified at a frame rate that's normally only used for scientific purposes,” Miller says.

The solution was a purpose-built room where the lights could be hidden in the ceiling.

“We had about 20,000 watts of light shining on them . . . but you couldn't actually see any lights. It all came through this diffuse ceiling,” Miller says. “It was like walking into a really bright room.”

To encourage the children to make eye contact with the camera, the crew used an autocue device at the front of the lens which played back the images being filmed.

“Sometimes in the film you see the kids looking at the camera but actually they're looking at their own reaction,” Miller says.

The team behind the two-and-a-half-minute film were mostly volunteers. The children, aged between one and six, were recruited through family and friends, Gilmour says.

“It was great to be in the crowd and see the reactions of everyone viewing it,” he says.

“The word would come up [telling you what the food was] and people would be ooh-ing and aah-ing, waiting for the reaction.”