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An Interview with Filmmaker Andrew Bui
We conducted an interview with filmmaker Andrew Bui, an editor/cinematographer based here in New Orleans. Andrew brings a unique style to all his work and demonstrates a serious propensity for quality, original visual content. His social media presence is not only impressive but also incredibly fun to follow – his work is consistent, deliberate, and very stylistic. We love working with Andrew and are excited to help share his lessons.
1) Please introduce yourself, where you’re from/operate out of, and what you do.
Hi my name is Andrew Bui, I’m a cinematographer based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
2) Tell us a bit about how you got into film – when did you start working with cameras/editing, what were some of your influences, what may have pushed your development?
I developed an interest in video at a young age watching my dad and older brother work our old VHS Camcorder, it intrigued me although I never really understood how to work the camera and wasn’t allowed to actually use it. Throughout my pre-teen years I shifted my focus away from video, it wasn’t until my last year of middle school when my parents had purchased a Sony cybershot. Whenever I got the chance I would “borrow” that camera and make the most random videos. I’d film anything from myself playing basketball to footage of me lip-syncing some of my favorite tunes.
Once I discovered YouTube I realized there was a platform to post my videos to. I’d upload these really bad videos just because, to me it was awesome that you could upload something and than tell your friend to go watch it. I started a new YouTube channel with my friend and throughout my high-school years we’d come up with ideas for sketches and film and edit them, hoping to have one of our videos potentially go viral.
Some of my influences are Ryan Connolly, Devin Graham and Phillip Bloom.
The thing that really pushed my development was when I finally committed to choosing video as a career choice. Before that I had no clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I was a kid about to graduate unsure of what career path to go down.
3) A lot of your work has a strong documentary/filmic quality to it. You have a very authentic and “guerrilla” style while still maintaining rigorous visual standards. Can you explain your look in greater detail? What do you look for in your shots and editing?
It really depends on what I’m shooting and the gear I have at my disposal and how much time do I have to pull off the shots I need, but for the most part I like to get as much coverage as possible. I like to keep things as smooth and steady as possible when it comes to camera movement and have been sorta obsessed with investing into the tools that would help me achieve this.
When it comes to editing, a lot of the content I make I upload onto instagram. Recently instagram rolled out an update which allows users to now upload videos up to one minute. Before this update users would only be allowed 15 seconds or less so every second counted. I start off all my edits by selecting a musical piece that I feel fits the overall video. From there I cut the video according to the song making sure to select the most interesting and dynamic shots.
4) A lot of productions we see try to be very “DIY,” “indie,” or “guerrilla” in their practices. In our experience, a lot of this can come off as sloppy or amateur while other times it makes productions look very grounded/innovative. Do you agree with that sentiment? If so, what would you say are some of key differences between “guerrilla” and “sloppy” filmmaking?
I definitely agree that it can be seen as either one. To me it’s always been about how the shot turns out, if it’s a great shot and you used a DIY or Guerilla technique than kudos to you.
If you’re cutting corners and not using the right equipment because you want to save on time or money and the shot turns out bad, well than that’s just sloppy filmmaking.
5) How would you describe the New Orleans film/video community?
The New Orleans Film Community is great but I’d love to see more folks collaborating on projects more often or just shooting something in general. There are a few local organizations that have screenings for filmmakers to showcase their work to a live audience and get feedback from them.
6) If you had one piece of advice for someone new to the film/video industry, what would it be?
Pick up your camera or phone and go outside atleast once a day and film something.
Don’t be afraid to try different techniques with framing and composition.
There are so many platforms to share your work now so use every available social media site to post your content.