Interview: Behind the Scenes with YouTube’s Binging with Babish
We talked to Binging with Babish’s Andrew Rea about shooting his web series and reaching 1 Million YouTube Subscribers.
All images via Andrew Rea/Binging With Babish.
One of my absolute favorite YouTube channels is Binging with Babish, a cooking show dedicated to recreating dishes from television shows and movies. Each week, the series tackles a new dish. The show’s success is due to many factors, like consistent quality, mouthwatering food, good humor, and a rabid community fanbase.
I reached out to Andrew Rea (aka Oliver Babish) to learn more about his successful YouTube series.
PremiumBeat: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you? Where are you from?
Andrew Rea: My name is Andrew Rea. I’m a YouTube creator from Rochester, NY, now living in Harlem. I shoot, edit, and star in a weekly cooking show called Binging with Babish, where I endeavor to accurately recreate foods from movies and television.
PB: What is your background? Can you talk about some of your previous jobs, and have you gone full-time as a YouTube creator?
AR: For the past seven years, I worked as an Autodesk Flame artist at SwitchFX, a boutique commercial finishing house. Before that, I interned and worked part-time gigs to grow my knowledge of the post-production world. I attended Hofstra University, where I majored in Film Studies and Production — all the while, my passion for cooking remained an insatiable hobby. I’ve since made the channel my full-time career.
PB: So you have more of a production background?
AR: I have more of a background in film than food. I don’t have any formal culinary training, but have fifteen years of neurotic self-teaching under my belt. I got a chef’s knife and whisk tattoo on my forearm about five years ago — before I was a halfway decent cook — as a way to “hold myself hostage” into becoming a better one.
PB: Who is Oliver Babish?
AR: Oliver Babish is an ancillary character from The West Wing, portrayed by Oliver Platt. I was trying to come up with a fun Reddit handle, and liked the idea of an obscure character name that’d give me an inside joke with other West Wing fanatics. My show, which was intended just for Reddit and just for one episode, was named arbitrarily after my handle, and now I’m kinda stuck with it! I’m hoping Oliver Platt hits me up one day.
PB: So that’s how you started the YouTube channel?
AR: I started the channel almost by accident — I had bought a camera and a light to do some freelance interview work, and decided to experiment with food photography. I realized I had a good setup for a show, and decided to make one episode for fun. People responded positively, I kept making it, and it kept growing — now I’m lucky enough to have made it my full-time job!
PB: Where do you go to find inspiration for new videos?
AR: For the most part, I go to my audience for inspiration. I’m constantly getting comments about what viewers want to see recreated on my show. I’ve put a huge effort into constantly and reliably interacting with my audience, and I think it’s been helpful in the growth of my channel — both in building a fanbase and finding new ideas I hadn’t considered!
PB: Can you tell us about the gear you use to shoot each episode?
AR: I shoot on a Sony a7S with a Zeiss 35mm 2.8 — I’ve got a single Aputure LS 1c, a reflector, and a little bargain LED panel to fill on the bar. (Revealed in the video below, Rea also uses an Atomos Ninja Flame monitor/recorder.)
Special thanks to Andrew Rea. I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel, and supporting his page if you are a fan. For more on Binging with Babish, check out these pages and sites.
Binging with Babish:
The latest episode of Binging with Babish celebrates his 1 Million Subscriber mark with a behind-the-scenes tour of his apartment/studio. You can watch the whole episode here.
If you are a YouTube creator yourself looking to grow you channel, here are some great resources.
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Let us know how you’ve grown your own channel in the comments.