From YouTube to National Film Festival: Andrew Lin ’17 Delves Deeper into Cinematography

Sitting in the Seattle International Film Festival Cinema Uptown in Seattle, WA., Andrew Lin ’17 nervously watches as his short horror film is screened in front of hundreds of other student filmmakers at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) last spring. In an interview with The Phillipian, Lin describes feeling proud as he watched the film that he co-created with Alex Emerson ’17, which focuses on a man investigating a mysterious knocking noise due to supernatural activity. Lin and Emerson actually created this film for FilmLabs during the fall of their Lower year.

“I spent most of [the NFFTY] watching other people’s stuff, so that was just exciting and cool to learn from,” said Lin. “In terms of having my film screened, I was kind of embarrassed, because the film was sort of old, and I wasn’t sure how people would react to it and if they would be scared or not.”

Lin first began making films in middle school with some of his friends. They started a YouTube channel that soon gained hundreds of subscribers. It wasn’t until he arrived at Andover, however, that he began to take filming more seriously. Lin credits working with other passionate student filmmakers and utilizing Andover’s resources for helping him grow as a filmmaker. Currently, Lin and Emerson are Co-Heads of the Andover Moviemakers Club (AMC).

“After coming [to Andover], there are a lot of talented people here as well,” Lin said. “A lot of people are interested [in film here], and it’s been great having the [Polk-Lillard Electronic Imaging Center]. They’ve been really great just to talk about [film related] stuff.…Also because I’m an international student, it’s interesting to come here and get a change of pace. The things I film now are different than what I would’ve done back then.”

Lin recently developed a passion for visual effects and motion graphics, an interest that led him to an eight-week internship this past summer at Prime Focus, a film company in London. There, he learned more about the process of converting films that shot in 2D into 3D video content.

“[This process is] essentially very similar to visual effects… In visual effects, you generally want to have an idea or be able to stimulate what’s happening in the image in order to add more stuff to it or take stuff away,” Lin said. “With 3D, it’s recreating the image so you can project it into 3D, so a lot of techniques are very similar. [During my time at Prime Focus,] I was able to do 70 shots on a film called ‘Into the Heart of the City,’ and a couple of shots for ‘The Martian,’ but I don’t think they used it.”

One of Lin’s favorite parts of his internship was watching “dailies,” a daily review of the shots that the filming team converted that day.

“It [was] really cool because [Prime Focus] has this big room in the basement, with a bunch of seats out, one
wall and a [3D] screen. They give you these 3D glasses, and you sit there and watch all the shots in 3D. It’s kind of cool, because you get to see the steps of how they’re turning it 3D,” said Lin.
In addition to his passion for visual effects and motion graphics, Lin enjoys the collaborative aspect of filming.

“By nature, you have to work with other people [in film], whether it’s behind the camera with your crew or with the people in front of the camera,” said Lin. “As a director, you’re working with actors, and you’re trying to get an emotional response out of them in order to figure out how to translate that to your audience. Basically, it’s a lot of working with people throughout, and ultimately in the end, you’re making a film ideally not just to watch by yourself, but for other people to see, too.”