BBGun’s Greatest Music Videos [Director’s Cut]

Published in the September 2010 issue of XXL, which hits newsstands August 10!!!

All it takes is one shot. Just ask the New York–based film company BBGun, which consists of co-directors Maxim Bohichik, 26, and Alex Bergman, 24. Bohichik, a Columbus, Ohio–born Syracuse University graduate, first met New Orleans native Bergman in early 2008, while hiring for his documentary on N.Y.’s independent-music scene (the film was never completed). After interviewing Cleveland rapper and Brooklyn resident Kid Cudi, the duo shot his “Day ’N’ Nite (Crookers Remix)” video. Since then, BBGun have expanded their portfolio to include album trailers (Fabolous’s Loso’s Way) and creative viral shorts (Busta Rhymes’s Busta TV series). Their freshest works, though, have been one-take music videos for Asher Roth (“Muddy Swim Trunks”) and J. Cole (“Who Dat”), as well as the gritty multitake clip for The Roots’ “How I Got Over.” It’s time to put these cinematic marksmen in XXL’s targets.

ON UTILIZING THE ONE-TAKE FORMAT
Bergman: When a video is chopped up really fast, you end up seeing the same locations over and over again. You have no reason to continue on for four minutes, especially in our ADD, YouTube generation. If you don’t cut, [it’s like,] “When’s this going to stop?” The viewer does not know when to change the channel. It’s almost like hypnotism.

ON BEING COST-EFFICIENT
Bergman: Generally, when you’re cutting like crazy, you have to shoot 10 to 20 times more than is actually gonna go in the video… With one-shot, we shoot one can of film, and we’re golden. Versus having to process 20,000 feet, we only process 400.

ON HANDLING RAPPERS’ PERSONALITIES
Bohichik: [Busta Rhymes] is super serious and pretty intimidating. We hand him the script [for Busta TV], and it’s dead silent in the room. [Then] we call “action,” and he just turned into this completely animated, high-energy [performer]… We cut, and Alex [says], “That was great, Busta, but can we try it with a little more energy?” That broke the ice. We started having some vodka, and it [became] really fun. —Jesse Gissen

Check out some of BBGun’s work.

ASHER ROTH “MUDDY SWIM TRUNKS”

J. COLE “WHO DAT”

THE ROOTS’ “HOW I GOT OVER”