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What It’s Really Like To Make K-pop MVs, According To This Top SK Prod Company

Ever wondered how your favorite K-pop MVs were made?
IMAGE YOUTUBE/THE KOREA TIMES, YOUTUBE/SMTOWN, YOUTUBE/BIG HIT LABELS, BIGHIT ENTERTAINMENT, SM ENTERTAINMENT

If you’re a K-pop fan, then you’ll know that music videos play a huuuge role in the industry. No wonder the views of K-pop music videos reach billions—from the concept, the sets, down to the outfits every idol wears in all the different scenes, music videos are on a whole ‘nother level in K-pop. Which is why companies invest a lot of moolah in the making of every MV. Aside from elaborate set designs (green screen who?), plenty of camera work is also vital in shooting each MV scene. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a music video director for K-pop? Well, it’s not an easy job at all.

In an interview with The Korea Times, South Korean video production company Zanybros—founded in 2001 by Hong Won-Ki and Kim Jun-Hong—shared the behind-the-scenes of working on music videos with big names in K-pop.

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Hong Won-Ki and Kim Jun-Hong have worked with the likes of TVXQ, BTS, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, EXO, MAMAMOO, Pentagon, KARD, (G)-IDLE, and GFRIEND, among many others. It's safe to say that they already know the drill when it comes to making K-pop MVs. In the interview, the two shared a snippet of what the ~videographer~ life is like.

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There are different teams involved.

Because MVs are a big deal, shooting for one often involves a big production composed of different teams--filming, directing, editing, CG, color grading, and producing, CEO Kim Jun-Hong shares. It's not just one person and one team, and it's not just done in one go. They follow a system divided into three major parts: pre-production, production, and post-production. 

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Planning, or the pre-production, will usually take one whole week, while the actual filming will take around one to two days. The post-production process takes the longest, lasting for up to about two weeks. In total, one music video for a three-minute or so song will take almost a month to produce.

It involves carrying SUPER heavy equipment.

It's no joke to be shooting music videos for K-pop, seeing as majority of it involves elaborate and extremely creative scenes that would need high-quality equipment. "If it doesn't look like a gift set, it cannot be dubbed a K-pop MV," they share. And to achieve that gift set-like vibe, they use a specialized type of camera that's worth around the same price as a car. 

Aside from carrying super heavy cameras and capturing creatively angled shots, they'd need to be aware of things around them to avoid tripping and consequently dropping the expensive equipment. 

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Sleep is a foreign concept.

Shooting for one music video is no joke. Imagine how your schedule would look if you're doing it for different clients. "I once stayed awake for 15 days," Hong Won-Ki confesses in the interview. Hopping from one shoot to another is what a typical week in the life of a MV videographer would look like, and sleep is most often not part of the equation. If you're hoping to be a videographer for K-pop music videos one day, the fellows at Zanbyros would suggest you develop one thing: "The entire process requires endurance."

Watch the entire interview here:

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Mylene Mendoza
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