SEOUL, South Korea Oct. 28, 2010 -- A music video entirely shot on iPhone's 4 model has stepped into the limelight while the Korean mobile phone industry moves fast towards a smartphone-oriented market.
The successful debut of song "Garosu-gil" is an example of how Koreans living in the world's most wired nation could utilize and market their products digitally without spending big bucks on gear and agents.
"My songs are targeted at middle-aged listeners, a steady but not so popular market. It's been tough," said Yang Jin-Seok, 45, a celebrity known for his multiple talents as a singer and an accomplished architect.
In an ailing global music industry where revenues suffered a decline for the 10th year in 2009, the challenge he faced was even worse as the Korean music industry is dominated by teenage idol groups and their trendy dance music.
Yang's miracle started on Twitter when he began to tweet ideas for the song's debut. Thanks to an amazingly accessible wireless broadband service nationwide, Korea is where people tweet, watch morning news live, and trade stocks real time on a high-speed bullet train.
Replies flew back instantly from his 9,000 followers and among them were a group of friends who pondered the idea of shooting the music video with the then upcoming iPhone 4.
"It all started as a joke," recalled Wonsuk Chin, an American independent film director of "Too Tired to Die" and "e-dreams." At the time Chin says his friends in the United States were marveling over the video quality. "We said why not? I wanted to check out what it could do and push the limits."
Another Twitter friend Hyeon-Gil Cho who runs a popular entertainment production company joined the group suggesting locations and actors. "The excitement here was that the entire staff was volunteers. We were all early adaptors who were simply curious about what this new technology could do," said Cho, CEO of H-Plus Communication.
Three days after iPhone 4 came into the market, Yang and his volunteers were shooting "Garosu-gil," a name of a road in Seoul's chic artistic neighborhood. The song is about a man recollecting memories of Garosu Street he had shared with his past girlfriend.
"We had one day to shoot, but many questions and doubts," said Chin.
Music Video Shot With iPhone 4 Is a Hit
The team immediately tweeted questions like how the camera could be kept from shaking or who has an old record player and beeper to lend for the shoot. The volunteer staff combined had tens of thousands of followers and some followers who were nearby at the time immediately sent over gadgets and other items needed for the shoot.
"It was an amazing teamwork of tweeting friends," said Chin with a wide grin.
Taking up on one of the suggestions from followers, he ended up mounting the iPhone on a baby stroller to steady moving shots. He also attached it to the steel leg of flexible desk lamp for effective zoom techniques.
Yang and Chin kept their curious followers informed even while editing. "Frozen dumplings are my new best friend," tweeted Chin as he was editing overnight. His followers cheered him on and he posted pictures of his editing suite. Yang constantly tweeted his plans and dates to upload the edited version on Youtube and Gom TV, the largest video-sharing Korean website.
Thanks to tens of thousands of retweets which some Korean newspapers picked up to report in their news, the debut of "Garosu-gil" shot on iPhone 4 scored more than 100,000 hits on the first day. "That's huge. A very unusual phenomenon for a non-idol singer," said Eugene Choi, public relations manager at Gom TV.
"People who tweet and use smartphones have progressive minds and they love innovative attempts," said Yang with a smile. "It was all about who's first and who's the most tech-savvy. In that sense, I think I hit the right spot."
Woo-Kyung Chloe Jung and Yijeong Lee contributed to this report