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Director Chin Wonsuk strikes perfect balance with 992 tribute to Jobs

Chin Wonsuk, Steve Jobs, New Balance, 992, iphone 4s, Macworld

SouthKoreanfilm-makerChinWonsukwowedMacworldwith992, his tribute to Steve Jobs. Photo:

South Korean director Chin Wonsuk has posted his latest film, 992, a tribute to Steve Jobs, on YouTube on what would have been the former Apple CEO’s 57th birthday.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out – 992 caused a mini sensation when premiered recently at Macworld | iWorld 2012 in San Francisco.

Chin’s 13-minute short (below) is named after the New Balance trainers worn by Jobs, along with his trademark, black, Issey Miyake turtlenecks and Levi jeans. Not only was 992 filmed on an iPhone 4S; it was screened on the same stage from where Jobs launched countless Apple products. A fact not lost on the thousands of Macworld delegates.


992 stars LeeYoon-ji and KimEui-sung and was filmed over two days. It is the story of an Apple ‘fanboy’, partly based on Chin, who decides to dress as Jobs for a Halloween party after being invited by a girl he randomly meets in a cafe.

The guy finds the specs, black turtleneck sweater and Levis but has a problem tracking down a pair of 992s in Seoul to complete ‘the look’.

It is a comical take on the Apple ‘fanboy’ phenomenon and is well written and beautifully shot. It will also enhance Chin’s reputation as an exciting film-maker– and savvy marketeer and producer. He raised half of the $10,000 production budget through crowd-funding and recruited 20 extras for the Halloween party scene via Facebook. He also managed to blag a pair of 992s from New Balance Korea.

Chin studied French Literature at Seoul’s prestigious Yonsei University, continuing his studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

He worked with Park Chan-wookon his iPhone 4 film Paranmanjang, which made him realize the potential of the iPhone 4 as a film-making tool. Chin also shot South Korea’s first music video on the iPhone 4 for singer Yang Jinseok, which became a hit on YouTube and was featured on ABC News.



I caught up with Chin after the Macworld screening, which was part of the iPhone Film Festival, and later emailed him the following questions for this article.

You seem very comfortable working with the iPhone 4, and the results have been impressive — 992, and the music video — what are the advantages and disadvantages of filming on an iPhone?

I shot the music video with an iPhone 4 and 992 on an iPhone 4S. The 4S is a vast improvement over the 4. I felt comfortable using a DSLR lens attached to the phone. For the music video, I didn’t have the luxury. Also I had no idea what I was doing. We had no idea there were iPhone-specific devices for shooting or apps like almost DSLR. I had to use a pram for a dolly shot. But as they say, it’s all about the result. The obvious advantages are the mobility and accessibility? As for the disadvantages, it’s after all a phone with a great camera. Not the other way around. But it keeps getting better so I’m looking forward to what it can do next.


What is your next project and will you be using the iPhone?

I have a few features in development. One is a big creature movie. I don’t think the potential investors would let us use the iPhone.  But I am working on a few smaller features one of which I’m thinking about shooting with either a DSLR camera or even an iPhone. I know the quality of an iPhone camera is such that it could be projected on the big screen but it will have to make sense aesthetically and financially. But I will continue making short films or small videos for the web and using an iPhone would make total sense.


South Korean film-makers have a reputation for being innovative and original, what is the state of the domestic film industry?

I don’t think it’s just limited to the film industry. There’s some innovation going on but the infrastructure needs to be improved. We still rely on theatrical (up to 80% of the total revenue) and the DVD market never took off. The good news is we have the world’s best high-speed broad band and there’s a huge potential for the online market. The online piracy is still a huge problem. Once it gets corrected, we’ll have a huge upside.


How important a role has digital technology played in the South Korean film industry?

Korean film-makers are willing to adapt to the new technology and they have been doing so for some time. To compete against Hollywood, you have to, as simple as that. I am seeing some real innovation and change here and I’m looking forward to the future.


Who are your influences?

I have so many. My heroes are from a distant past — like Billy Wilder, Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock, but their films never seem so ancient. No matter what technology is used, it’s about the story you’re telling. That was my approach to 992. After all, the audience doesn’t care what it was shot on. It’s about the emotional experience.


Now Jobs has gone do you think Apple will be as innovative?

I don’t know. Someone said, when Jobs passed away, it’s a huge loss for Apple. But I think it’s a huge loss for the tech industry overall. I do hope his philosophy and legacy will go on at Apple.


Any advice to young film-makers?

See many films. Many classics. The best films were made 50, 60 years ago. Then, if you don’t know anyone in Hollywood, pick up your smartphone or DSLR camera and start shooting. You’ll know then if you’re cut out to be a film-maker or not.




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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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