What’s a K-pop MV without CGI? These days, not much. Whether known to the viewer or not, most MVs today use CGI and special effects in one way or another, but when it becomes too obvious, it can make or break a music video — and even a song.
While the MV for former Wanna One member and now-soloist Park Jihoon’s latest title track, “Gallery,” off his newest mini album My Collection, also falls into the heavily-CGI’d camp, its special effects and editing only enhance the MV and therefore the track itself.
“Gallery” is already a fun and playful song to begin with. A groovy, EDM-based track packed with funky percussive instrumentals and synths and a strong bass, the song is very much in line with this summer’s trend of retro-inspired releases. Its consistent bassline and heavy mix of instrumental layers, topped by Park Jihoon’s smooth, flirty vocals create a unique yet familiar tune that remains easy to listen to throughout.
Where the fun really comes in is with the song’s MV, which, to be expected, is literally set in a gallery. However, instead of keeping things predictable and too literal of a take on the song’s title, the MV is spiced up by playful CGI and special effects and editing techniques to take Park Jihoon’s charming persona to the next level.
The MV opens with a close-up shot of an ornamented keyhole. The camera then quickly zooms into the keyhole, revealing Park Jihoon himself inside sitting in a chair, looking around at his dark surroundings while backlit by a warm, glowing light. The camera steadily moves backward, following Jihoon in the form of a tracking shot to reveal that he is sitting inside a gallery.
This setup is of course entirely fitting, as the song itself is called “Gallery.” But what makes it even more so is that in the first few setup shots of Jihoon sitting in the chair before the camera reveals that he’s sitting inside a gallery, he’s actually posing and playing as the art itself. In the next few shots, Jihoon bikes around one particular room in the gallery filled with old sculptures, yet stands out amongst them as the camera keeps its focus on him, keeping him in the center of the frame throughout most of the MV. This matches the lyrics of the song exactly, as Jihoon refers to himself as “your own work of art” for a special someone to look at.
“Sit in a special seat
Focus on me
Don’t take your eyes off me
Spread it around
Mix it all up
Sweet honey purple love”
On top of keeping Jihoon squarely in the center of the frame of each shot throughout most of the MV, almost to the extent of something out of a Wes Anderson movie, other special effects, editing, and cinematography elements make it known that Jihoon himself is the art within the gallery. And each shot combines several of these additional elements to pose Jihoon as artwork in several different mediums and contexts.
For example, when the second verse begins, the camera zooms directly into the main painting of clouds shown within the gallery at the beginning of the MV, as it did with the keyhole, to reveal Jihoon sitting atop a white pedestal amongst the same (CGI) backdrop of clouds as in the painting. He’s wearing a blue gray suit and colored contacts to match the color of the blue sky. Because he is sitting atop a pedestal, he is almost meant to look like a sculpture, but at the same time he is also sitting within the painting shown previously. The visuals of the shot span both artistic mediums, adding to the depth and color of the track’s lyrics.
In another instance of interesting CGI and editing, when Jihoon sings the lyrics
“I’m your own work of art
Fill this empty space
With my forever roommate
Make a glowing light together,”
He, along with a second, duplicate version of himself are sat in another warmly-lit room in the gallery together. The Jihoon on the right sings the first two lines, and the other turns back and looks at him confused, then sings the next two lines back at him (including “with my forever roommate”), adding a bit of humor and even more playful charm to the MV.
On top of these special effects to emphasize that Jihoon himself is the art within the gallery Jihoon lays on the charm and takes this one step further by keeping his eyes directly on the camera throughout almost the entire MV. This emphasizes the lines in the chorus where he sings to
“Sit in a special seat
Focus on me
Don’t take your eyes off me.”
Whether Jihoon is in the middle of dancing during a choreography scene or merely singing the lyrics to the camera against the keyhole backdrop that was introduced in the MV’s first scene, his direct eye contact with the camera, and therefore the viewer, only strengthen the meaning of the song’s lyrics and create a stronger connection between his visuals and the words he sings. Perhaps his charm and flirtatiousness during this moments is a result of his recent acting gig in At a Distance, My Spring is Green. Either way, he pulls the ploy of himself being the artwork off well, adding to the song’s liveliness and easygoing vibe.
Each of the elements of Park Jihoon’s gallery, namely and fittingly its most artistic and special post-production effects, make both “Gallery” and Park Jihoon themselves exactly what they should be: true works of art.