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Posted by AKP STAFF Thursday, September 8, 2011

Behind-the-scenes with 'Running Man' cameraman, Ryu Kwon Ryeol


Recently, the SBS action variety 'Running Man' has been enjoying increased popularity, thanks to the efforts of the Yoo Jae Suk-led cast and the interesting format. However, just as important as the cast are the production crew behind the scenes. Especially for cameramen / VJs (videojournalists), who have to run all day with the cast members, the 'Running Man' experience can be just as tiring, if not more. One of the VJs, Ryu Kwon Ryeol, has been drawing some attention for being Yoo Jae Suk's VJ-in-charge, and even has a fan base of his own for his brief spotlights in certain episodes. He was recently interviewed by Lady Kyunghyang about his experiences filming the hide-and-seek variety show; check it out below! -- Q: You became widely known as the "Yoo Jae Suk VJ". You must've been accustomed to being behind the camera and unfamiliar with the new attention. A: In 'Running Man', there are many times when VJs are involved in the situation and the games. After a few times being caught on camera, a few people started recognizing me when I went outside. At those times, I turn shy and don't know how to react, and become careful for no reason. There were a sudden uptick in friend requests and Twitter followers, as well. In my case, people remember my name more than my face. I once went to the amusement park, and an employee checked my I.D. and asked, "Aren't you the person who films 'Running Man'?" Q: It looks like VJs need to document carefully every action of the cast member in a 'real variety' show. How do VJs get paired with their partners? A: When I first started, I was in charge of following HaHa. But during the course of the game, everyone started moving freely so I started following Jae Suk, and I became known as the 'Yoo Jae Suk VJ' from that point. The pairings weren't decided strategically, but there are some parallels with fitness. For example, the best runner would be teamed with 'Ace' Kim Jong Kook, and the less fit would be assigned to the least active cast member or a female guest. Q: We heard that you purposely went through weight loss after becoming the 'Yoo Jae Suk' VJ. A: Jae Suk's nickname on the show is 'Yooruce Willis'. He's a fast runner so I needed to be more fit to follow him. At first, I couldn't follow him and being large, I suffered a lot of stress because I felt I was undermining the game. I also heard criticisms after becoming the focus of certain articles. Jae Suk is the lead of the show, so I was under pressure to handle my role. That was why I enrolled at a fitness center and lost weight. I lost about 7, 8 kilograms but I had a lot of work recently, so I gained a little bit. Q: It looks like VJs will become naturally friendly with their cast member after going through all situations together as a team. A: Jae Suk has a naturally friendly and caring personality so he takes care of me very well. When everyone's running around, he gives me water first. Compared to other programs, I definitely think we become more familiar with our cast members. A while ago, I couldn't attend filming thanks to my sister's wedding, and I heard that Jae Suk became very curious about it. When he heard about it later, he said "I should've sent a bouquet or something," and that made me very thankful. Q: 'Running Man' has the characteristic that VJs not only film, but collaborate with the cast members within the program. Other than getting friendly with the cast, it looks like VJs need to work hard to provide more 'real' scenes. A: I think that better results come out when I participate actively in the games. Personally, I work hard to be sympathetic to the cast. I talk to them often and provide reactions as well. When it's funny, I laugh out loud, when it's surprising, I act surprised, and generally react honestly. Q: When did you first gain interest in being a VJ? Did you have any previous experience before starting your job? A: It's been around 3 years and 6 months since I've held a camera. Since videojournalism isn't really a well-known field, and I had majored in culinary arts, so I had no idea that I would go in this direction. My father, who works in a broadcast-related position, suggested that I try this position. I didn't enjoy it much at first, but as time passed I became happier in the field. Q: It might be nice to experience new situations and work with your feet, but it looks like there may also be bad traits because of that very reason. A: There are hardships in every profession, so I don't think we work any harder than normal. However, there are difficult situation because of the weather. Although we prepare everything and double-check in advance, there are so many variables so we experience a lot of unforeseen situations. Personally, I think the weather is the hardest. It's not out of the ordinary to run around until you're dehydrated, or have frozen hands or be bitten by bugs. Last time, I had to jump into the water in early spring for a scene to be broadcast in summer. Q: But it looks like your characteristic to enjoy hard situations fits well with the job of a VJ. We look forward to the future. A: There are many amazing VJs who work not only in variety programs, but in other programs as well. Each program has their own unique style, personality, and key points, so I'm careful of being shown as if I represent all VJs. There are many better VJs and the 'first generation of VJs' are still active in the field. Although I still have much to learn, but I feel proud that my profession is gaining more attention because of me. So I promise to myself to work even harder, and explore different genres and different programs. I'd like to become a VJ who captures interesting and heartwarming scenes and gets along with the cast, no matter who I work with. Source: Lady Kyunghyang via Naver

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