Infiltrating North Korea Part 17: Video Tour of Pyongyang Highlights


I was a bit concerned bringing my camcorder into North Korea because I had read that zoom lenses 10X and higher were prohibited in the country. No one checked my camera on the way in, however, and I was therefore able to use my zoom throughout North Korea.

I had specifically purchased the camcorder to film the Mass Games, but ended up spending much of the trip filming simple panorama shots of downtown Pyongyang and some of the tourist sites we visited. This would have been horribly boring in most any other city, but Pyongyang is so very unique and such a rare sight, that my urban footage was some of my most interesting–at least, in my opinion.

And so today, we wind down the series (just two more posts!) with a short video collage of some of the more memorable landmarks we encountered during our stay in the North Korean capital.
The video starts with some karaoke we enjoyed one night after dinner. We then move on to a 360 degree shot of downtown Pyongyang that highlights the Arc of Triumph, the Ryugyong Hotel, the Kim Il Sung Stadium and a massive mosaic picturing Kim Il Sung addressing the masses.

We get a much closer view of the Ryugyong Hotel in the next clip which also features the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, the city’s cylindrical ice rink, and a very long line for the bus.

And then it’s below ground to check out the extravagant, art-filled metro and wonder if the commuters are actual commuters, or simply actors pretending that the subway works.

We wrap up the video with the grandiose entranceway to the People’s Study Hall in Pyongyang that’s dominated by a massive statue of Kim Il Sung–and yes, our guides bowed deeply to the marble edifice upon entering the room. The shot immediately following is of the main lobby just up a nearby escalator where Kim Jong Il makes a smiling, Cheshire-cat appearance in an oil painting hanging on the wall. And then, finally, we fade out with the classic photos found at the front of every classroom in the Study Hall.

And that’s it. Although my cinematography skills leave a lot to be desired (it’s a new camera, folks!) I do hope that this short video has painted a much clearer picture of the world’s most mysterious and reclusive capital.

Yesterday: A Sunday Drive through Pyongyang
Tomorrow: A Tale of Two Cities