CJ ENM is set to promote ‘virtual production’ including the production of realistic content in a virtual environment and an entire range of real-time visual effect technologies.
On the 16th, CJ ENM announced its plans to strengthen virtual production including the completion of the largest virtual studio in Korea by the end of the year and the execution of a business agreement with Epic Games, a world-class game and game engine developer, on the licensing of next-generation immersive content production technology.
CJ ENM’s Contents R&D Center, made up of video technology experts and IP research personnel, oversees the discovery of original materials and the support of the production of broadcasts and movies using innovative, immersive technologies such as VFX and XR. To start producing next-generation immersive content, CJ ENM Content World located in Paju will open a ‘virtual production studio’ with a size of 1,653 square meters equipped with large LED panels and in-camera VFX equipment before the end of this year.
Unlike the existing green screen, which takes a lot of time for separate post-production after filming, in the virtual production studio, directors can project 3D backgrounds in real time on the extra-large LED wall and film the actors and the backgrounds at the same time, so that they can check the final screen immediately on the spot, allowing a more vivid sense of reality in a flexible film production environment. Another advantage is that it can efficiently save time and money while maximizing the creativity of the scenario to increase originality and completeness. CJ ENM plans to use virtual production in not only its dramas and movies but also its various immersive contents such as entertainment shows and XR performances.
In addition, CJ ENM has signed a business agreement with Epic Games, which has real-time rendering technology, to accelerate the production of world-class high-quality immersive content by integrating the 3D creation platform ‘Unreal Engine.’ 'Unreal Engine' developed by Epic Games, the maker of the world-famous game 'Fortnite,' started as the core software used in video games. Currently, it is evaluated as having the industry's highest level of technology with optimized graphic performance, expressiveness, and stability for real-time interactive content development not only in games but also in movies, broadcasts, and live events. The combination of CJ ENM's content IP and production expertise and Hollywood's latest immersive technology is expected to create various global hits that can match <Guardian: The Lonely and Great God>, <Memories of the Alhambra>, <Hotel Del Luna>, and <The Uncanny Counter>.
Virtual production using LED walls has recently begun to attract attention since it has been widely used in the production of popular Hollywood movies. It has emerged as a next-generation immersive technology as it was used in sci-fi genres that required an elevated level of expression, such as Disney Plus' <The Mandalorian>, which won the Emmy Award for special visual effects last year, Netflix's <The Midnight Sky>, and HBO’s <Westworld>.
Kim Sang-yeop, director of CJ ENM Contents R&D Center, said, “We will present the infinite possibilities including digital innovation of K-content through virtual production,” noting. “We will strengthen our competitiveness in the global entertainment market through continued investment and cooperation in R&D for the production of original and high-quality immersive content.”
Meanwhile, CJ ENM has been leading the next-generation trends of the entertainment industry by developing various digital businesses that combine entertainment and IT. Last year, the company held non-face-to-face events such as 'KCONTACT' and 'MAMA' while introducing immersive content that combined XR and volumetric technologies, attracting industrywide attention. In January, CJ ENM announced that it would establish a joint venture with NCSoft within the year to promote a business that combines IT technology and content, such as building an entertainment platform, artificial intelligence, motion capture, and character scanning. Recently, with the Mnet AI music project <Once Again>, the company tapped into AI technology to reproduce the stages of the late Turtleman and Kim Hyun-sik, which drew keen attention.