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Vive Studios Leads South Korea’s VR Business

In the new but burgeoning virtual reality business, Vive Studios is a name that stands out in South Korea.

Established in 2003, the company has been better known for its visual effects and CGI work for other companies’ feature productions and commercials. “Volt: Chain City” was its first self-produced work. The four-minute film was invited to Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Based on Vive Studios’ web cartoon of the same title, “Volt” tells the story of a bodiless soul that embarks on a journey to save a destroyed world in which two-thirds of the entire human population has died.

“Our goal, when producing ‘Volt,’ was to start with a high-end product that no other individual or company could catch up with in a short amount of time,” says Lee Hyun-suk of Vive Studios, who is also the director of “Volt.” “I believed that VR would be the future of new media when Facebook acquired Oculus.”

The studio has so far produced a number of VR works in addition to “Volt,” including mystery “Doctor X: Pale Down” and VR documentary “The Korean Bob Sleigh Team.” The company is developing another VR action fantasy drama, “AIR.”

An important part of the Vive Studios’ business plan includes theatrical release of VR content.

“The history of VR film is not long, but there are fine works that keep coming out,” says Kim. “But I don’t want our products to be just shown on mobile platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. It is sad that high-quality content is consumed on a small screen and in noisy, unstable environments. Screening environment is very important, as it can definitely affect the audiences’ appreciation of the film.”

The company is seeking to use an indoor VR theme park in Incheon, South Korea, to start its VR theater. The park is equipped with two 4D screens that have eight seats, respectively. Vive studio’s plan is to expand them to a 200-seat screening room.

“Starting with small-scale screening rooms here and there is fine, but we still need proper, well-equipped screening facilities,” Kim told Variety. “Major exhibitors such as CJ-CGV and Lotte Cinema may soon see the need to equip their theaters with special screens for VR films.”

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