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CJ ENM aims to become major visual content producer thru partnership with Epic Games

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 16, 2021, 15:20 Updated : February 16, 2021, 15:20

[Courtesy of Netflix]

SEOUL -- CJ ENM, the creator of the Oscar-winning 2020 film "Parasite," has kicked into full gear to become a major visual content company targeting the global market by building South Korea's largest studio that can virtually produce films and dramas using the technology of Epic Games, an American 3D game engine company.

The virtual production method utilizes various visual effects (VFX) technologies to create and film computer-generated scenes including actors and environments in real-time. The method saves time and money as filmmakers do not have to visit filming locations. It is widely used in Hollywood for the creation of movies and drama series of various genres including sci-fi, melodrama, and action-adventure.

While Hallyu (Korean cultural wave) content including K-pop, K-drama and K-film has mesmerized the global audience, the country's content production industry is still old-fashioned. Films and dramas are mainly produced by medium-sized companies that operate tiny studios.

CJ ENM said in a statement on February 16 that the company's research and development center will build a virtual production studio with light-emitting diode screens in Paju northwest of Seoul by the end of this year. "We will uncover unlimited potential and digital innovation of K-content through virtual production," CJ ENM's R&D center head Kim Sang-yeop was quoted as saying.

CJ ENM will develop content and VFX technologies including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Epic's visual content creation technology, "Unreal Engine," will be used in CJ ENM's future projects. The engine was used in the production of many Hollywood content and video games such as "The Mandalorian," a popular Star Wars franchise drama series created by Disney.

The virtual production studio is part of CJ ENM's aggressive push for content production targeting the global market. In 2019, the company and its drama-making wing Studio Dragon forged a three-year partnership with Netflix, the world's top over-the-top service operator, to create digital content.

"Sweet Home," a fantasy thriller drama series released exclusively on Netflix in December 2020, was popular. CJ ENM and Netflix are to release 21 original content by the end of 2022. Studio Dragon is co-producing the spin-off season of Kingdom, a Netflix original zombie thriller drama series.

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