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By using ARRI lights, VA Corporation leads South Korea’s entry into mixed reality production

ARRI lighting including Orbiter and SkyPanel behind-the-scenes of VA Corporation’s three recently unveiled mixed reality studios in South Korea.

The sudden growth of mixed reality production is changing how the film and television industry works, and Asia is quickly adapting. In South Korea, a country rapidly becoming a hotspot for international and big-budget productions, many are venturing into virtual and mixed reality technologies. Among the leaders in content production, the newly established VA Corporation recently launched its studios with a vision to create virtual business values.

“We realized and understood the need for a paradigm shift from chroma key to virtual production,” says VA Corporation’s CMO, Jeff Baek. “In the past, unforeseen elements such as bad weather and location issues made a project exceed its planned budget. The shortcomings of traditional production, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted us to pursue virtual technology as the next-generation tool for content production. With this, we aim to become a one-stop metaverse platform.”

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VA Studios located in Hanam, South Korea

VA Corporation, which stands for “Vision Above,” completed the construction of its first three studios in Hanam, South Korea within a record time of 6 months. Veteran cinematographer Woo Hyung Kim, who is also the company’s CCO, and one of the brilliant minds behind the inception of the studios, provided a breakdown of each of them.

The first studio is built with 5 meters x 5 meters of LED wall and an LED floor forming a cube. On top of the structure is a lighting truss and in front are light stands all equipped with ARRI SkyPanels and Orbiter.

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The first studio is equipped with a lighting truss, in front of which are light stands all equipped with ARRI SkyPanels and Orbiter.

Constructed with a curve-shaped LED wall, the second studio measures 14 meters in diameter and 6 meters in height with matching LED ceiling and floor. Similar to the first, ARRI lights are also installed in this stuido using a lighting truss. “Our first showreels were filmed here,” revealed Kim. “While shooting those, we created a strong sunlight with ARRI M90 by beaming the light at the gap between the led wall and ceiling. We then added the SkyPanel S360-C to create a soft fill light.”

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Shooting an airport scene in VA Studio 2 with ARRI Signature Prime lenses

Finally, the third studio, and the most advanced yet, is a 360° LED stage with a fully covered ceiling. It’s the biggest volumetric LED studio in Asia, with a diameter of approximately 20 meters. “If we need to create hard light, we simply remove certain sections of the LED wall. We have also equipped it with a lighting control platform at opposite sides of the stage. Various lighting tests have been performed here with ARRI M90 and ARRIMAX,” explains Kim.

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The 360° volumetric LED stage in VA Studio 3.

Citing the reason behind the equipment choice, he continues, “I have been using ARRI cameras and lighting equipment for a long time. They are my most trusted equipment for shooting, especially with this LED studio. All of the light fixtures are connected to the DMX console and can be controlled comfortably on the ground.”

Since their opening, the mixed reality studios have piqued the interest of the film and broadcast community, already producing content for movies, dramas, TVC, music videos, and virtual events. “It brings huge advantages to the workflow by improving production conditions. A visible filming environment on LED panels makes for better creative decisions, as well as shortened post-production corrections,” adds Baek. “Actors can perform more naturally, and filmmakers have full control over the weather, time of the day, lighting, and blocking, all while seeing the finished product in real time.”

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An outdoor scene shot in mixed reality and lit with the ARRI Orbiter.

VA Corporation is set to open two more sound stage studios, an art center, and an R&D hub. Not far behind are other industry leaders in Asia who are also kicking off their exploration into mixed reality production, and ARRI, with its recently established ARRI Solutions Group, will be closely involved to provide holistic solutions for many of these initiatives.

ARRI has made a global commitment to be at the forefront of exciting possibilities brought about by mixed reality shooting. With the establishment of global technology partnerships and regional mixed-reality testing environments, ARRI is driving the development of innovative products, workflows, and solutions forward, helping filmmakers embrace mixed reality and use it creatively.