Friday, November 6, 2015

MBC's 360° VR video "Shine or Go Crazy" (빛나거나 미치거나 VR), and more 360 VR fun!


Here's a pretty cool follow-up on Korean 360° VR videos. A few months back I had read over on the K-Bizwire that MBC was producing a virtual reality Korean historical drama.
SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – MBC has announced that it will produce an action drama based on virtual reality (VR), and reveal it on September 5.
The drama ‘Shine or go Crazy VR’ is an offshoot of ‘Shine or go Crazy’, which was aired early this year, starring Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon-seo. The story will be the same, but the program was shot in a way that will make viewers feel like they are actually in the drama. [Korea Bizwire | MBC Produces Virtual Action Drama]

Still shot from the 3-D 360° VR version of "Shine or Go Crazy"

I don't know anything about this "Shine or Go Crazy" and I'm not a big fan of Korean historical dramas, or Korean dramas at all, but I'm a sucker for 360° videos, and as far as I can tell nobody has written up anything in English about it since that Bizwire piece, so I'll give it a look here. I just so happen to have a Google Cardboard viewer which you can get on G-market for under 5,000원 for a cheap one.

MBC has their own Android app [Google Play | MBC VR] that features some of their VR content, but I don't recommend downloading it. It says that it's compatible with both Google Cardboard and some knockoff called PAPER360 but honestly I couldn't get the focus right with my Cardboard. Additionally, it requires you to download the viewing file first, and the full 7-minute clip of "Shine or Go Crazy" is over 400MB. Don't bother with the app then, when all of the content currently in the app is available on MBC's VR YouTube channel for convenient streaming.

I'll embed the full 7-minute clip below, or you can click here.


Note that there is about a minute of introduction, during which your "VR" experience will turn into presentation mode, where you'll feel like you're just looking at a screen in a movie theater because turning your head will only show blackness around the screen. Just let it play, and the full 360° immersion will start. The nice thing of having it stream from YouTube is that even without an actual Cardboard viewer, you can still get the 360° experience by moving the phone around.

(Spoiler alert) The "story" is basically just some action fighting scenes, including some guy getting thrown into a river then some ghost princess fighting two men. Sorry, I don't care enough about the plot to research it. I found myself looking around at the old Korean architecture to my top-left while the martial arts were going on to the right. At the end there's an explosion and someone comes and stabs you. (End spoilers*) Again, the interesting thing here is probably not the plot, but the lovely immersive scenery.

[*Did I really just put a spoiler warning on this? On this? I always told myself that when I start taking this blog too seriously I'd shut it down. Cool off, bud. You're getting dangerously close to adding "kimchi" or "Seoul/soul" to the title. ]

If I've got my facts straight, it looks like the company that produced this is a start-up called "mooovr" (not "moo V.R." but "moo-ver/mover/무버"... somebody needs to do something about these names), and here's a shot from their Instagram of them filming these scenes:



Mooovr has a variety of other 360 VR videos over on their YouTube channel which all worked fine in my Cardboard, including one of the roller-coaster at Seoul Grand Park and a, um, eye-catching VR performance of K-pop girl group Stellar's "Marionette", which is pretty hot even in 2-D. You know, if you go for the whole girls-dancing-in-underwear thing, which you know you do.

And speaking of which, you know what that means. As I wrote about before, Bambino, the group now famous for that viral gyrating no-panty GIF, was first to this brave new world*Stellar now joins Bambino as the two K-pop world leaders in sexy 360° VR entertainment. You know what the next step is, guys. You always thought it would be Japan that brings us immersive VR pornography, but I'm putting my faith in Team Korea here. President Park has always said that the creative economy will be Korea's biggest growth engine. You can bet that 3-D, 360° VR "entertainment" like this that "grows" my "engine" will be the real economic bonanza. Don't believe me? Check out the 2:12 mark in this video. Or better yet, check out the entire concept of this video. I'm telling you, it's just around the corner.

[*Technically the girl group Laysha, who just made headlines yesterday for a particularly raunchy performance, had a VR video released earlier this year, but we have to draw the line somewhere. A few girls dancing in VR does not a K-pop act make. So for me, although the line is thin, I'd say Laysha are still in "amateur" territory while groups like Stellar and Bambino are more well-known, bearing in mind that "well known" is a relative term. Now if you want legitimately well-known, I'd have to say the boy-group Infinite, releasing their own 360 video back in July, which was even featured by Google.]
So keep an eye on these YouTube channels, and keep your Cardboard VR viewer handy. Last time I looked at this topic, there were no more than 5~10 Korea-related VR videos on the 'Tube. Take a look now and you'll see how explosive this niche has become.

YouTube Channel Review:

YouTube - MBC VR
YouTube - mooovr
YouTube - 베레스트(Verest) 360 VR

Happy 360 VR viewing, and remember to keep both hands firmly on the 3-D viewer headset, wink wink.

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