‘ScreenX’ is a new innovation and driving force for the movie industry!


“Are you watching, Freddie?” , which was released on October 31, 2018, is still doing very well at the box office in the new year, and as many as 9.8 million people watched the resurrection of ‘Queen’. It is the largest number of viewers ever attracted by a musical film that was released in Korea, and seemingly more people fell in love with this movie than in the US and the UK, the birthplace of ‘Queen’. So what made this amazing fever continue for so long? There may be various reasons, but what is certain is that the ‘ScreenX’ version, which uses 3 screens, played an important role. This version, which increased immersion in the music and performances of Queen in the movie, naturally tapped into the dormant of viewers, and induced people to watch the movie a number of times. I met PD Se-gwon Kim of CJ CGV ScreenX Studio who used a new viewing format to remind us once again that we are a people who live and die for ‘excitement’.

- and ‘ScreenX’ were truly meant for each other

▲ A person whom Freddie will be thankful to in heaven, PD Se-gwon Kim of CJ CGV ScreenX Studio

ScreenX is not unfamiliar to people who frequently go to the movies. It is a special multi-screen theater that CJ CGV introduced back in 2012 for the first time in the world. The left and right walls are used as screens as well as the existing center screen. Three screens are used to project the imagery. As a result, viewers are sure to have fun watching the movie, and the messages of the director are effectively conveyed to them. People who watched the ScreenX version of must have felt its benefits with their entire body. If so, what made the fateful encounter between and ScreenX possible?
"Watching the final edition of that 20th Century Fox sent to me, I was certain that it would go well with ScreenX. So I decided to go ahead with it."
Looking at previous ScreenX movies, most of them were action blockbusters with CGI and fantastic visuals. 20th Century Fox, which already experienced ScreenX through , could not avoid having low expectations about what PD Se-gwon Kim said with determination. But he had weapons, essentially, Queen’s masterpieces that connect scenes to scenes.

▲ Queen’s masterpieces were weapons to me.

has strong dramatic elements that depicted the success, frustration and resurrection of a musician except for the 20-minute-long ‘Live Aid’ concert scene in the second half. It was difficult to find a contact point with the existing ScreenX format. But the moment he heard and saw Queen’s classics, he thought differently. He confirmed the distinct impact with his ears and eyes. He delivered his concept, specifically, turning the scenes featuring the masterpieces, which include the Live Aid concert scene, into a ScreenX version, to 20th Century Fox, and they replied that they would give it a try. He was so motivated to do something new, but what he needed to put it into action was the B roll (images that the final edition did not use). 20th Century Fox told him to go to London, UK as the editing team was not dissolved yet, and he immediately hopped on a plane to London.

- He watched the movie 30 times, and revived ‘Queen’ through 3-screen imagery and their masterpieces

▲ No matter how many times I watched , I could always find something new.

The B roll he brought from London was enough. Now the key was to watch the final edition many times, and edit the images he brought to fit ScreenX. According to him, he has to watch the final edition 30-40 times to produce the ScreenX version. That was the case with as well. He sliced the scenes to fit Queen’s music that is played, and thought about how to implement the images for each scene, and how to insert the sound, and translated his thoughts into reality. He watched the movie numerous times, and repeated this process.

"It differs from movie to movie, but perhaps because a movie is a complex form of art, it was fun to watch every time. In particular, it was really interesting to discover what looks new each time, such as the facial expressions of the characters in , props and sound."

20th Century Fox was like-minded. They really liked what they saw during the previews for interim inspection. They were really grateful that he created scenes much better than they thought. Feeling encouraged, PD Se-gwon Kim completed the ScreenX version that enhanced the viewing of .

▲ The best of , the scene of the Live Aid performance (source: Naver)

The number of Korean viewers who watched this version, created by PD Se-gwon Kim, exceeded 1 million (as of January 6). is the first movie released on ScreenX that was watched by more than 1 million people in Korea and abroad. It means that there were so many people around the world who shouted “Ayo~ Ayo~ All right!,” and jumped up and down in excitement like Freddie Mercury. The actions of addicted viewers are attributed to the 20-minute-long ‘Live Aid’ scene in the second half of the movie. The two screens to the left and right of the center screen refreshingly show the extended scenes, which is quite basic, and he used the split-screen and montage technique to fit the nature of each song to increase the viewers’ immersion.

"With a song which induces people to participate, like ‘We Will Rock You,’ I inserted people clapping or stomping their feet in a split screen. When ‘We are the Champions’ was sung, I showed the various facial expressions of people who react to the actions of Queen."

Each scene is like his own child to him, but there must be a scene that he likes the most. I asked PD Se-gwon Kim, and he picked the ‘gay club scene.’ He wanted this scene to make the viewers feel sucked into the gay club like the hero regardless of their will. To bring the dreamlike and decadent feeling to life, he used red light and cigarette smoke, and it created an exquisite sense of unity with Queen’s music ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’

"I think the peculiar pleasure of the music went well with the imagery. It’s as if you are listening to music with your eyes as well as with your ears in this scene."

-‘ScreenX’ is now taking off!

PD Se-gwon Kim and movies are inseparable. After attending a film school in the US, he worked as a PD in a documentary studio for 5 years. Then he returned to Korea, and he joined CGV through an introduction by an acquaintance. Having started with (2015), he has been making ScreenX versions of various movies after undergoing a lot of trial and error. In particular, he endured various challenging projects with Hollywood studios with (2016) being the first such project, and said that it felt quite rewarding to produce works recognized by overseas producers like .

"I learned a lot from . I learned the methods of persuading the director, the photography director and CGI staff members to produce ScreenX versions one by one, and when I realized that each studio requires thorough security guides, I prepared the right systems."

As he made such efforts, opportunities came to him early. In general, the Hollywood studios provide only the final cuts, but he received additional images of (2017) from Warner Brothers. His connection with Warner Brothers, which resulted in an amazing outcome, continued in . He relied on watching the final edition, but he improved the quality of this movie by working on some ScreenX scenes at a Hollywood VFX company. 20th Century Fox, which witnessed the box office potential of ScreenX through , told him that they want to release the ScreenX version of , which is scheduled to be released in February. Overseas studios are now gradually opening their doors.

The development of ScreenX production and the expansion of its reach make PD Se-gwon Kim and his team feel rewarded, and is greatly helping to invigorate the domestic CGI industry. To produce the imagery for the two screens next to the center screen, CGI work is essential. To make high-quality CGI works within the given time, PD Se-gwon Kim is working with domestic CGI companies to make outcomes that fit the tone and manner of the originals. Continuous collaboration stabilized the revenues of CGI companies, and naturally led to sharing technologies with Hollywood studios. To maintain this relationship, and improve CGI quality at the same time, he developed a habit of watching attentively for the domestic CGI company’s name in the ending credits when he is watching a local movie.

Now let’s take a look at contents. Come February, the number of ScreenX theaters in Korea and abroad is expected to exceed 200. The number of platforms is increasing, but corresponding contents must be supplied efficiently before ScreenX can develop further. If things go wrong, it may go down the road of past 3D movies that became very popular after in 2009 and are now fading in popularity. PD Se-gwon Kim was well aware of this.

To develop contents that are optimal for the ScreenX version, the ScreenX Studio Team is now focusing on a project, the musical animation (tentative). This movie was directed by director Seong-gang Lee, who produced the local animation (2002), and director Sang-ho Yeon took charge of production who saw the potential for ScreenX through and . Unlike , which had a 40-minute-long ScreenX version inserted, the ScreenX version will be inserted from the beginning till the end of this movie. Currently, he is mustering up the strength to complete the work. He also introduced another goal.

▲ With the mindset of pioneering a new way, I will work hard for the development of ScreenX in 2019 as well.

"Every year, the number of ScreenX version movies is on the rise. My ultimate goal is to make a structure for greater efficiency by increasing the role of partners and enabling them to work independently. The process is tough, but I must work hard to help the development of ScreenX as if I were pioneering a new road. Now it’s just beginning. (Haha)!"

ScreenX is the result of innovation. And it is quite encouraging that the attraction of ScreenX is recognized not only in Korea, but also abroad, such as with Hollywood studios, using technologies that have never been tried before and new imaging effects. He persevered for three years, and the efforts, after he witnessed the potential of ScreenX and worked hard, are now producing results. I can hardly wait for another ScreenX movie that will succeed to the same heights as in 2019.