Gangnam Style: d’strict Brings Digital “K-Pop Experience” to London

Korean Wave breaks over London at the Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo 2013.

Since PSY hit the charts with Gangnam Style, watched 1.7 billion times on YouTube, a Korean cultural Vincent Choe,  d'strict Vice Presidentwave has been sweeping over the world.  4D creative specialists d’strict have combined cutting edge new media technology with Korean pop celebrity culture to create a new interactive pop concert experience.

The Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo 2013 at the start of November brought Korean cuisine, technology, design and of course pop music to London.  Blooloop spoke with Victor Choe (left), vice president of 4D creative experts d’strict, at the company’s new immersive “K-Pop Experience” at KBEE.

d’strict hit the headlines in 2011 with their Kinect based experience, Live Park.  Live Park used state-of-the-art mobile and Kinect technology to create an interactive experience where visitors use a personalised avatar to interact with attractions in an “art theme park.”

Following the demand for Korean pop culture, d’strict have now teamed with YG Entertainment and Korea Telecom to form a joint venture, Next Interactive K Ltd (NIK), which provides an entertainment platform by producing entertainment attractions featuring Korea’s best known pop stars.  The attractions combine new media technology, holograms, 3D and projection mapping, with pop content from PSY, BIGBANG and 2NE1 to create the “K-Pop Experience”.

The hyper realistic holographic performance features PSY and accompanying dancers performing his hits and interacting with the audience.  

PSY Hologram ConcertPhoto booths at the entrance take pictures of visitors which are then inserted into the show, both as the faces of the backing dancers and also in competitions.

A “K-Pop Experience” opened in July in Everland has proved to be very popular, attracting 90, 000 visitors in just two months.  

In addition a new 1, 500 square meter "KLIVE" theatre will open in the Seoul fashion district at the Lotte FITIN shopping mall, Dongdaemun later this year.

In the larger venues the “K-Pop Experience” includes other interactive attractions in addition to the main hologram performance which enhance the experience for fans: 

  • PSY Hologram ConcertLive Elevator: Stars appear to welcome you at the entrance elevator.
  • Welcome Square: An interactive display allows visitors to dance with the K-Pop stars on the LFD screen.
  • Live Photo: Visitors can have their picture taken with their favourite star.
  • Giant Tower: Guest can select an image from a digital catalogue to be magnified.
  • Live Window: Fans can look through the window into the backstage area and see their favourite stars getting ready for the show.
  • Live Fortune Teller: Visitors can ask a K-Pop star to predict their future.
  • Live Secret: A behind the scenes peek at the K-Pop stars.
  • Live AR Show:  Pop stars trapped in an ice cage can be rescued by visitors who use their dance skills in augmented reality.

PSY Hologram Concertd’strict are now also looking to use their technology underlying the “K-Pop Experience” with other content, to suit new markets or venues.  

The use of technology to enhance the fans’ interaction with their pop idols certainly seemed to go down well with the London audience.  Maybe a One Direction Experience should be on the cards?

Choe says, “Yes we’re open to all different possibilities – we have attractions planned out but we’re open to other attractions and new technology.

“We do have IP partners but we’re actively looking for different content providers and venues.”

PSY Hologram Concert

Edutainment and Digital Heritage

The technology developed for Live Park is also being used by d’strict in other markets.

d’strict are working on a new edutainment development which will open in Shanghai next year.  Choe explains, “With the technology we have showcased with Live Park we have a project that we’re working on in China.  The site is about 10, 000 square meters and the audience focus is mainly children.”  

In addition, d’strict is working with heritage sites in China who want to present themselves in a new way with up to the minute digital media. 

“We can use the technology from Live Park and our content production experience in edutainment and digital heritage, ” says Choe.  “We do have some projects that we are discussing in China, where there are a lot of big historical sites who want to show content in a different way with new technology.  We are a good partner to do that with.”

Property

In Europe d’strict have signed an MOU with the city of Groningen in the Netherlands where a large new building project incorporating a library and five theatres is being developed.  d’strict are currently providing consultancy advice regarding how to use new digital media technology in the building.

Live Park from d'strictd’strict have also been retained for a hotel renovation project  in Las Vegas.  The refurbishment will create a unique guest experience with seven key solutions utilising 3D Projection Mapping, LED Floor Screens, LEDceilling  wall for the main bar, night club, marquee sign and hotel lobby.  The project will be completed by Sept 2014.

Future Plans?

Keeping up with the rapid changes in new digital technology must be challenging. Where do d’strict see the future?

Choe says, “We do have a team of technicians that do the R&D for the next generation of interactives and we have another team that focus on the content and how we can combine the two.

“We are not focussing on the development of original technology – we are more focussed on the already made technologies and combining them with new content to add value to the experience of the audience.  We’re more focussed on the experience flow and the experience design that we can give to the audience, and sales of attractions.”