Movies with a 270-degree view hit S Korea

Filmmakers are experimenting with new technology, including steady cameras, and a revolutionary 270-degree view, showcased at a film festival.

People attend the opening of the Busan International Film Festival

A new format that gives movie-goers a panoramic 270-degree view will be rolled out in South Korea. (AAP)

A new format that gives movie-goers a panoramic 270-degree view will be rolled out by South Korea's biggest cinema chain this month, using the walls of theatres as additional screens.

Screen X, developed by cinema chain CJ CGV, was on show at the Busan International Film Festival last week in the premiere of a 30-minute spy thriller The X, directed by Kim Jee-woon, a film commissioned to showcase the expanded three-screen format.

Kim, who directed this year's Arnold Schwarzenegger action adventure The Last Stand, said the technology brought a more immersive experience to the cinema.

He likened it to a "horizontal" version of IMAX, a format that offers greater size and resolution than conventional film.

Screen X requires filmmakers to use three cameras to shoot the same scene simultaneously from different angles to create the wider "surround" effect.

"The space in front of you is filled up completely," said Kim. "It provides a new depth for viewers."

The X showed off the capabilities of the format in a chase sequence and a dream sequence that seemed to envelop the cinema.

Audiences at Busan watching The X seemed at first confused whether to look left, right or straight ahead before settling in to the experience.

"It was really fun. I personally don't like 3D or 4D films but this made me feel like I was inside the film," 19-year-old student Jung Gwang-soo told AFP.

CJ CGV, which also has interests in China, Hong Kong and the United States, has been testing the technology on advertisements, but has remained tight-lipped on installation costs - reportedly between $US139,300 ($A147,134) and $US185,800 ($A196,250) per screening room, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Installation will not be without logistical challenges, given that the effect is lessened in seats positioned to the sides of the cinema.

By the end of October the system will be available in 31 cinemas around South Korea.

Other directors at Busan showcased technology they believe allows the audience to focus more on the stories they are telling.

The Israeli-French production Ana Arabia was one of a number of new films screening in Busan that used advanced steady-cameras to enable directors to shoot in one single take.

In Ana Arabia's case, that was for 74 constant minutes while the Iranian film Fish & Cat managed to a single take of 134 minutes.

Ana Arabia's veteran director Amos Gitai said the technology helped filmmakers engage with their audiences through providing a sense of intimacy not available when using multiple cameras and edits.

"This method is a way of concentrating the audience's focus," he said.

3 min read
Published 16 October 2013 at 12:30am
Source: AAP