What is ScreenX?

by Dror Denishman

With movie theaters opening back up all over the world, an ambitious director in South Korea is going the extra mile to welcome audiences back in style using immersive technology to make them feel like they are actually “in” the movie - one that happens to be set in the middle of a haunted house.The director is Shim Deok-geun and the film is “Guimoon: The Lightless Door” which became the first Korean film to be simultaneously filmed in three different styles: 2D, 4DX, and Screen X.

What is ScreenX?

Screen X is an immersive technology that projects footage onto the sidewalls as well as the main screen of the theater to create an immersive experience. It has enlisted since 2012 and was developed by the same company - CJ 4DPLEX - that created 4DX motion-theater technology that augments the movie-going experience with seats that move, wind effects, strobe lights, simulated weather effects, and olfactory experiences. The Screen X process can come in post-production, which is more common but not as preferred, or in pre-production, using three different cameras. Its conversion process has had successful returns with Marvel films “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in recent years in international box office returns.

How Does ScreenX Work?

ScreenX uses five different projectors to expand the film image beyond the main screen, and is capable of extending it all the way to the very back of the auditorium so that even your peripheral vision is absorbed into the action on the screen. The theater’s side walls are lined with a special fabric that matches the composition of the main screen and make it look seamless as you watch the movie. The theater’s architecture is a big part of how convincing the technology is. If a theater has a fire exit with the accompanying glowing sign stuck in the middle of a scene, it’s going to dilute the believability that you are viewing T’Challa battling M’Baku in Black Panther or watching your back for an 80-foot-long prehistoric shark in The Meg.

Why Guimoon: The LIghtless Door for this tech?

The new film’s director admitted in an online press conference that he has never filmed a movie in multiple formats but felt the experience would be worthwhile given the film’s plot.“I tried to make the audiences feel that they are not watching a movie in the theater, I wanted to bring them to the training center in the movie,” Shim said.The movie is a horror film that takes place in modern times, 30 year after a building manager went insane and killed guests and himself at the Guisari training center. Mysterious occurrences have occurred in the time since and rumors spread of a guimoon - a cursed doorway - existing in the facility. The movie was filmed in an actual abandoned training center to add realism for both the actors and the audience. The director believes having the extra screens extending the film around the audience will take them away from simply watching the movie and give them the sensation of being in it along with the characters, perhaps even starting a wave of new tech in horror movies to amp up the ‘scare’ factor.