The image of a mother reunited with her daughter, who passed away early using virtual reality technology, has made viewers eat their hearts.
In “MBC Specials-VR Human Documentary” aired on 6 Feb. night, Jang Ji-yeon hosted an unprecedented project in Korea where she meets her daughter Nayeon, who died suddenly of blood cancer three years ago, in virtual reality.
Jang entered the world of virtual reality to meet Nayeon wearing VR equipment. Somewhere in a strange space, Nayeon’s songs were heard and Jang looked for Nayeon, saying, ‘Where are you?’
Eventually, Nayeon, who was singing, ran away shouting “Mommy,” and Jang tried to touch Nayeon with tears in her eyes.
When Nayeon asked, “Did you think about me?” or “Did you miss me?” Jang could not hold back tears, answering, “Think about every day” and “I missed you a lot.”
When Nayeon was passed away, the disease, which had been thought to be just a cold because of a swollen throat and fever, was a rare incurable disease called blood cell-sniffing lymphocytosis. Nayeon’s death came a month after her illness.
Jang’s wish is to meet her daughter again for a day and cook seaweed soup she liked and tell her that she loves her. There are still pictures of Nayeon all over the house. Every month, she puts her favorite toy in the kennel. In order to remember her name and birthday forever, her mother also engraved Nayeon’s name and birthday. The family, who wanted to leave a memory that somehow existed, joined the project with desperate
The mother and daughter met in virtual reality and had a birthday party. Nayeon made a wish to “not let her cry,” and she promised she would, too. Jang said, “Although it is VR, I gained the power of healing with consolation through my meeting with Nayeon.”
The nation’s top VR engineers collaborated for the meeting between Jang and Nayeon. The production team analyzed the video footage of Nayeon’s life and analyzed her body movements, voice and speech, and succeeded in implementing her in a lively manner by using motion capture technology.
The production team started the implementation process through collaboration with VIVESTUDIOS, which has South Korea’s best VR and VFX (special video) technology. In order to bring Nayeon in VR closer to reality, it was necessary to analyze various expressions, voices, speech and unique gestures stored in interviews with family members, photos and videos in mobile phones. Based on this process, long CG work continued through motion capture techniques that captured momentary motion.
Viewers said, “When I watched this show, I realized that my normal day was thankful and precious just because my child was there to hug and touch,” and “I kept crying. “I hope my mother’s heart will heal even a bit,” he said, adding, “My mother’s hand gesture, which I couldn’t touch even if I tried to touch, was so heartbreaking that I cried out.”