Grab a box of tissues and get ready to hold your loved ones close. A Korean documentary, I Met You, features a segment where a mother is reunited with her dead daughter through virtual reality (VR). Ji-sung Jang lost her seven-year-old daughter Nayeon in 2016. The Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) produced the VR experience and captured the moment where the mom meets her daughter once more.
“Maybe it’s a real paradise,” Jang, mother of four, described the reunion to Aju Business Daily. “I met Nayeon, who called me with a smile, for a very short time, but it’s a very happy time. I think I’ve had the dream I’ve always wanted.”
The documentary’s production team worked to create the VR experience for eight months, completing the VR version of Nayeon based on her face, body and voice. Using a child model, they recorded motion capture to create a scene of Nayeon in a park.
According to VR Scout, Jang is wearing an HTC Vive Pro headset and haptic gloves with Vive Trackers to enter the immersive scene in the green screen studio. When the VR experience gets edited in, viewers can see what she sees — a recreation of young Nayeon holding a conversation with her mother. Jang cries as she attempts to hold her daughter’s image.
The reunion also features a birthday party where Jang sits down with her daughter, sharing seaweed soup and a birthday cake. At the end of the interaction, Jang tucks her daughter into bed. The avatar transforms into a glowing butterfly and flutters away.
Jang hopes the moment will comfort others who are grieving, whether it be over a child, parent or sibling. In a blog post, she wrote, “Three years later, I now think I should love her more than miss her and feel sick so that I can be confident when I meet her later. I hope many people will remember Nayeon after watching the show.”