Getting up close and personal via VR

K-POP boy group BTS has made waves across the globe, and is now arriving in the Philippines by way of the immersive virtual reality (VR) exhibition “BVERSE ‘BTS, Singing the Stars.’”

Put together by YiZ Entertainment and hosted by Araneta City, the unique experience is set to transport fans to BTS’ stage performances at The Fact Music Awards. The exhibition uses virtual reality (VR) to recreate their singing and dancing on that stage in full detail, to make viewers feel they are right there with them.

“BTS’ team worked with our Korea team to bring this out to you guys while they are currently serving their mandatory military service. One of the main reasons we’re doing this now is we want to keep the BTS love alive in the meantime,” said Joe Yi, Chief Executive Officer of YiZ Entertainment, in a press interview at the May 14 preview of the show.

The show recently concluded its run in Malaysia and Thailand and is now in the Philippines and Japan.

“Fans are going to love it because it is a new experience. I know that the BTS ARMY (the official name of the group’s fanbase) here is very united, so it’s exciting to see their real, raw reactions,” he added.

According to the group’s label HYBE, the seven members — Kim Seok-jin (Jin), Jeon Jung-kook (Jungkook), Park Ji-min (Jimin), Kim Tae-hyung (V), Min Yoon-gi (Suga), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), and Kim Nam-joon (RM) — will return from the mandated military service one by one starting this year and will all reunite by 2025.

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has become a worldwide sensation. Their upbeat, empowering hits include “Dynamite,” “Yet to Come,” “For Youth,” and “Permission to Dance,” all four of which are included in the “ ” exhibition.

For fans, the VR version of the iconic performances will feel remarkably up close and personal. Truly immersive and lifelike thanks to projection mapping, the VR videos mimic having a front row view, looking up at the stage where the members are singing and dancing, seemingly so close that they might even step on you.

“The contents used for the VR concert experience were taken over the span of three to four years,” Mr. Yi told BusinessWorld. The goal, he said, is to ensure an enthralling visual and auditory experience for fans who might be sick of simply watching flat videos on their devices.

After the VR show, the exhibition then takes visitors on a tour of seven rooms, each representing a BTS member. Every room is personalized by theme, with eye-catching interiors and high-quality photo prints. They are: RM’s Nature Planet, Jin’s Satellite, J-Hope’s Hope Planet, V’s Film Planet, Suga’s Art Planet, Jimin’s Aqua Planet, and Jung Kook’s Prism Planet.

Casual fans of BTS will find it educational to get a feel of each member through the rooms, but staunch ARMYs who already have a bias (a term they use referring to a favorite member) can head straight to the room of their choice.

A regular ticket is P1,500 and comes with free gifts: a   zip lock pouch, a battery-operated ARMY star badge, and a random photocard of one of the BTS members.

Just before the exhibition’s exit is a gift shop offering limited edition BTS merchandise. These include clear folders, postcards, calendars, brochures, tote bags, and T-shirts all featuring the BTS members.

The “BTS  ” exhibition runs from May 17 to Aug. 15 at the New Gateway Mall 2 in Araneta City, Cubao, Quezon City.

Regular passes, which will allow entry only during a chosen date and time, are priced at P1,500. A limited number of Flexi-Pass tickets, which allow fans to come in at any time during their chosen date, are available for P1,900. — Brontë H. Lacsamana