Content For That Giant LED Orb In Vegas Being Tested In 1/4-Scale Dome In LA

October 13, 2022 by Dave Haynes

More details are starting to emerge about the technology and creative plans for the giant LED-clad orb going up just off the Las Vegas Strip – including who is taking the technology and creative lead on the project, and how content is being tested and previewed.

MSG Sphere is an ambitious and expensive new attraction going up near the big Ferris Wheel and Sands convention building – designed as an immersive, experiential attraction that will run shows on a vast, curved inside screen. Creative, including promotions, will run on the LEDs cladding the exterior sphere, making it one of the larger digital signs on the planet.

The $1.865 billion venue is targeted to open in the second half of next year as the largest spherical structure in the world, at 336 feet tall and 516 feet wide. It will seat as many as 20,000 people and have amenities like VIP suites. It will run custom shows, but also do everything from concerts and theatre to corporate events, like flashy product launches during CES.

The inside screen will have a 160,000-square-foot display plane that surrounds the audience, using more than 170 million pixels and driving 16K resolution. The interior seating area will also be kitted with sensory elements like directional sound, scent, wind and haptics (seats that shake and shift).

UK-based media solutions shop 7thSense is a key technology partner for MSG Entertainment, as is Montreal’s SACO Technologies, which is providing the LED tech and Holoplot for directional sound.

To test content as the Sphere continues to be finished, MSG has set up a quarter-scale dome in Burbank. “It’s next to our post-production facilities,” says Alex Luthwaite, VP of show systems technology for MSG, in an interview published on Blooloop, “and it allows us to test the processing and editing of the content we’re creating. It allows us to bring creatives in and show people what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, but also details like how quickly that camera can be moved, and, if you change the horizon in the venue, what it does to people.

“The dome allows us to test all these things when we’re making the original content. It’s also our production and engineering workflows; all our teams are based there, like a traditional post-production house. It allows us to be the content house for Sphere.”

MSG also has plans for a similar sphere in London.

AV nerds will find a lot of detail in the Blooloop piece about media servers and signal distribution.

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