The Sheer Scale Of The LED Screen In That Now-Opened Sphere Concert Venue Is Mind-Blowing

October 2, 2023 by Dave Haynes

There have been many, many posts and observations about the unmissable visual impact of the LED-clad Sphere lighting up behind the Venetian in Las Vegas, but now the venue is live inside – with launch concerts featuring Irish rock giants U2.

The concert and events theater at what’s called Sphere at the Venetian is 580,000 square feet, 366 feet tall and has a screen with 1.2 million fine pitch LEDs, as well as hundreds of studio-quality speakers behind a towering, curved screen that makes IMAX seem teensy.

The three-month residency by the band started on Friday night, and there are many, many, many videos up on social media from people who dropped serious money to be at the first shows.

It’s pretty hard to make useful observations from four time zones away and working off smartphone and desktop screens, but the sheer scale of the visuals is clearly mind-blowing.

U2 looks a bit dwarfed and sideshow to the overall visual spectacle, particularly as the four-piece band plays on a floor-level, absolutely minimal stage. But watching some of the videos, it’s clear that there are sections in which the video backdrop focuses more on the band than on the at-times huge, wild and very expensive background creative.

Here’s one crowd video that captures most or all of the performance and shows the various sequences.

I’ve read reports that touring acts are a bit reluctant to book Sphere for one-night or brief stays because the digital canvas really demands custom creative (which means big $$$$$$), but that would be spread out and cost-covered with “residencies” that involve a long-term string of concerts – a variation on what everyone from Celine Dion to Miranda Lambert have done at Vegas resorts.

Now that the Sphere is operating inside and out, MAYBE the Sphere PR people can organize that long-requested podcast interview (nudge-nudge) and a quick tour during DSE (again, nudge-nudge).

This isn’t what I would lump in as digital signage, but the outside orb is certainly digital signage technology being used for digital OOH messaging and branding. Big LED screens are now a routine part of what we all see day to day in large cities, but I think this development – along with London’s Outernet – really shift the thinking beyond big rectangles on flat indoor and outdoor surfaces.

It was already hard to get excited by PR announcements of digital billboards on the sides of buildings and large screens wall-mounted in office towers. Now it’s REALLY hard because of the scale and the content investment made for these projects – freely acknowledging their huge-budget, unicorn-like characteristics.

Technical details:

Montreal-based Saco made and deployed the LED inside and on the outside ball, Holoplot provides the high-end directional audio, and there is a combination of 7th Sense and Disguise for media servers. Smart Monkeys is the control system, as put in by Electrosonic.

  1. beth nichola says:

    hi there – little correction on what’s powering it… it’s all 7thSense for in house servers, processing and distribution – Disguise are the tour playback system U2 are using. Distribution and signal mapping is all done by 7thSense. check out the story behind the tech PR that we released yesterday 🙂

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Thanks for the clarity!

Leave a comment