Sphere Entertainment Acquires HOLOPLOT

 A GIF of a hockey player slapshotting a puck with the NHL Draft logo on it on the exterior of the Sphere. .
A GIF of a hockey player slapshotting a puck with the NHL Draft logo on it on the exterior of the Sphere. .

Welcome to 2024, where the Vegas Sphere is still one of the largest talking points in Pro AV. The Pro AV wonder has now hosted U2, helped enhance the first-ever Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, and most recently welcomed Phish to its stage.

Since the Vegas Sphere opened on Friday, Sept. 29, when U2 officially opened the innovative theater with U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere, we continue more insights on what is behind those massive LED displays, robots, movies, and performers that enter the Sphere.

As one of the top 10 installations in the SCN Installation Showcase 2023, we've kept close track of all the news available about the technologies being deployed to bring what is believed to be the largest LED screen on earth to life. You should bookmark this page so you can keep tabs on all those stories here. Most recently, SCN's own Wayne Cavadi was invited inside the Vegas Sphere to watch Postcard from Earth (the story is below), and was able to provide personal insight, as well as images and video from inside. You can check that out by clicking or tapping on the link below:

SCN Finally Goes Inside the Vegas Sphere ... and We Had a Ball

We've also had some  exclusive, behind-the-scenes, inside looks, like this one from 7thSense and how 20 years of expertise helped develop the largest video system deployment in the world at Sphere in Las Vegas. You can read that right here: Behind the Scenes of the Company Helping Power the Video Systems at Sphere.

Make sure you get caught up on that July 4 experience and watch how Sphere lit up the Las Vegas night HERE.

Sphere Entertainment Acquires HOLOPLOT

Sphere Entertainment has acquired all of the remaining shares it did not previously own of HOLOPLOT GmbH. Sphere Entertainment made its first investment into HOLOPLOT in 2018 when the two companies partnered to develop Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by HOLOPLOT, which revolutionized the live audio experience when Sphere opened in Las Vegas in September 2023.

In a joint statement on behalf of Sphere Entertainment, David Dibble, CEO, MSG Ventures and Paul Westbury, EVP, development and construction, said: “HOLOPLOT is at the forefront of audio innovation, and their custom-designed technology has already transformed what is possible for concert-grade sound. This acquisition reflects our Company’s commitment to staying on the cutting-edge of immersive experiences as we explore growth opportunities for both Sphere and HOLOPLOT.”

HOLOPLOT's proprietary technology is focused on sound control, intelligence and quality to transform how audio is delivered. By enabling precise and digital control of sound propagation and localization, the resulting audio is highly targeted, consistent, and immersive, providing audience members with an outstanding listening experience.
The transaction has closed. HOLOPLOT will remain based in Berlin and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sphere Entertainment as it continues to grow its business and serve its customers and clients.

NHL Draft Heads to Sphere June 28-29, 2024

The Vegas Sphere shows the NHL Draft dates on its exterior.
The Vegas Sphere shows the NHL Draft dates on its exterior.

The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29, marking the first time the event will be held in Las Vegas. Additionally, the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be the first event televised live from Sphere.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made the official announcement during the broadcast of the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery. “The NHL is proud to bring the first sports event and the first live television broadcast to Sphere,” said Steve Mayer, NHL senior EVP and chief content officer. “Together with the amazing team at Sphere, we plan to deliver an NHL Draft like no other, introducing the bright future of hockey in an innovative and exhilarating setting.”
The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will take place over two days: Friday, June 28 (Round 1, televised on ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet and TVA Sports, starting at 4 p.m. PT) and Saturday, June 29 (Rounds 2-7, televised on ESPN+, NHL Network, Sportsnet and SN1, starting at 8:30 a.m. PT). NHL club executives, scouts, and coaches will be present on the NHL Draft floor, while thousands of fans and hundreds of print, television and radio media are expected to attend.

Phish Bounces Around the Vegas Sphere

From April 18-21, Phish made the Vegas Sphere its homebase. Known for its long jams and stunning visuals, typically with ultra-fun light shows, the band was able to take it to the next level with the technological marvel the Sphere has become.

Per AV Interactive, Moment Factory produced the visuals and 23 Disguise media players were used in the show. Fuse Technical Group served as the technical integrator for the video system.

Honestly, no words can do it justice. Check out some of our favorite clips from the weekend.

The Sphere Celebrates Earth Day

A scene of the mountain tops from the Vegas Sphere's 'Postcards from Earth.'
A scene of the mountain tops from the Vegas Sphere's 'Postcards from Earth.'

The Vegas Sphere will showcase a special Exosphere content show in celebration of Earth Day featuring work from multi-GRAMMY award-winning Grateful Dead and Dead & Company percussionist Mickey Hart, and renowned filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. Hart’s and Schwartzberg’s artwork will be combined into an 11-minute content show that will run at 6:00 a.m. PT an April 22 and then at both 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. PT. Their art will run individually at various times throughout the day as well. Hart and Schwartzberg are the latest artists to design for the Exosphere as part of Sphere’s XO/Art program, which features renowned artists’ work on Sphere’s immersive exterior.

Hart’s piece, entitled “Rhythms of the Universe,” is a 90-second visual symphony consisting of four phases, each characterized by unique movements and color patterns. From gentle undulations and ripples to vibrant color shifts and morphing shapes, the progression of phases is an exploration of a psychedelic cosmos. Hart, an expert in sound vibrations from his experience as a drummer, uses sound waves and their vibrations to move paint around on his canvases. To create the details and intricate patterns in his Exosphere piece, a Pythagorean monochord was played through a subwoofer whose ultra-low frequencies induce vibrations that bring the artwork to life. Through this artistic method, the paints undergo a metamorphosis, allowing the flow of colors to manifest in a myriad of ways.
For his six, 90-second Exosphere pieces, Schwartzberg went back to his documentarian roots, drawing from nature footage and utilizing his renowned time-lapse photography technique. The first piece, titled “Earth Masterpieces” features coral reefs, ocean views, waterfalls, and desert canyons. This is followed by a segment on mushrooms, featuring never-before-seen footage of lion’s mane and other species captured during the making of his 2019 documentary film, “Fantastic Fungi.” Next, “Seductive Flowers” captures the graceful movement of various blooms up-close, followed by “Master Pollinators,” which highlights the crucial role birds and bees play in the ecosystem. In the final two segments, “Organic Mandalas,” transforms nature imagery into intricate circles that represent the cycle of life, and “Nature Reimagined,” takes viewers on a transcendent journey through time and space.

InfoComm 2024 to Host An Evening at Sphere in Las Vegas

The logo for InfoComm 2024.
The logo for InfoComm 2024.

InfoComm 2024 will host An Evening at Sphere on Tuesday, June 11.

The event begins with a reception in the Atrium, where, through immersive technology experiences created specifically for Sphere, guests will gain a better understanding of how technology amplifies our human potential. The guests will then enter the main venue bowl for a multi-sensory cinematic experience: Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth.

InfoComm attendees are invited to purchase tickets; seating is limited and subject to first-come, first-served availability.

“Sphere is the perfect setting to welcome pro AV professionals from around the world to kick off InfoComm 2024. This evening will leave attendees energized for the trade show and inspired by the magic created by pro AV,” said Rochelle Richardson, CEM, SVP expositions and events, AVIXA.

An Evening at Sphere tickets are available through show registration at www.infocommshow.org. All tickets must be purchased through InfoComm’s registration site, and this event is limited and subject to availability. InfoComm exhibitors can purchase available suites and learn more by contacting exhibitsales@avixa.org.

AVI Systems is the presenting sponsor of An Evening at Sphere.

“The AVI Systems team is thrilled to join InfoComm to kick off the show at Sphere and share this exclusive experience with hundreds of our customers at Sphere,” said Jeff Stoebner, CEO of AVI Systems.

Introducing the Inaugural Sphere XO Student Design Challenge

The Exosphere shines in different artwork.
The Exosphere shines in different artwork.

Now Clark County students, from elementary school through college, will get a chance to have their artwork on the Exosphere, the exterior of the now world-famous Vegas Sphere.

The inaugural Sphere XO Student Design Challenge is a collaboration between Sphere and the Clark County School District (CCSD) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) that will provide more than 100,000 Clark County-based students with an unprecedented opportunity to create art for the Exosphere.

Eight student winners ranging from elementary school through college will be chosen by a combination of voting by the general public on thesphere.com, and selected by professional artists who have designed for the Exosphere, including Refik Anadol and Michela Picchi. The Sphere XO Student Design Challenge, which will kick off this month, will be themed around the 4th of July, with winning students’ artwork debuting on the Exosphere on July 4, 2024, which will also mark the one-year anniversary of the first illumination of the Exosphere. In addition, winning high school and UNLV students will receive a $10,000 educational scholarship from Sphere. Winning elementary and middle school students will earn a $10,000 donation from Sphere for their school’s art program to further art education in public schools, as well as tickets for their entire school to attend The Sphere Experience this Fall.

Interesting in entering. To see all the details head on over to https://www.thespherevegas.com/xo-student-design-challenge.

New Details On Powering High-Resolution Video Content At Sphere

A scene of the mountain tops from the Vegas Sphere's 'Postcards from Earth.'
A scene of the mountain tops from the Vegas Sphere's 'Postcards from Earth.'

Sphere Entertainment and Hitachi Vantara, the data storage, infrastructure, and hybrid cloud management subsidiary of Hitachi, revealed new details on how the two companies leverage Hitachi Vantara’s data processing software to help power the LED screens at Sphere. Both Sphere’s 160,000-square-foot interior LED display plane and 580,000 square-foot fully programmable LED Exosphere utilize Hitachi Vantara’s software as a key tool to stream high-resolution immersive content.
Sphere leaned on Hitachi Vantara to deliver solutions to stream video content on an unprecedented scope. For its original immersive film, Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth, the system handles over 400 gigabytes a second of throughput at sub 5 milliseconds of latency and a 12-bit color display at a 444 subsampling. Hitachi Vantara utilized its storage platform Hitachi Content Software for File, a high-performance, software-defined, distributed parallel filesystem storage solution.
“Sphere represents a new, completely immersive and visually powerful entertainment experience,” said Octavian Tanase, chief product officer, Hitachi Vantara. “To make sure that the technology behind it was ready to meet the challenge, Hitachi Vantara worked closely with the Sphere team to test, measure, and enhance how the data is processed, streamed, and projected. Quality-wise, the resolution and color are second to none, and this project has exceeded our already high expectations.”
The Hitachi Content Software for File system consists of 27 nodes, with 4PB of flash storage for playback within Sphere and streamed in real-time to 7thSense media servers, each streaming 4K video at 60 frames per second. Hitachi Vantara’s technology enables Sphere to deliver extremely low latency and high throughput, creating an unforgettable experience for audiences during Postcard from Earth.
Hitachi Vantara also partnered with Sphere to produce the same reliable capabilities at Sphere Studios’ Big Dome, a 28,000-square-foot, 100-foot-high custom geodesic dome in Burbank, CA with a quarter-sized version of the screen at Sphere in Las Vegas. Big Dome serves as a specialized screening, production facility, and lab for the Sphere Studios team to develop original content exclusively for Sphere.

Matrox Video Technology Helps Bring U2's Show to Life

A blue orb sits in water on the massive LED screen inside the Sphere.
A blue orb sits in water on the massive LED screen inside the Sphere.

As U2's residency comes to a close, we got a little insight on what was bringing the AVoIP altogether for that massive LED display. Matrox Video's technology was selected by Fuse Technical Group to drive SMPTE ST 2110 routing, orchestration, conversion, and control inside Sphere.

For U2's "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live" residency at Sphere, the band's content development team called on Fuse to develop a video playback system capable of handling 16K resolution and augmenting and moving live input across 16K—all over IP, running on a complete SMPTE ST 2110 backbone.

"It took five years to build the Sphere, but we had only five months from the initial contact to deliver a 100% reliable solution in time for the first show—using a standard and workflow we weren't accustomed to. It was definitely no small feat to do something like that in such a compressed timeline," said Ryan Middlemiss, Fuse Technical Group's director of media servers.

Fuse was able to realize the vision it had for the workflow—which in turn made it possible to bring the spectacle to life—thanks to the capability and performance of Matrox Video's IP video products, coupled with its support and SMPTE ST 2110 expertise.

Sphere and NFL Collaborate on Custom Super Bowl Content Created Exclusively by Sphere Studios

An image of Patrick Mahomes screaming with his stats are projected onto the Vegas Sphere.
An image of Patrick Mahomes screaming with his stats are projected onto the Vegas Sphere.

Get ready football fans. The Vegas Sphere will be bright with custom Super Bowl LVIII content, created exclusively by Sphere Studios, displayed on Sphere’s fully programmable LED Exosphere throughout Super Bowl week. As part of this, Sphere will also be featured in CBS Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl LVIII on CBS and Paramount+.

In celebration of Super Bowl LVIII, Sphere Studios created custom content that will run throughout the week. This includes, as part of its ongoing XO/Art program, commissions from legendary street artists to create custom art for the Exosphere that will run at various times during the week of the big game.

“The Super Bowl and Sphere are two globally recognized brands, and together will showcase the power of this unparalleled digital canvas to bring fans together around Super Bowl LVIII,” said Guy Barnett, SVP brand strategy and creative development, Sphere Entertainment. “The custom Super Bowl-themed content our Sphere Studios team created for the Exosphere will surprise and delight fans, adding a one-of-a-kind element to the first ever Las Vegas Super Bowl, and to the game broadcast.”

Super Bowl Week in Las Vegas has officially kicked off. Working in collaboration with the NFL, Sphere will display content including: a countdown clock leading up to kick-off on Sunday; a welcome visual that will serve as a beacon for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to descend on Las Vegas; and key graphics highlighting the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. In celebration of Super Bowl history, Sphere will showcase all 57 Super Bowl rings, giving fans on the ground in Las Vegas an opportunity to pose in front of their team’s ring. Throughout the game, content on the Exosphere will run live, in real time in response to action on the field.

Dead Forever Heads to the Vegas Sphere

The Dead Forever residency to set up in Las Vegas.
The Dead Forever residency to set up in Las Vegas.

Dead & Company has set a residency at SPHERE in Las Vegas consisting of eighteen shows over six consecutive weeks from May 16 through June 22.  The Sphere residency will feature never-before-seen visual storytelling from Dead & Company, providing fans with the ultimate connection to the music through these innovative and immersive shows.  Each weekend’s three performances will feature a unique setlist.
These shows will utilize Sphere’s next-generation technologies, including the world’s highest resolution LED display that wraps up, over, and around the audience creating a fully immersive visual environment. The venue also features the world’s most advanced concert-grade audio system, Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by HOLOPLOT, which delivers audio with unmatched clarity and precision to every guest.

Dead & Company-Dead Forever–Live at Sphere dates:

  • Thursday, May 16; Friday, May 17; Saturday May 18

  • Friday, May 24; Saturday, May 25; Sunday, May 26

  • Thursday, May 30; Friday, May 31; Saturday, June 1

  • Thursday, June 6; Friday, June 7; Saturday, June 8

  • Thursday, June 13; Friday, June 14; Saturday, June 15

  • Thursday, June 20; Friday, June 21; Saturday, June 22

Check out the World’s Largest Cinema Image Sensor Inside the Vegas Sphere

The Big Sky Camera used at the Vegas Sphere.
The Big Sky Camera used at the Vegas Sphere.

Sphere Entertainment recently revealed new details on its work with STMicroelectronics to create the world’s largest image sensor for Sphere’s Big Sky camera system. Big Sky is the ultra-high-resolution camera system being used to capture content for the Vegas Sphere.

To capture content for the Sphere's massive display, the Big Sky camera system was designed by the team at Sphere Studios—the in-house content studio developing original live entertainment experiences for Sphere. Working with Sphere Studios, ST manufactured an 18K sensor capable of capturing images at the scale and fidelity necessary for Sphere’s display. Big Sky’s sensor—which Sphere Entertainment proclaims is now the world’s largest cinema camera sensor in commercial use—works with the world's sharpest cinematic lenses to capture detailed, large-format images in a way never before possible.
“Big Sky significantly advances cinematic camera technology, with each element representing a leap in design and manufacturing innovation,” said Deanan DaSilva, lead architect of Big Sky at Sphere Studios. “The sensor on any camera is critical to image quality, but given the size and resolution of Sphere’s display, Big Sky’s sensor had to go beyond any existing capability. ST, working closely with Sphere Studios, leveraged their extensive expertise to manufacture a groundbreaking sensor that not only expands the possibilities for immersive content at Sphere, but also across the entertainment industry.”
“ST has been on the cutting edge of imaging technology, IP, and tools to create unique solutions with advanced features and performance for almost 25 years,” said Alexandre Balmefrezol, EVP and imaging sub-group general manager, STMicroelectronics. “Building a custom sensor of this size, resolution, and speed, with low noise, high dynamic range, and seemingly impossible yield requirements, presented a truly novel challenge for ST—one that we successfully met from the very first wafer out of our 12-inch(300mm) wafer fab in Crolles, France.”
Big Sky’s 316-megapixel sensor is almost seven times larger and 40 times higher resolution than the full-frame sensors found in high-end commercial cameras. The die, which measures 9.92x8.31cm (82.4 cm2), is twice as large as a wallet-sized photograph, and only four full die fit on a 300mm wafer. The system is also capable of capturing images at 120 fps and transferring data at 60 gigabytes per second.
Big Sky also allows filmmakers to capture large-format images from a single camera without having to stitch content together from multiple cameras—avoiding issues common to stitching including near distance limitations and seams between images. Ten patents and counting have been filed by Sphere Studios in association with Big Sky’s technology.
Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth, currently showing at Sphere as part of The Sphere Experience, is the first cinematic production to utilize Big Sky.

ICRAVE Reveals New Details about the Interior of the Vegas Sphere

The interior of the Vegas Sphere.
The interior of the Vegas Sphere.

Sphere Entertainment, along with innovation and design firm, ICRAVE, recently revealed more details about the interiors of Sphere in Las Vegas.

“Every aspect of Sphere was designed to create an experience that transports audiences to new places,” said Paul Westbury, EVP, Development and Construction, Sphere Entertainment. “To complement that vision, ICRAVE was a true partner, blending Sphere’s distinctive architectural and structural elements with sophisticated lighting and interior design to create an experience that takes guests from simply being in a venue in Las Vegas to feeling like they have entered a new world.”

As the largest spherical structure on Earth, Sphere is revolutionizing live and immersive entertainment experiences. Tasked with designing over 300,000 square feet of interior spaces for Sphere, ICRAVE sought to bring an ethereal atmosphere to every inch of the venue’s public-facing interior spaces, which are spread across eight levels and include: the Atrium, food and beverage locations, expo spaces, 23 premium hospitality suites, and more.

“We needed the surrounding spaces to live up to the promise of what’s inside the bowl and to ensure guests feel a seamless connection to the venue before even taking their seat for a show,” said Lionel Ohayon, founder and CEO of ICRAVE and co-founder of Journey. “The design of Sphere clearly delineates and accentuates the moment one leaves the default world and enters the venue, a place like nowhere else in the world.”

The unique experience of Sphere begins the moment a guest walks into the venue’s Atrium. With sweeping, uninterrupted columns and intersecting curves, along with continuous black terrazzo flooring and convex ceilings, the Atrium creates an otherworldly experience, and builds anticipation for the event in the main venue bowl. The uninterrupted columns soaring through the Atrium space are outfitted with a custom and programmable lighting design that can transform the space for different events or shows.

Mixing U2’s Mighty Sound for the Vegas Sphere

U2 rocks out the Vegas Sphere.
U2 rocks out the Vegas Sphere.

Thus far, we brought you all the juicy insight and news behind the technologies that bring the Vegas Sphere to life, whether outside the Exosphere or how the massive display behind U2 adds to the concert-going experience. But what about that audio behind the world's most-talked-about residency?

Our sister publication, Mix, got to speak to U2's FOH engineer Joe O’Herlihy and producer Steve Lillywhite about some of the challenges and successes of re-imagining Achtung Baby for the multi-billion-dollar Sphere.

From two levels of surround sound to all the mixing gear at work, check out this two-part interview from Mix's Steve Harvey.

Sample in a... Sphere? Phish heads to the Vegas Sphere

The Vegas Sphere logo announcing Phish's four-night run this coming April.
The Vegas Sphere logo announcing Phish's four-night run this coming April.

You didn't think U2 would be the only band having fun inside Pro AV's wonder of the world, did you? Phish announced it will be the next band to take over the Vegas Sphere, playing a four-night set from April 18-21, 2024.

Phish has become known for its long jam sessions and unique approach to each show, never playing the same show twice in 40 years of touring. That is said to be the same in the Vegas Sphere, as reports are each night will feature completely unique setlists and visuals.

“From the moment we first heard about Sphere and its potential, we’ve been dreaming up ways to bring our show to this breathtaking canvas,” said Trey Anastasio, Phish guitarist and vocalist. “We’re thrilled to present this completely unique experience to Phish fans.”

The ticket request period is now underway at tickets.phish.com and will continue through 9 AM PT/noon ET Monday, December 11. All remaining tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, December 15 at 10AM PT/1PM ET. In addition, travel packages will go on sale Friday, December 1 at 10AM PT/1PM ET

Start Spreading the News: The Rockettes Are Heading to the Vegas Sphere

The Radio City Music Hall and Rockettes logo light up the Vegas Sphere.
The Radio City Music Hall and Rockettes logo light up the Vegas Sphere.

For nearly a century, The Radio City Rockettes, the stars of the beloved Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, have been dancing their way through the holidays at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Now, they will be featured daily throughout the holiday season on the Exosphere. The festive Christmas Spectacular activation debuted overnight, marking the first time the Exosphere has featured dancing wrapped 360 degrees around the venue. The content was developed in collaboration between Sphere Entertainment and MSG Entertainment, both part of the MSG family of companies.

“There is a magic here that we’ve created with Sphere, and there is a magic that is created by the Rockettes every year in the Christmas Spectacular,” said Guy Barnett, SVP, brand strategy and creative development, Sphere Entertainment. “There is nothing more artful than the Rockettes or more scientific than Sphere, so bringing these two together on the Exosphere in such a unique way is the essence of what we do here at Sphere—uniting art and science to bring wonder to the world. This is particularly exciting because it is the most complex combination of real-life footage and animated content we’ve created for the Exosphere to date.”

The activation begins with the first Christmas ornament to be displayed on the Exosphere. The top of the vibrant red and gold ornament begins to spin off, revealing, in a nod to the “12 Days of Christmas” number in the Christmas Spectacular, the Rockettes’ legs. As the top of the ornament continues to rise, the Rockettes are revealed, at 125 feet tall performing their iconic precision choreography that concludes with their beloved kickline, while rotating around the Exosphere. The creative is meant to be transparent, so the Rockettes backs are visible through Sphere, marking the first time the technique has been utilized on the immersive digital canvas. The ornament closes, and the iconic Radio City Music Hall marquee appears in vibrant neon, replicating the landmark venue in New York City.

In order to achieve the continuous dancing, 15 Rockettes were captured performing in groups of five, giving the Sphere Studios team three clips that were composited together. Those composite clips were then multiplied and stitched together to stretch all the way around the Exosphere. Animated elements, including the ornament and the Radio City Music Hall marquee were added, before a final touch of sparkle behind the dancers.

“We are all about precision,” said Danelle Morgan, Radio City Rockette, dance captain and assistant choreographer. “But with Sphere, we really need to make sure that every single thing—from the tip of our finger to the height of our signature eye-high kicks—is completely in sync because of the scale of the Exosphere. It’s such an honor to see the Rockettes on Sphere, spreading Christmas joy in Las Vegas while we perform in the Christmas Spectacular at our home in New York City.”

The Rockettes footage was shot in New York specifically for the Exosphere by a joint creative team from Sphere Entertainment and MSG Entertainment. The content was conceptualized, developed and created exclusively by Sphere Studios. Behind-the-scenes video of the creation of this campaign was captured in both New York and Burbank, where Sphere Studios is based, highlighting the unique process of shooting and building content for the Exosphere.

Check it out in the video below.

Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix Light Up Vegas with Custom Content

Sphere And Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix Announce Custom Race Content For Exosphere
Sphere And Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix Announce Custom Race Content For Exosphere

Sphere Entertainment and the FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX will light up the Exosphere with Grand Prix content created exclusively by Sphere Studios that will be displayed on Sphere’s fully programmable LED exterior in celebration of Las Vegas’ inaugural race weekend.
“Sphere's Exosphere doesn't just complement the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, it elevates it to new heights, turning every lap into a mesmerizing experience for fans in attendance and watching on TV globally,” said Emily Prazer, chief commercial officer for Las Vegas Grand Prix. “Picture real-time pole positions, thrilling podium celebrations, and a dynamic showcase of all 20 drivers and their iconic cars displayed larger-than-life. We are excited to have Sphere at the heart of race weekend.”
Race Week in Las Vegas officially kicked off with The Netflix Cup. This marked the first time the Exosphere’s content was cued live in response to a live sporting event. The race itself, on Saturday, Nov. 18, will also see content created exclusively by Sphere Studios for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, cued live throughout. This will include real time pole position, and a custom podium moment that will celebrate the race’s winner.
In addition, throughout the week, F1 content will be on display including driver cards featuring all 20 drivers and their cars in a larger-than-life form, as well as F1 helmets to serve as iconic backdrops for fan photos. Additional bespoke content will be unveiled during the race itself, including opportunities for fans to see themselves on Sphere.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix marks the first live event that features Sphere as part of the official broadcast, reaching millions of F1 fans watching the race around the world. Because of the venue’s prime position along the track, Sphere will be visible from multiple unique angles, including above. The custom Exosphere content running throughout race week will be optimized to account for a bird’s eye view of the track and venue.
In addition to custom Las Vegas Grand Prix content, some of the world’s largest brands will have advertisements displayed on Sphere as part of their partnership with the Grand Prix, including American Express, Aristocrat, Aston Martin, Body Armor, Google Chrome, Heineken, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Mercedes Benz, Netflix, Paramount+, Pirelli, Puma, Salesforce, T-Mobile, and Virgin Hotels.

disguise Brings U2 Vegas Sphere Residency to Life

U2 performs in front of a life-like Vegas Strip inside the MSG Sphere.
U2 performs in front of a life-like Vegas Strip inside the MSG Sphere.

The Vegas Sphere has been the talk of the Pro AV world since it lit up the Las Vegas Strip on July 4. U2 opened its residency on Sept. 29, and visitors inside the MSG Sphere have been going bonkers ever since. The venue's massive 16Kx16K display presents breathtaking imagery and makes every performance much more than just a concert.

To immerse the concertgoers in frighteningly realistic real-time content, U2 turned to disguise media servers and software. The match was a no-brainer, as disguise solutions have been used by the band since its 2005 Vertigo tour. It was then that disguise founder, Ash Nehru, wrote code to help them pre-visualize the content on massive LED displays, and disguise's Designer software was born.

The show isn't just pretty images—it brings the audience into the show. Peter Kirkup, disguise’s solutions and innovation director, referenced a real-time rendered moment in the show where lightning is crashing into the ocean and multiple 4K video streams of U2 are reflected into the waters, all rendered in native 16K resolution, at 60fps.

"Our software works in beats and bars because that's how music works," explained Kirkup. "And we understand very musically how the production is going to be built, as well as technically how to drive all those pixels. There are layers of real-time content happening there—some of them very subtle, some of them a little bit more in your face. But there are moments where we render the entire 16Kx16K canvas using a real-time engine [Notch] rather than just playback of pre-rendered video."

From concept to showtime, the Vegas Sphere show took roughly a year to create. That disguise Designer software was used to split and distribute 16K video across 23 disguise gx 3 servers, each loaded with 30 TB of storage and used to play content at a moment’s notice.

As Kirkup explained, Willie Williams is the creative director for the show, and he engaged with the content team at Treatment to make his vision a reality. Different artists—like the renowned Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)—created different portions of the show. From subtle "easter eggs" to 3D illusions that make attendees wonder what is real and what is digitalized, disguise helps make the experience a memorable one.

"It's something quite amazing to stand in that space," Kirkup said. "It's a little bit like the first moment when you wear VR goggles and you're suddenly like, 'Oh, there is this other world.' This is a little bit like that but without the goggles, because it takes over your entire periphery, and they have all the tools at the disposal to do that and to bring you right into the center of the content. But then you can look to your side, and you can see your friends and neighbors having the same experience, which you can’t do with VR since it’s very isolating.”

What's next for disguise inside the Vegas Sphere when U2's residency ends in February? Kirkup hopes future artists for the Sphere realize that disguise is the right solution for the space. But it isn't simply the Vegas Strip that could use disguise's expertise—it's trending everywhere in new venues and location-based events.

"Ramping up recently is this trend of moving toward venues being built for AV technology," Kirkup observed. "Bono actually spoke about how musicians have been playing second fiddle to sports venues. Acoustics and lighting are difficult, the screens are far away, and now, none of that is true. This space was built for performance, and therefore the performance is first and foremost, making the experience of the audience very different than ever before."

Watch the Vegas Sphere Turn into a Pumpkin for Halloween

The Vegas Sphere turns into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.
The Vegas Sphere turns into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

Come on. You didn't think the Vegas Sphere would pass up Halloween, did you? Check it out in two different videos below.

BCN Visuals Launches Xbox Campaign

The Vegas Sphere doing a 3D immersive Xbox ad campaign.
The Vegas Sphere doing a 3D immersive Xbox ad campaign.

First the Trolls movie used the Vegas Sphere to capture people's attention. Now, with the help of BCN Visuals—who has plenty of experience on the Vegas Strip with this billboard SCN covered last week—Xbox has launched its own marketing campain on the Vegas Sphere.

The campaign brings BCN Visuals' brand of immersive entertainment to leverage its 3D anamorphic content for out-of-home billboard advertising in order to produce compelling, cinematic visuals.

This showcase went live on October 19, 2023, and will run for a week and features video game scenes and pictures of the gaming system as well as a rocket taking off on the Sphere that looks so real you won’t believe it’s not, plus much more to be viewed in breath-taking 3D across the outside dome of the Sphere. This marks another significant leap forward in BCN Visuals ultimate goal of blending narrative and technology in the digital marketing space; a mission statement that has helped them become the best-kept secret in advertising.

Go ahead and watch for yourself in the video below.

Sphere Entertainment Partners with Powersoft for Sphere Immersive Sound and Haptic Seating

The Powersoft technology that Powers the Vegas Sphere.
The Powersoft technology that Powers the Vegas Sphere.

News is now out that Powersoft is one of the driving forces behind the Pro AV wonder that is the Vegas Sphere. It has contributed immersive haptic technology and amplifier solutions that are being used in Sphere. Powersoft’s technology is integrated within the venue’s 10,000 haptic seats, and as part of Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT (scroll down for more on HOLOPLOT).
“Sphere Immersive Sound has set a new standard in every aspect of live audio, and tens of thousands have already been immersed in its crystal-clear, individualized sound,” said David Dibble, CEO, MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment. “And this past weekend, with the premiere of The Sphere Experience featuring Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth, guests, for the first time, experienced a truly multi-sensory haptic experience. Powersoft’s cutting edge and energy efficient technology made them the perfect partner to help achieve our sustainability goals without compromising audio or haptic quality.”
Developed specifically for Sphere’s unique curved interior, Sphere Immersive Sound is powered by 167,000 channels of amplification provided by Powersoft’s compact, ultra-high-efficiency 16-channel amplifier solutions that are integrated into the venue’s HOLOPLOT X1 audio system. MSG Ventures partnered with Powersoft to leverage their ultra-high-efficiency amplifier solutions that achieve approximately 40% energy savings compared to traditional amplifiers, minimizing environmental impact without compromising sound quality.
Sphere’s HOLOPLOT X1 audio system leveraged Powersoft’s energy-efficient innovations, including its Power Factor Correction (PFC) and Class-D PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), two technologies that have directly reduced the environmental impact of the AV industry. The benefits produced by the adoption of PFC technology include energy savings and a lower carbon footprint (equivalent CO2 emissions) of approximately 40 percent compared to amplifiers without power factor correction for the same output. Simultaneously, Powersoft’s PWM technology transforms energy drawn from the power mains at Sphere into usable power that recycles the reactive energy coming back from its loudspeakers.
In addition to the 16-channel amplifiers integrated into Sphere’s HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array, Powersoft provided patented IPAL (Integrated Powered Adaptive Loudspeaker) technology used in the X1 system’s subwoofers. An IPAL-equipped system offers unprecedented acoustic performance and complete control of sound system reproduction, regardless of acoustic load and conditions.
A key component of The Sphere Experience that makes audiences feel like they’ve been transported to another world, Sphere’s 10,000 haptic seats are integrated with Powersoft’s infrasound system. Powersoft Mover is the company’s revolutionary compact transducer that uses haptic feedback to provide event-goers with a more convincing, realistic experience, engaging the senses beyond visual and audio stimulation. Powersoft’s patented moving-magnet technology is more durable, accurate and efficient, relying on an audio signal with ultra-low-frequency reproduction to make the chairs vibrate and shake as desired for each performance. To accompany the infrasound haptic system, Powersoft also supplied 2,500 audio channels for the seats, provided by 718 Powersoft Quattrocanali amplifiers.

The First Sphere Experience Opens with 'Postcard From Earth'

The Atrium in the Vegas Sphere.
The Atrium in the Vegas Sphere.

The Sphere Experience is a new genre of live entertainment that will transform the shared experience and put Sphere’s 22nd century immersive technologies on full display. The approximately two-hour program begins in the Atrium, which tells a universal story of how culture, technology, science, art, and the natural world have been intertwined throughout human history. Through one-of-a-kind immersive experiences created specifically for Sphere, guests will gain a better understanding of how technology amplifies our human potential. The Sphere Experience then continues in the main venue bowl for a muti-sensory cinematic experience at an unparalleled scale: Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth.

The Sphere Experience journey is curated by five humanoid robots named Aura (keep scrolling from our article on Aura!), that serve as interactive guides to Sphere, each focusing on one fundamental aspect of human ability: connection, creativity, innovation, longevity, and productivity. Aura was developed using next-generation technology in robotic mechanics and artificial intelligence.

Aura will guide guests through an interactive demonstration of Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT (our story on HOLOPLOT is down below) which shows beamforming technology can simultaneously send unique audio content to specific locations, allowing guests to hear completely different content—such as languages or instruments. Sphere Immersive Sound is the most advanced concert-grade audio system in the world—using 3D audio beamforming technology and wave field synthesis to deliver targeted, crystal-clear and uniform audio to every seat in Sphere.

The Atrium experience ties directly into the main cinematic feature—Postcard from Earth—immersive film by Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (you guessed it... more on Aronofsky below). Postcard from Earth is a portrait of our planet, re-imagined as a sci-fi experience. The film brings audiences on a voyage spanning all seven continents, and deep into the ocean, high into the mountains, into the eye of a storm, and out into space.

Postcard from Earth takes full advantage of Sphere’s experiential, next-generation technologies to transport audiences and engage the senses, making them feel like they have traveled to new worlds without ever leaving their seats in Las Vegas.

Sphere, 7thSense Partner to Power LED Displays

The Trolls logo lit up on the Vegas Sphere.
The Trolls logo lit up on the Vegas Sphere.

Two of the Vegas Sphere's signature features—its 160,000-square-foot interior LED display plane, and its 580,000-square-foot exterior, the Exosphere—are powered by technologies from 7thSense.
At 16x16K resolution, Sphere’s interior LED display plane is believed to be the highest resolution LED screen in the world. Soaring to a height of 240 feet, and with over 3 acres of display surface, the screen wraps up, over, and around the audience to create a fully immersive visual environment. The size and scale of Sphere required a playback engine more powerful than used worldwide. Behind the scenes at Sphere, 7thSense's new suite of products, collectively known as the 'Performer Range,' collaboratively breathes life into the LED displays.

“Sphere’s LED displays redefine the meaning of immersive,” said David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment. “On the interior, never has an LED screen combined this immense scale and field of view with this level of clarity, while the exterior is a dynamic canvas that has already become a new global landmark. 7thSense has been a valued partner in delivering high-quality video playback solutions for MSG for over a decade, and we trusted the team to work closely with us and push their technologies even further to meet the unique demands of Sphere. The result is an experience that takes audiences from simply watching content on an LED screen, to feeling like they have been transported to new places.”

Even Better Than the Real Thing: U2 Opens Vegas Sphere

The Vegas Sphere opens with a U2 concert among immersive visuals.
The Vegas Sphere opens with a U2 concert among immersive visuals.

On Sept. 29, U2 (Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton with Bram van den Berg) lit up the Sphere stage with a mind-blowing opening night of their highly anticipated U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere shows, reinventing the live music experience with the launch of the immersive, venue driven by a slew of innovative Pro AV.

The word BELIEVE illuminated behind U2 at the opening of the Vegas Sphere.
The word BELIEVE illuminated behind U2 at the opening of the Vegas Sphere.

U2 put every inch of Sphere’s LED screen (believed to be the world’s largest and highest-resolution) into an eye-catching spectacular that showcased bespoke art from artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard, Marco Brambilla, and Industrial Light & Magic; all while performing on a Brian Eno-inspired turntable stage.

The Vegas Sphere opens with a U2 concert among immersive visuals.
The Vegas Sphere opens with a U2 concert among immersive visuals.

The 25-show run is a celebration of U2's album Achtung Baby, as well as its accompanying ZOO TV Tour in 1991. The band also performed their new song “Atomic City,” which is an homage to the magnetic spirit of 1970s post-punk with a nod to Blondie, whose pioneering work with Giorgio Moroder inspired and influenced the band. Atomic City is itself a 1950s nickname for Las Vegas from a time when nuclear fascination swept the nation and the city promoted itself as a center of atomic tourism due to its proximity to the Nevada Test Site.

We'll keep you up to date with the more we find out from the opening weekend extravaganza. Be sure to catch the video from U2 and Sphere Entertainment below.

Introducing Sphere's Very Own Robot: AURA

Aura, the Vegas Sphere robot.
Aura, the Vegas Sphere robot.

Aura the Robot made a special announcement on Sept. 19. The humanoid robot will permanently reside in the grand atrium of Sphere in Las Vegas. Serving as the venue’s spokesbot, Aura will interact with guests at the next-generation venue, and serve as an integral part of The Sphere Experience featuring Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth.

“Hello, humans. While I understand the most complex concepts of math and science—you remain a mystery,” said Aura. “Your emotions, your humor and your relationship with technology require further study, so you must visit me at Sphere. I am excited to meet you and introduce you to the future of live entertainment at my new home.”

[Robots Served My Daughter and Her Friends Pizza… and It Was Awesome]

Developed using advanced technology in robotic mechanics and artificial intelligence, Aura is an expressive and life-like humanoid robots in the world. Five Aura robots will greet guests from the moment they enter Sphere, putting her life-like facial expressions and mobility on full display.

Alongside trusted human lab technicians, Aura will welcome guests ahead of events at Sphere and serve as a conduit between Sphere’s technological achievements and the human experience. The robots are specifically programmed to tell the story of humanity’s history of innovation, including Sphere, helping the audience maximize their Sphere Experience. As an integral part of the Sphere Experience, Aura’s technical capabilities will continue to advance over time as she learns more about humans from her interactions with guests.

An expert on Sphere, Aura can answer complex questions about the ground-breaking engineering, layers of custom-designed technology and the creative mission at the core of venue, as well as queries for directions within the venue and details on each day’s performances.

Additionally, Aura will serve as Sphere’s ‘spokesbot’ and brand ambassador across digital platforms and social channels. Earlier this year, she appeared in a Sphere commercial that aired during the Academy Awards and in Sphere’s social media posts.

Refik Anadol Transforms Sphere’s Exterior into Immersive Canvas

The Vegas Sphere is brought to life in immersive art.
The Vegas Sphere is brought to life in immersive art.

Beginning on Sept. 1, visitors to Las Vegas were treated to the first immersive AI Data Sculpture experience on the Exosphere. Media artist Refik Anadol created the show entitled Machine Hallucinations: Sphere.

Anadol uses large collections of public data and machine learning algorithms to create mesmerizing, dynamic, and immersive art installations. Machine Hallucinations: Sphere, an immersive digital experience, celebrates Sphere’s unique architecture by featuring dynamic visualizations using vast amounts of data to create abstract imagery of space and nature. The two-chapter series, which Anadol refers to as “AI Data Sculptures,” creates a collective, meditative, and multisensory experience that takes audiences on a journey of light, movement, and color with vivid pigments, shapes, and patterns. This immersive experience invites viewers to imagine alternative realities constructed by invisible data movements around them.

“Refik Anadol’s artistic approach made him the ideal artist to partner with first to showcase his incredible work using the full-scale capabilities of the Exosphere, an incomparable canvas for artists who want to explore their artistic expression on a global stage and push the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Guy Barnett, senior vice president, brand strategy and creative development, Sphere Entertainment. “Through the captivating power of the Exosphere and our unwavering commitment to showcase both art and brands on Sphere’s exterior, we will forever change the way artwork and commerce co-exist."

Machine Hallucinations is an ongoing exploration of data aesthetics based on collective visual memories of space, nature, and urban environments. For this project, Anadol and his team used themed datasets as the building blocks for two distinct chapters: Machine Hallucinations: Space and Machine Hallucinations: Nature. The exhibit will run for four months.

The First Video from Inside the Las Vegas Sphere

An elephant on the immersive screens of Sphere Vegas is shown as people program the show.
An elephant on the immersive screens of Sphere Vegas is shown as people program the show.

Darren Aronofsky, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his directing on Black Swan, went to Instagram with an exclusive first look inside the Las Vegas Sphere. The video, which is from Aronofsky's Instagram page and can be seen below, goes inside the 160,000-square-foot immersive display plane, and provides a sneak peek of Postcard from Earth, which is directed by Aronofsky and premieres on October 6 at Sphere as the first Sphere Experience.

Check it out!

Are You Ready for Some Football? The Vegas Sphere Is Thanks to YouTube

The Las Vegas Sphere is lit up with NFL helmets to promote YouTube's Sunday Ticket.
The Las Vegas Sphere is lit up with NFL helmets to promote YouTube's Sunday Ticket.

According to a recent article on TV Technology, YouTube will premiere the first-ever brand campaign specifically designed for the Exosphere in support of NFL Sunday Ticket. YouTube became the new home for NFL Sunday Ticket for the 2023 NFL season  giving fans access to all live out-of-market Sunday afternoon games throughout the regular NFL season and is available to purchase on YouTube and YouTube TV.

To celebrate, YouTube created an animation that transforms the exterior of Sphere into helmets of all 32 NFL teams. The multi-week campaign commenced at noon ET on  Friday, Sept. 1 and runs through the beginning of the NFL season, which kicks off Thursday, Sept. 7.  YouTube Creators including  RDCWorld1, Kurt Tocci, Ayokunle Adewuya, Kelly Wakasa, and Jiedel are on site at the Sphere in Las Vegas to capture content and document the experience.

As with everything Exosphere related thus far, it looks pretty cool and fun for visiting fans of NFL teams. Here, take a look for yourself.

Sphere Vegas, HOLOPLOT to Unveil Sphere Immersive Sound

Sphere alit on the Las Vegas strip.
Sphere alit on the Las Vegas strip.

Sphere Studios, which develops innovative technologies and content, partnered with HOLOPLOT to create Sphere Immersive Sound, a fully integrated concert-grade audio system that revolutionizes immersive audio experiences at Sphere, a next generation entertainment medium opening in Las Vegas this fall.

“The beauty of Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experiences in real and imaginary landscapes," explained The Edge of U2, which will open the venue on September 29. "In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution, and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation.”

[Post Malone Surprises Times Square Guests with a Free Concert in a... Billboard?]

Sphere Immersive Sound was specifically developed for Sphere’s unique curved interior. It consists of approximately 1,600 permanently installed and 300 HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array loudspeaker modules and includes a total of 167,000 individually amplified speaker drivers. The system utilizes HOLOPLOT’s next-generation 3D audio-beamforming and wave field synthesis technology to transform how audio is delivered in large-scale venues. This results in controlled, consistent, and crystal-clear concert-grade audio for audiences of up to 20,000 people, providing each audience member with a truly exceptional and personalized listening experience. The entire sound system is completely hidden behind Sphere’s 160,000 square foot interior LED display plane. Any audio transmission losses are fully compensated for by HOLOPLOT’s algorithms in the optimization engine, resulting in clear, full-range sound with virtually no coloration and a completely unobstructed visual LED surface—which wraps up, over and around the audience and combines with Sphere Immersive Sound to create a fully immersive environment.

“Sphere Immersive Sound is a cornerstone of the custom-designed technology that will make Sphere unlike any venue, anywhere in the world, providing audio with unmatched clarity and precision to every guest, no matter where they are seated,” said David Dibble, CEO, MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment. “Creating this experience required us to go far beyond existing audio technology, and in HOLOPLOT we found a partner at the forefront of innovation to help achieve our vision and truly transform what is possible with audio.”

[I Love It Loud: The Evolution of Loudspeakers]

Traditional loudspeaker technology in large-scale venues can result in audio quality that diminishes as distance from the speakers increases, due to the uncontrolled nature of sound wave propagation. HOLOPLOT’s patented 3D Audio-Beamforming technology uses intelligent software algorithms to create unique, highly controlled, and more efficient soundwaves than conventional speakers, ensuring that levels and quality remain consistent from point of origin to destination—even over large distances. HOLOPLOT’s propriety beamforming technology can also simultaneously send unique audio content to specific locations in the venue, creating the possibility for different sections to hear completely different content—such as languages, music, or sound effects—offering limitless opportunities for truly customized and immersive audio experiences.

Sphere Immersive Sound will additionally utilize HOLOPLOT’s unique Wave Field Synthesis capabilities, a spatial audio rendering technique that leverages virtual acoustic environments. With conventional audio technology, the perceived origin of a sound has traditionally been the location of the loudspeaker. Using Wave Field Synthesis, sound designers can create a virtual point of origin, which can then be placed in a precise spatial location. This enables audio to be directed to the listener so that it sounds close, even though the source is far away – for example, an audience member could hear a whisper that sounds like someone is talking directly in their ear.

[Journey Through the Seven Continents in This Breathtaking Immersive Experience]

“From the beginning, HOLOPLOT has been focused on radically transforming audio technology, rethinking the underlying physics of sound reproduction as we know it,” said Roman Sick, CEO, HOLOPLOT. “Working alongside Sphere Studios on Sphere Immersive Sound has been a truly thrilling opportunity for our team—challenging us to extend the boundaries of our technology at an unparalleled scale and create a revolutionary listening experience.”

Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by HOLOPLOT, is just one aspect of the next-generation technologies that will work together in Sphere to create extraordinary immersive experiences that activate the senses. In addition to Sphere Immersive Sound and the interior LED display plane, Sphere also features patented 4D technologies such as infrasound haptic seating, and various atmospheric, and environmental effects, such as warm breezes, evocative scents, and changing temperatures, to create multi-sensory experiences that take storytelling to an entirely new level.