Partnership power content on sphere’s LED displays
Sphere, a next-generation entertainment medium, opened to the public on 29th September 2023, ushering in the future of live entertainment.
Two of the Las Vegas venue’s signature features – its 160,000 sq. ft. interior LED display plane, and its 580,000 sq. ft. exterior, the Exosphere – are powered by technologies from 7thSense, a global pioneer of media serving, pixel processing, and show control technologies.
At 16K x 16K resolution, Sphere’s interior LED display plane is the highest resolution LED screen in the world. Soaring to a height of 240 feet, and with over three acres of display surface, the screen wraps up, over, and around the audience to create a fully immersive visual environment. The Exosphere is the largest LED screen in the world – a vivid canvas that has captured the world’s attention with a wide range of artistic and branded content since debuting this summer. The size and scale of Sphere required a playback engine like no other system in the world. Behind the scenes at Sphere, 7thSense's ground-breaking 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.”
Richard Brown, CTO, 7thSense said, “With the opening of Sphere in Las Vegas, we are excited to introduce our new Performer range, including Actor media server, Juggler pixel processor, and Conjurer – our generative media solution. Developed over several years with a focus on the evolving landscape of video technology, and the challenging workflow requirements associated with a media storage and playback system needed for a project the size of Sphere, these products are intricately designed to leverage SMPTE ST 2110 IP video streaming.
The pre-rendered content at Sphere is stored on a network-attached storage (NAS) solution and streamed in real-time to dozens of media servers, which each output 4K video at 60 frames per second over an ST 2110 distribution network – a world-first in terms of technology capability at this scale for a live entertainment venue. 7thSense’s Juggler pixel processors handle combining playback media with other video sources, such as cameras, to create overall compositions that tell larger-than-life immersive stories. The integration of these products into Sphere isn’t just a step, but a leap forward in our journey of innovation. I am immensely proud of our team and everything we have accomplished to help bring Sphere to life.”
7thSense has worked with the team at MSG since 2011, when the company’s award-winning-technologies were used as part of the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes in New York. Since then, the 7thSense and MSG collaboration has produced several other project installations.
With many years of experience of serving pixels to high quality, uncompressed mega canvasses, 7thSense was chosen to create a fully redundant, mission-critical playback system capable of playing both full resolution, uncompressed media, and generative content, in addition to supporting live concerts and events. The 7thSense Juggler pixel processors are critical infrastructure in the path to getting the image to the display, so reliability is a paramount concern. The Jugglers also provide a mechanism to bring video from external sources such as production truck feeds into the venue.
Bryan Hinckley, CEO of 7thSense, added: "Since 2004, 7thSense has been at the forefront of identifying and addressing inefficiencies and challenges in managing very large video systems, consistently raising the bar in user interaction, both for technical experts and creative minds. We firmly believe that our team and our technologies have now crafted a solution that will forever redefine the landscape of live performances and immersive experiences."
Matt Barton, Chairperson of 7thSense, reflected: "Being part of a team that has shattered existing boundaries in immersive experiences and entertainment is truly awe-inspiring. This remarkable achievement is the result of years of unwavering dedication and innovation, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all involved."