MSG Sphere plans revealed as studio explores Hollywood work – The Hollywood Reporter


Delegates converging on Las Vegas this week for the first NAB Show since 2019 will notice a new addition emerging in the famous skyline – the MSG Sphere at the Venetian, which could usher in a new canvas for filmmakers and all kinds of immersive entertainment. when it opens next year. During a session on NAB’s opening day, a team from MSG Sphere Studios – the company’s production arm – confirmed they were talking to everyone from Hollywood directors to musicians, while revealing new details on creative content plans.

When completed, the massive sphere is expected to be the largest spherical structure in the world (336 feet high and 516 feet wide) and serve as a radical new entertainment venue for up to 20,000 spectators. (Construction costs were estimated at $1.826 billion, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal).

It is expected to house a record-breaking 160,000 square foot wrap-around LED display inside, while the exterior will be covered with a record-breaking 580,000 square foot outdoor LED display “that can be seen from space”, reported Andrew Shulkind, Head of Capture for MSG Sphere Studios, a Burbank facility that will house core production and post-production content designed for the Sphere. The LED display can support 16K by 16K image resolution. Through a partnership with Berlin-based audio company Holoplot, the Sphere will also house a custom spatial audio system, and additional plans include 4D capabilities from wind to scent, as well as connectivity for all guests.

Panelists declined to share details of creative partners or planned content, but suggested content for the “versatile” venue could include immersive filmed entertainment, live events including concerts, games and whatnot. ‘they hope to be entirely new types of entertainment. Shulkind confirmed that the narrative content is “absolutely on the roadmap”.

“We are looking for disruptors,” said senior creative director Nathalie van Sasse van Ysselt. “We have an active creative development department. We run VIP tours in Burbank and test these creative tools, so we can open ideas to creatives.

Chris Dee, the studio’s senior vice president of production and show technology, noted that the studio is “focusing on live action first”. To that end, the team confirmed that they have already placed camera systems – newly developed systems that look like 3D rigs on steroids – in Antarctica and plan to place one on the International Space Station. , made possible by a grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science. in the space.

Although designed for immersive entertainment, Shulkind was asked if part of the LED sphere could be used to display content in a more traditional aspect ratio – like Hollywood tent poles or live events. , including the Super Bowl – and replied, “Can you? Yes. Shall we? Maybe.”

On the technical side of the equation, executives spoke of the need for innovation in all areas of production, post-production and exhibition – tools and workflows, while managing massive amounts of data. “We build the tools and the language,” Dee said. Panelists confirmed that they are developing real-time virtual production techniques as part of the equation.

Looking ahead, plans are in place to build a second such sphere in London and later in other cities. “We want to expand this globally,” Shulkind said at the end of the session, hosted by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.


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