Longtime DCS member, cinematographer, and leading industry technologist Andrew Shulkind reported today in a social media post, “Cat’s Out of the Bag.” He is referring to the announcement made by the company he works for, MSG Sphere Studios, that they have developed a camera with a 316-Megapixel HDR Sensor that is said to produce 40x the resolution of 4K cameras. Known as “Big Sky,” the camera was developed in service of providing content for their MSG Sphere, a 160,000-square-foot, immersive 16K-by-16K wraparound LED display featuring 4D spatial audio and haptic seats for environmental effects. The huge 3-inch x 3-inch image sensor can capture 18K x 18K images up to 120 frames per second according to Deanan DaSilva, the lead architect of Big Sky at Sphere Studios.
The Big Sky camera is said to produce 500 gigabits per second from the camera, but the media recorder is now only capable of recording 30 gigabytes of data per second. There are currently only two lenses offering the necessary coverage, one featuring a 150-degree field of view, and the other a 165-degree field of view capable of over shooting what can be projected in order to help with repositioning and stabilization as necessary. The company has filed eight patents associated with the Big Sky technology.
The specialty venue known as The Sphere is set to open in Las Vegas near the Venetian Hotel in the fall of 2023, headlined with a concert by U2. It will feature a 160,000 square-foot display plane that will wrap around the audience of up to 20,000 guests. While the main sphere is under construction, the company has also been busy setting up a campus in Burbank which features a quarter-size version of the Vegas geodesic dome at 28,000-square-feet and 100-feet high, to be used as a production facility and Sphere content lab. The entire project is a bit behind schedule, but it is understandable given this massive undertaking. If it all comes together as planned, it will open new frontiers of entertainment technology.