MSG brought a “science fair” to the Forum in Los Angeles to showcase the specifics of the company’s upcoming Sphere venues. With two venues already announced for Las Vegas and London, Madison Square Garden Company’s Executive Chairman James Dolan and Chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment Irving Azoff brought the unprecedented specifics of their upcoming arenas to life for future storytellers.
“Today is to introduce us to the Hollywood community because the timeline is upon us,” Azoff said, adding the event is “in hopes that people are motivated to go out and create for what you’re going to see. This is what shock and awe, in a positive way, is about.”
MSG’s sphereis being presented as ‘next generation’ venue. The venues’ exterior will be completely covered in fully programmable LED screens giving the sphere the ability to transform into any and all visuals including events occurring inside or even camouflaging itself by taking on the characteristics of its landscape. MSG promises to deliver the largest and highest resolution LED screen on Earth with a 170,000-square foot display plane that will wrap around the interior of the bowl.
The acoustics will adapt to the production and the audience with a modular, steerable audio system that uses state-of-the-art beam-forming technology. Audio will be directed to specific locations in the bowl at a near constant volume from point of origin to destination creating a perfect sound anywhere in the bowl. At the “science fair,” attendees could roam around areas equipped with boards that would capture, disperse, or isolate sounds depending on the needs of the production.
The spheres will also include a infrasound haptic floor system that uses bass to create vibrations to help fans “feel” what is happening. One section of The Forum held a walk in theater that featured the haptic floor so guests could view the handlebars of a motorcycle and also feel the motion of the ride under their feet. The installation also allowed people to see crystal clear waters and hear the sound of the waves crashing while an ‘outdoor breeze’ blew through the room.
“We believe we are building a new level of experience when it comes to the five senses,” Dolan said at the event. Dolan told the audience that MSG Entertainment was actively commissioning storytellers to build fully-immersive experiences for the unique medium that is expected to be in full swing by late 2020 in Las Vegas.
Dolan added that a palette of tools to create these experiences would be democratized and available to everyone including super resolution cameras and rigs which utilize 10 8k RED Weapon helium cameras to capture and live-stitch together 360 degree by 360 degree footage.
“Our plan is to develop a slate of these that ultimately builds into a full library that will play in all the spheres that we build and we are going to build more than one or two spheres,” Dolan said.
The first of the spheres will break ground this summer in Las Vegas located on Sands Avenue between Manhattan Street and Koval Lane where a pedestrain bridge will connect the sphere and the Venetian and Palazzo complex. The other previously announced location is five acres of land in Stratford, London, directly east of the Westfield Stratford shopping center that already attracts 45 million visitors annually. Plans for the MSG Sphere London will be submitted by the end of the year.
Both venues and those expected to follow will also be outfitted with digital concierge HoloGuide. HoloGuide services will be embedded in displays throughout the building and will guide guests and personalize their experience by assisting them with way-finding, curating suggestions, and answering questions based on artificial intelligence and deep learning. The HoloGuide will also use facial recognition software to help facilitate these personalized experiences.