HPA Honors Sphere with The Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation
Honoring unprecedented technology and visionary design that is reshaping the entertainment experience
The HPA Awards committee is delighted to announce that Sphere, the next-generation entertainment medium that recently opened in Las Vegas, has been awarded the esteemed Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation for the year 2023. This prestigious accolade will be presented to the Sphere Entertainment Co. team during the HPA Awards gala on November 28th at the Television Academy’s Wolf Theater in Los Angeles.
Sphere marks a revolutionary leap in the realm of entertainment, seamlessly integrating technology to create extraordinary experiences that take storytelling to a new level and transport audiences to new places. The venue offers multi-sensory immersive experiences across film, concerts, and marquee events. To create these exclusive experiences, the in-house immersive content studio, Sphere Studios, develops and uses proprietary and cutting-edge technology and tools.
As the world’s largest spherical structure, Sphere stands at an impressive 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide, and, with 17,600 seats, enables audiences to share immersive experiences at a never-before-seen scale. Sphere is powered by bespoke technologies that ignite the senses. This includes its interior LED display – which at 16K x 16k resolution is the world’s highest resolution LED screen. The screen wraps up, over and around the audience to create a fully immersive visual environment. To capture the stunning images and video required for this unique canvas, the team at Sphere Studios developed Big Sky, a groundbreaking ultra-high-resolution camera system and custom content creation tool, capable of capturing incredibly detailed, large-format images. In addition, the venue’s immersive sound system, Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT, is the world’s most advanced concert-grade audio system, ensuring crystal-clear, individualized sound within its unique curved design.
Sphere’s technological marvels also extend to its exterior, the Exosphere, which features 580,000 square feet of fully programmable LED panels capable of displaying a myriad of visuals, from an eye to the surface of Mars. The exterior has made Sphere a new landmark on the Las Vegas skyline, now widely recognized around the globe.
The remarkable journey of Sphere commenced with the residency of the iconic band U2, featuring U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere, a spectacular showcase blending their live performance with captivating visual elements. The first film ever created for Sphere, Darren Aronofsky’s “Postcard from Earth,” debuted as part of The Sphere Experience, a two-part multisensory journey that marks an inventive approach to content creation and storytelling.
The Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation stands as a tribute to companies and individuals who exhibit outstanding contributions in the realm of creative storytelling and technical innovation. It’s a distinction not awarded annually but is rather bestowed upon groundbreaking work, at discretion of the jury. This year’s jury, co-chaired by Carolyn Giardina and Joachim Zell, also included esteemed members Paul Debevec, Jay Holben, Joanne Kim and Karen Raz.
The jury issued a statement outlining their choice:
“The Jury selected the pioneers behind Sphere—the venue and its related production technologies and workflow—which introduced an exhilarating new type of immersive entertainment and shared audience experience. Now the world’s largest spherical structure, the ambitious new venue includes a 580,000 square foot Exosphere, a 16K wraparound interior LED display spanning 160,000 square feet and a cutting-edge beamforming sound system. As such, new technology and bespoke workflows had to be developed in order to create and display Sphere content. Its debut U2 concert and The Sphere Experience featuring Darren Aronofsky’s “Postcard from Earth” – both of which are venue-specific – demonstrate its creative potential.”
David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment focused on developing advanced technologies for live entertainment, said:
“Every aspect of Sphere – from the technology we created to capture content to how we tell stories in this new, multi-sensory venue – is a giant leap forward, and we are excited by the extraordinary possibilities this new medium offers. The entire Sphere team is honored to accept this award from HPA, and we look forward to continuing to push our industry forward through the innovative work we are doing at Sphere.”
Previous recipients of the HPA Award for Creativity and Innovation include Peter Jackson for They Shall Not Grow Old, NASA and AWS for the first live broadcast from space, the Together at Home broadcast held during the pandemic, David France and Ryan Laney for the groundbreaking use of technologies in Welcome to Chechnya and other groundbreaking work in media and entertainment.
Winners of the coveted Engineering Excellence Award and nominations in craft categories were announced earlier.
Tickets for the event, now scheduled for November 28th at the Television Academy’s Wolf Theater in North Hollywood, CA, are available at hpaonline.com.
The HPA Awards are made possible through the generous support of diamond title sponsor Blackmagic Design; event sponsors Deluxe, FotoKem, and Pixelogic; supporting sponsors Adobe, AVID, Colorist Society, Sohonet and The Sound Lab a Keywords Studio; and dessert sponsors Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services Worldwide and Xytech.