The World’s Largest Cinema Sensor

Sphere Entertainment Co. and STMicroelectronics have shared details about their joint effort to develop the world’s largest image sensor for the Big Sky camera system. The collaboration aims to push the boundaries of cinematic camera technology and redefine the standards for immersive entertainment experiences.

Big Sky, an ultra-high-resolution camera system created by Sphere Studios for Sphere’s next-generation entertainment venue in Las Vegas, is at the core of this technological advancement. The venue features a massive high-resolution LED screen, enveloping the audience in a fully immersive visual experience. Sphere Studios designed the Big Sky camera system with an 18K sensor manufactured by STMicroelectronics to capture content for this colossal display. Deanan DaSilva, lead architect of Big Sky at Sphere Studios, emphasized the importance of the sensor in achieving high-quality images, particularly given the size and resolution of Sphere’s display.

STMicroelectronics, known for its expertise in imaging technology, successfully produced the world’s largest cinema camera sensor in commercial use, overcoming the challenges associated with size, resolution, speed, low noise, high dynamic range, and yield requirements.
STMicroelectronics provided a sensor with 316 megapixels, significantly more extensive and higher resolution than full-frame sensors in high-end commercial cameras. The system’s capabilities include capturing images at 120 fps and transferring data at 60 gigabytes per second.

Big Sky stands out for its ability to capture large-format images from a single camera, eliminating the need for stitching content from multiple cameras. This addresses common issues related to stitching, such as near-distance limitations and seams between images. Sphere Studios has filed ten patents associated with Big Sky’s technology.

Darren Aronofsky’s “Postcard from Earth,” featured in The Sphere Experience, is the first cinematic production to utilize Big Sky. Since its debut, the film has taken audiences on a visual journey across all seven continents, with visuals captured using Big Sky, providing a unique viewing experience in Las Vegas.

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