fxpodcast #362: All Around U2

The U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere in Las Vegas is visually powered by software and hardware technology by disguise. The state-of-the-art Las Vegas venue, which boasts the largest LED screen in the world at 16K x 16K pixels, displays over 2 hours of spectacular visual content by Treatment Studio, as well as artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard and Marco Brambilla, at a resolution and scale never-before-witnessed by a live audience.

Nevada Ark by Es Devlin, Credit Stufish

In this fxpodcast, we talk to disguise about their continuing their long-standing partnership with Fuse Technical Group and U2, which began during the band’s 2005 Vertigo Tour, and continues with the ground-breaking U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere.

Credit Rich Fur

disguise have now worked with U2 for over 18 years. Back when they started, it was difficult for the band to envision how the low-resolution content would look in its final version on the big LED videoscreens, so disguise founder Ash Nehru wrote code to help them pre-visualise the content. That was the origin of disguise’s Designer software.

King Size by Marco Brambilla, Credit: Rich Fury

For The Sphere, disguise software was used to help previsualize the content on stage. It was also used to split and distribute 16K video across 23 disguise gx 3 media servers. The servers powered the content on The Sphere’s wraparound interior LED screen, which lines the 15,000 square meters of the dome’s interior.

Credit: Ross Andrew Stewart

The stats:

  • 16K x 16K display canvas amounting to a total of 256,000,000 pixels rendered
  • All content is outputting at 60 frames per second
  • 23 disguise gx 3 servers are fitted with 30TB of storage each meaning a total of 690TB of drives available to play content at a moment’s notice
  • Upstream 100G networking to connect storage and slicing servers to the production system
  • The project was about a year in the making from concept to showtime
  • It marks 18 years of partnership between disguise and U2

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