The 2020 Super Bowl LIV, the largest sporting event in the U.S., featured the world's largest projection inside a dome. Created by Broadwell Airdomes USA, the oval or pill-shaped dome hosted concerts and parties with projections spanning the 225' x 175' around the 60,000 attendees. System design consultant Lumen & Forge and German projection specialist VIOSO installed the dome and calibrated the 24 Digital Projection M-Vision Laser 18K projectors installed within the structure.
To prevent distortion of the images within the uniquely shaped structure, VIOSO provided a highly advanced calibration rack, which included Lumen & Forge’s own VIOSO Domemaster server, six Datapath Fx4 display controllers, as well as a 7m-high tripod for the calibration camera. The team first created the dome in a 3D space and then developed content to be placed into virtual reality for testing. The 16:9 content was modified to fit the dome and alter calibrations to accommodate the lens of the camera via the Domemaster server and VIOSO’s Blackbox software. Playback was then fed by a separate server and captured by the Domemaster with two 4K inputs, before being mapped inside the dome.
“We couldn’t just elongate the image to create an oval, as that would have put too much stress on the sides and the content would have appeared warped,” says Misha Fradin, managing partner at Lumen & Forge. “Typically, the hemispherical dome shape is perfectly fit to the shape of the camera lens. But, since there is no such thing as an oval shaped lens, we had to make the view work for us. The calibration achieved by VIOSO was performed live from the view of the circular lens, and in order to fit the oval shape of the dome, we used the map from the 3D rendering of the dome. This hybrid combination of real and virtual made it possible to achieve a perfect image.”
The team had two months to design their plans, but only three days to operate the calibration. “Every evening, the dome was about one or two metres larger, making our calibration from the previous evening unusable,” explains Kevin A. Zevchik, director of VIOSO America. “We were there every night right up until the opening night, calibrating and altering the projection as it was getting built.”
The final calibration was a "major success in both the quality of calibration and warping of the image for the opening night," concludes Fradin.