Sony Announces New CineAlta Called VENICE

Sony VENICE
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Anamorphic Capabilities, Interchangeable Sensor, 8-stage ND Filter System, New Color Management & Established Workflow Combine into Unique Creative Filmmaking Tool.
Sony Electronics is unveiling VENICE – its first Full-Frame digital motion picture camera system. VENICE is the next generation of Sony’s CineAlta camera systems, designed to expand the filmmaker’s creative freedom through immersive, large-format, Full Frame capture of filmic imagery producing natural skin tones, elegant highlight handling and wide dynamic range. VENICE was designed through close collaboration with the creative community, fulfilling the requirements from filmmakers and production professionals.

VENICE will be officially unveiled on Sept. 6, in front of a select audience of American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) members and a range of other industry professionals. Sony will also screen a short film, “The Dig”, the first footage shot with VENICE, produced in Anamorphic, written and directed by Joseph Kosinski and shot by Academy Award winning Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC.
Peter Crithary, marketing manager, Sony Electronics said that “We really went back to the drawing board for this one as it is our next-generation camera system, a ground-up development initiative encompassing a completely new image sensor. We carefully considered key aspects such as form factor, ergonomics, build quality, ease of use, a refined picture and painterly look—with a simple, established workflow. We worked in close collaboration with film industry professionals. We also considered the longer-term strategy by designing a user interchangeable sensor that is as quick and simple to swap as removing four screws, and can accommodate different shooting scenarios as the need arises.”
Sony VENICE
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Full frame sensor and wide range of lens compatibility

VENICE combines a newly developed 36x24mm Full Frame sensor to meet the high-quality demands of feature filmmaking. Full Frame offers the advantages of compatibility with a wide range of lenses, including Anamorphic, Super 35mm, Spherical and Full Frame PL mount lenses for a greater range of expressive freedom with shallow depth of field. The lens mount can also be changed to support E-mount lenses for shooting situations that require smaller, lighter, and wider lenses.  User-selectable areas of the image sensor allow shooting in Super 35 mm 4 – perf. Future firmware upgrades are planned to allow the camera to handle 36mm wide 6K resolution.  Fast image scan technology minimizes “Jello” effects.

36x24mm Full-Frame Sensor for cinema

Sony VENICE Full Frame Sensor
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VENICE is equipped with a 36x24mm full-frame image sensor, designed specifically for the demands and performance of high end cinematography, and can capture images up to a maximum resolution of 6048 x 4032*. By switching imager modes, VENICE can natively support Super35 24.9x18.7mm, 4096 x 3024 resolution (equivalent to 4-perforation motion picture film) and Super35 24.9x14.0mm 4096 x 2160 resolution (equivalent to 3-perforation motion picture film). In other words, VENICE’s new full-frame sensor can capture in almost any format, including full 18mm-height Super35 Anamorphic and spherical and full-frame 24mm-height Anamorphic and spherical*. Almost any aspect ratio can be conjured up: 1.85:1, 2.39:1, 17:9, the list goes on in full-frame* or Super35.

With VENICE, Sony is giving users the option to customize their camera by only enabling the features needed, according to their individual production requirements. Licenses will be available to expand the camera's capabilities with new features including 4K anamorphic and full-frame*.
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New color management system and established workflow for flexible post-production

A new color management system with an ultra wide color gamut gives users more control and greater flexibility to work with images during grading and post-production. VENICE also has more than 15 stops of latitude to handle challenging lighting situations from low-light to harsh sunlight with a gentle roll-off handling of highlights.

VENICE achieves high quality and efficient file-based production through Sony’s established 16-bit RAW/X-OCN via the AXS-R7 recorder, and 10 bit XAVC workflows. VENICE is also compatible with current and upcoming hardware accessories for CineAlta cameras (DVF-EL200 Full HD OLED Viewfinder, AXS-R7 recorder, AXS-CR1 and high-speed Thunderbolt-enabled AXS-AR1 card reader, using established AXS and SxS memory card formats.
Creative freedom

Full-Frame Full width 36 mm 6K*

In full-frame, you can use the full 6048 pixel width of the sensor for widescreen spherical 2.39:1 or Large Format Scope. Full-Frame can be used creatively in a number of ways – for example, to allow for extra shallow depth of field or super-wide shooting.

* Firmware update required

Super35 full height 2x squeeze Anamorphic

For anamorphic shooting and production, Super35 full height 2x squeeze anamorphic is supported.

Super35 17:9 and 16:9

These popular imager sizes are natively supported by VENICE. Current Super35mm PL mount lenses can be used.

Fast Shutter

Jello effect is something that we don’t need when filming. VENICE has high speed readout sensor which minimizes the jello effect that are typical in the CMOS sensors.

Phenomenal latitude

VENICE has an exceptional 15+ stops of latitude, with low noise for extraordinary performance in delivering phenomenal images in conditions from searing sunlight to almost no light. VENICE's real-world performance also excels at High Dynamic Range imaging and allows unprecedented creative freedom in grading.

More colors for More Expression

VENICE can exceed Rec. 2020 color space. This means the color range is wider than DCI-P3 and can beautifully reproduce the true color of the scene in front of your lens. This also provides the broad palette in the grading suite using the established workflow of Sony’s third generation LOG gamma encoding (S-Log3), and Ultra-wide color space.
Sony VENICE
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PL Lens Mount

VENICE comes with the industry-standard PL lens mount. It is compatible with all Super35 and full-frame PL lenses, spherical and anamorphic. The lens mount includes contacts that support Cooke/i Technology. Lens information is recorded as metadata frame by frame.

Lever Lock Type E-mount*

E-mount offers unsurpassed compatibility with Sony lenses. E-mount (lever lock type) gives users the ability to change lenses by rotating the locking collar rather than the lens itself, which means that in most cases lens support rigs don't need to be removed, saves time during a production.

* Firmware update required
Depth of Field
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As the sensor size gets larger, depth of field becomes shallower. VENICE’s wide 36 mm full-frame sensor can capture images that have the equivalent of 1-2 stops shallower depth of field compared to Super35.*

* Firmware update required
Anamorphic Look
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VENICE’s support for anamorphic lenses combined with its ability to shoot 4:3 aspect ratio at a horizontal resolution of 4K allows the capture of breathtakingly beautiful images with stunning lens flare, bokeh and emotional impact.
6K High Resolution*
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The stunning full 6K resolution of the camera can be recorded directly in X-OCN (16 bit Extended tonal range Original Camera Negative) file format. Also, XAVC 4K can be captured onto SxS cards while still sampling from the full 6K resolution of the sensor.

* Firmware update required
Sony VENICE
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Intuitive design & refined functionality support simple and efficient on-location operation

VENICE has a fully modular and intuitive design with refined functionality to support simple and efficient on-location operation. It is the film industry’s first camera with a built-in 8-stage glass ND filter system, making the shooting process efficient and streamlining camera setup.  The camera is designed for easy operation with an intuitive control panel placed on the Assistant and Operator sides of the camera. A 24 V power supply input/output and LEMO connector allow use of many standard camera accessories, designed for use in harsh environments.
World's first 8-step Mechanical ND Filters*
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VENICE is the world’s first camera of its class with a servo-controlled 8-step Mechanical ND filter mechanism built into the camera chassis. It offers a massive ND of 0.3 (1/2 = 1 stop) to ND2.4 (1/256 = 8 stops) range that reduces time lost on set changing external filters. The ND filters also greatly increase VENICE’s flexibility when being controlled remotely on drones and cranes, or in an underwater housing.
Assistant Display
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Operator Display
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Intuitive and Familiar On-Set Operation

VENICE has control displays on both sides of the camera, with the main display on the camera outside for fast access to the camera settings by the camera assistant while shooting. The camera operator’s OLED mini display allows intuitive control of commonly accessed features such as ND filter, shutter, FPS, White Balance and Exposure Index. The control interface is an all-new design based on extensive researches with camera operators.
Compact and Intuitive

VENICE has a surprisingly compact design which allows easier shooting in confined spaces or on drones. VENICE’s control buttons reflect the requirements of camera operators, carefully positioned for intuitive operation. They even illuminate for easy use on dark sets. On-set monitoring operation is further enhanced by the addition of an extra HD output alongside the standard 4K-SDI. VENICE can be powered by both 12 V and 24 V power sources that can be connected at the rear. A wide range of accessories are supported, including standard Fischer connectors. For enhanced durability in tough conditions, the viewfinder uses a LEMO connector.
Engineered to Survive
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VENICE’s chassis is engineered to be amazingly robust and has been rigorously tested in the harshest conditions. Its ventilation system is completely isolated from all electronic components to prevent ingress of dust, sand and splash. The silent-running fan can be cleaned or even swapped out on set quickly and easily.
High Performance, Proven Recording Formats

VENICE offers complete production flexibility. Internally, VENICE can support XAVC, ProRes or MPEG HD recording onto SxS memory card. Additionally, by using the AXS-R7 recorder, it can record 16 bit RAW or X-OCN (16-bit eXtended tonal range Original Camera Negative) onto AXS memory card.

XAVC

XAVC is the highest-performing implementation of H.264/AVC intra-frame coding. It supports 4K with superb efficiency and beautiful 10-bit pictures. Naturally, VENICE supports XAVC Class480, which is the highest bitrate and quality available.

Apple ProRes*

Apple ProRes including ProRes 422 proxy formats are popular in postproduction, and are supported by VENICE. This means there’s no need for transcoding; you can simply handle these formats directly from the camera.

* Firmware upgrade required

RAW

This ultimate 16-bit linear RAW format preserves all the information captured in 4K, with 16 times more tonal values than 12-bit RAW.

X-OCN - 16-bit eXtended tonal range Original Camera Negative

Full 4K and 6K* resolution, with extraordinary color reproduction, nicely suits Sony’s third generation color development, S-Gamut 3. In particular, 16-bit scene linear tonal gradation retains the camera’s full dynamic range, with far greater capacity for visual expression than 10-bit or 12-bit digital formats.

16-bit X-OCN offers significant file size reduction, which make working with full resolution content from VENICE’s 6K sensor far more practical in terms of file transfer times and storage requirements.

* Firmware upgrade required

Simultaneous Recording for faster workflow

A key benefit of VENICE is simultaneous recording using two recording media. For example, a production could use RAW/X-OCN data recorded by AXS-R7 for online editing and also use XAVC, ProRes* or MPEG HD for offline editing without waiting for any file conversion. As VENICE can also record XAVC 4K and RAW / X-OCN* simultaneously, another option would be to use XAVC 4K for quick turnaround mainstream production while using simultaneously recording RAW / X-OCN as a future-proof archive suitable for the highest quality HDR applications. Even without using AXS-R7, VENICE itself can record XAVC 4K and ProRes 422 Proxy* simultaneously. VENICE is designed to support both the highest quality imagery and high speed workflows.

* Firmware update required
Next Generation Viewfinder
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The DVF-EL200 was specifically created as the perfect partner for VENICE due to its exceptional performance and additional control features*. It has a 1920 x 1080-resolution OLED panel with exceptional high contrast, enabling precise, high resolution focusing and framing. Its all-new ergonomic design allows for tool-free attachment/detachment and reconfiguring within seconds. A rotary encoder provides instant access to brightness, peaking and contrast. The industry-standard LEMO connector offers exceptional durability.

* V2.0 firmware required
Sony VENICE
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License options for individual production requirements

With VENICE, Sony is giving users the option to customize their camera by enabling the features needed, matched to their individual production requirements.  Optional licenses will be available in permanent, monthly and weekly durations to expand the camera’s capabilities with new features including 4K anamorphic and Full Frame, each sold separately.

The VENICE CineAlta digital motion picture camera system is scheduled to be available in February 2018.  For more information, please visit: www.sony.com/venice. and the official product link. 

My Thoughts 

This is one very interesting camera as I think it comes down the same pipeline as Varicam and the Panavision DXL. Does sony have to many cameras, sure so does canon but this one was built by cinematographers. So for me it's a wonderful option in the tool bag and in what brush would you like to use for your canvas (Sony, Panasonic, Red, Panavision ETC..) options are limitless and technology only get's better. 

Corey Steib

I am an award winning cinematographer and photography based in Orlando, FL. I have worked on over 200 feature films, tv shows and live events.

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