In a product launch held September 6th at their Studios in Culver City, Sony debuted their new Full Frame 24×36 camera first announced in June of 2017 at Cine Gear Expo. The camera is officially named VENICE, a high-end, 6K, Full Frame camera with a new Sony designed 24x36mm sensor that is said to have 15 stops of dynamic range. VENICE supports formats from Full Frame 3:2 to Super35 4K full 18mm height 4:3, Anamorphic and Spherical.
Director Joseph Kosinski, (Tron: Legacy and Oblivion) and Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC, (Oscar winner for Life of Pi) were there to show and discuss their short film, The DIG, which used a prototype Venice camera. The film, which was shot with anamorphic lenses, (but not full frame which was not yet enabled), looked impressive and the filmmakers had positive feedback about working with the new camera.
VENICE Image Areas
– 24x36mm Full-Frame 6K Sensor
– Full Frame 24×36 up to a maximum resolution of 6048 x 4032 (firmware update)
– S35 Window mode, Super35 18.66 x 24.89 mm, 4096 x 3024
(4-perf film equivalent)
– S35 Window mode 14 x 24.89 mm, 4096 x 2160 resolution, similar height as previous Sony CineAltas (3-perf equivalent)
VENICE can capture a plethora of permutations, including Full Frame 24mm high anamorphic, S35 18mm high anamorphic, S35+ 20mm high anamorphic, FF spherical, S35 spherical, S35 14mm high (as in F65, F55), etc. That translates into being able to use almost any cine or still photography lens.
Control Panels on Both Sides
VENICE has menu displays on both sides of the camera. The main display is on the camera-right side for easy access by the camera assistant or DIT. The camera operator gets a smaller display on the “smart side”—camera left. This display shows helpful status reports as to frame rate fps, shutter angle, ISO, ND, and White Balance. The menus are intuitive, refreshingly logical and highly customizable.
VENICE supports in-camera XAVC or ProRes recording onto SxS cards. Attach an AXS-R7 recorder with 4 screws and it lets you record visually lossless RAW or X-OCN onto AXS cards.
With the AXS-R7, you can record 16-bit linear RAW in 4K.
Also with an AXS-R7, record 6K (future upgrade)16-bit with significantly smaller files.
XAVC is H.264/AVC intra-frame—for cost-efficient recording in 4K 10-bit and HD high-frame-rates.
VENICE can record two streams simultaneously onto two separate media cards. For example: RAW or X-OCN on the AXS-R7 as a digital negative and XAVC or ProRes onto internal SxS cards for editing. VENICE will also, with a firmware update, record RAW or X-OCN on the AXS-R7 and XAVC 4K internally at the same time. When not using the AXS-R7, VENICE can record both XAVC 4K and ProRes simultaneously. If you’re using one SxS card, it would be ProRes 422 Proxy.
The DVF-EL200 electronic viewfinder has a 1920×1080 OLED display that is sharp enough to see whether the shot is in focus. You can attach and adjust the EVF quickly, without tools. Plug it in with a standard LEMO connector. A dial lets you adjust brightness (it is 2x brighter than DVF-EL100), contrast and peaking.
Post Production Workflow
With 15 stops of latitude and a wide color gamut, VENICE follows familiar Sony workflows of the F65 and F55. VENICE can work in the same color space as the F65 and F55 and Rec. 2020.
Browse and View
Catalyst Browse and the RAW Viewer are free Sony software downloads for grading and transcoding allowing you to browse files, see and edit metadata, view video, apply color correction and establish looks. You can also use Catalyst Browse to transcode and copy files to connected hard drives, network storage or Sony’s Media Cloud. A RAW Viewer is an application that provides highest quality debayering of RAW files, enables QC of recorded files, does color grading and supports a number of control panels.
James Mathers Commentary
Sony has put a lot of thought into designing the body of the camera especially in terms of modularity. In fact, they point out that the sensor can be easily swapped out by the user in the field with just four screws. This suggests to me that they envision a future camera system whereby a user may have different sensors for various applications. Rated at 500 IS0, this camera is not particularly light sensitive and it tops out at only 60fps. So, this may be their Venice sensor that offers lots of dynamic rage and a full frame for those who may want wide latitude or to limit their depth of field, and perhaps they are planning others with higher sensitivity or the ability to achieve high frame rates. Note that this is just conjecture on my part, but it could make sense to help create a more versatile system to help owners better amortize their investment, and I think that would be a worthy goal.
The lens mount is also designed for versatility with a native “e” mount that features “i” technology and a very shallow flange depth that is said to easily adapt to all the standard mounts such as PL, EF, and PV. The Venice seems to have very solid build quality and features an entirely new cooling system. At the suggestion of Claudio Miranda, ASC, they have also incorporated an eight step mechanical ND system, equivalent to ND .03 all the way to ND 2.4. The body features 12 and 24volt power in and out, so it can work with just about any existing accessories. All and all, this seems like a forward thinking camera that may provide another plateau in the constant advancement of Digital Cinema cameras.
Currently Available Specs:
– Full Frame Sensor 24×36 mm
– 6K Full Frame 6048 x 4032 maximum resolution
– 4K Super35 window
– Full Frame, full 6048 photosite width of the sensor
– Widescreen spherical 2.39:1 or Large Format ‘Scope
– Super35 full height 2.0x squeeze Anamorphic
– 8-Step, 8-Stop Internal NDs
– PL and Ruggedized E-mount
– Maximum Frame 60fps
– Spherical FF & S35
– Anamorphic FF & S35
– 15+ Stops of Exposure Latitude
– Native ISO 500 (maybe 800)
– Retains highlights and color detail 6 stops overexposed and 9 stops into the shadows
– Power: both 12 VDC and 24 VDC