Sony Unveils VENICE, a Full-Frame Motion Camera

After teasing their long-awaited full-frame CineAlta digital motion picture camera system during the Cine Gear Expo in June, Sony unveiled VENICE at simultaneous events in Hollywood and Pinewood Studios, UK.

This is a next-generation digital cinema camera from Sony with anamorphic capabilities, interchangeable sensor, 8-stage ND filter system, new color management & established workflows combined into a unique creative filmmaking tool.

Sigma: The wait is over. Shop e-mount primes.

Remarkably stuff, really. And, it means a very-soon goodbye to Super35 and hello full-frame. Considering the change in lenses, the mount is swappable from PL to E-mount.

As Peter Crithary, marketing manager, Sony Electronics, said during the event, “We really went back to the drawing board for this one.”

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.

That means this flagship camera is future proof because the owner can swap in another new sensor when it’s released.

36x24mm Full-Frame Sensor for cinema

Focused on naturalistic and “film-like” color reproduction the VENICE sensor is full frame at 36×24 mm with 6K resolution. The camera is “aspect ratio agnostic” because it can use Super35mm (17:9 and 16:9), Full Frame 35mm and Super35 full height 2.0x squeeze anamorphic lenses.

Note that only the Full Frame 35mm will use 6K while the Super35 resolutions use 4K. The full-frame recording capabilities will require a paid upgrade to unlock next summer and Sony shared their firmware roadmap.

Recording formats

VENICE outputs high quality and efficient file-based production through  16-bit RAW/X-OCN via the AXS-R7 recorder, and 10 bit XAVC workflows. It’s 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.

What’s important here is the ProRes HD.

Pricing

While actual pricing wasn’t announced expect the VENICE to cost about  $45,000. The available later full frame and anamorphic features are expected to cost approximately $5,000 and $6,000. The different configurations are also rentable, but that pricing wasn’t mentioned either.

For another take on the Sony VENICE, watch this video from Cinema 5D.

The press release is below.

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 6, 2017 — 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.

“We really went back to the drawing board for this one,” said Peter Crithary, marketing manager, Sony Electronics. “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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

My daily shooter is Sony a9 with a vertical grip and various Sigma lenses attached like the 14mm 1.4 Art. Find more gear recommendations in our shop.