I’m personally still in love with the SONY F55 and equally happy with an F5 that has been #4K4F5’d (Thanks Paul!)
But, as time continues marching on we know there will always be the next big thing. I thought it might come in the form of a SONY F90 or F100 with lasers and hover mode sure, but I was wrong. It comes in the form of something oddly enough called VENICE.
Hmm… it sounds sexy, romantic, looks exciting too. But what is it really? How good is it and will it be a useful addition to the line? A game changer for the industry like the URSA? LOL! Just kidding of course, I meant the Black Magic anything but I’ll digress.
The Sony VENICE CineAlta 6K Digital Cinema Camera offers a pretty standard interchangeable PL or E-Mount, built-in ND filters in 8-stages which is a nice feature, a solid 15+ stops of dynamic range, a pretty wide color gamut with deep darks yet well retained highlights, plus very nice LED menus on camera left and right sides.
VENICE’s Key Highlights
Interchangeable E or PL lens mount
15+ stops dynamic range
Built-in 8-stage glass ND filter
Soft imagery with deep darks
Dual menu displays on camera left/right
Record in-camera XAVC or ProRes
Overhauled color science
Dual Base ISO mode
The OFFICIAL SPECIFICATIONS:
Camera Lens System
Camera Lens Mount: PL – Included mount adapter, which attaches over native E-Mount with 6 screws. 52mm flange focal depth E – Native, lever-lock type without supplied PL Lens Mount Adapter. 18mm flange focal depth Interchangeable Mount: Yes – Includes PL Mount to attach to Native E-Mount on sensor block front ND Filter: Built-in 8-stage servo-controlled filters – Includes: ND0.3, ND.6, ND.9, ND1.2, ND1.5, ND1.8, ND2.1, ND2.4 in 1-stop increments (1/2 – 1/256)
Color Temp Range: 2000~15,000 Kelvin Gamma Modes: S-Log3
Output Connector/Port: 1 x Ethernet – RJ-45 for Ethernet Network (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX) 4 x BNC – SDI Output for 12G, 3G, 1.5G-SDI 1 x USB – Type-A 2 x Fischer 3-pin – 24V 1 x HDMI – Type-A 1 x Headphone Jack – MINI Stereo 1 x DC – 12V 1 x Other – LEMO 26-Pin – Viewfinder Input Connector/Port: 1 x BNC – Timecode 1 x Remote – 8-pin – Only available with firmware update 1 x XLR 5-pin – Female – AUDIO – (LINE/ AES/EBU / MIC / MIC+48V selectable)
Recording Resolution: 4K 4:3 – With Anamorphic License – 4:3 4096 x 3024 (24.3×18.3mm) with projected speed up to 48fps 3.8K – 16:9 3840 x 2160 (22.8×12.8mm) – with projected speed up to 60fps, but not yet confirmed 5.7K – With Full Frame License – 16:9 5670 x 3190 (33.7×18.9mm) with projected speed up to 30fps 6K – With purchase of Full Frame License – 3:2 6048 x 4032 (35.9×24.0mm) with projected speed up to 24fps 4K 6:5 – With Anamorphic License – 6:5 4096 x 3432 (24.3×20.4mm) with projected speed up to 30fps (V2.0 August 2018 Estimated Release) 6K 2.39:1 – With purchase of Full Frame License – 2.39:1 6048 x 2534 (35.9×15.0mm) with projected speed up to 30fps (V3.0 Winter 2018 Estimated Release) 6K 1.85:1 – With purchase of Full Frame License – 1.85:1 6048 x 3270 (35.9×19.4mm) with projected speed up to 30fps (V2.0 August 2018 Estimated Release) 4K – 17:9 4096 x 2160 (24.3×12.8mm) – with projected speed up to 60fps, but not yet confirmed 6K 17:9 – With purchase of Full Frame License – 17:9 6048 x 3190 (35.9×18.9mm) with projected speed up to 30fps (V2.0 August 2018 Estimated Release) Recording Format: Apple ProRes 442 HQ – 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 50i, 59.94i Apple ProRes 422 – 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 50i, 59.94i XAVC 4K – Class480. VIDEO: 23.98p. 24p. 25p. 29.97p Apple ProRes 422 Proxy – 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p, 50i, 59.94i XAVC QFHD – Class480. VIDEO: 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p RAW SQ – 4K 17:9 (4096 x 2160): 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p. This is supported only with purchase of optional AXS-R7 on-board recorder. MPEG HD422 – (1920 x 1080). VIDEO: 23.98p, 24p,25p, 29.97p, 50i, 59.94p X-OCN ST/LT – 6K 3:2. (6048 x 4032): 23.98p 249 – This is supported only with purchase of optional AXS-R7 on-board recorder and may require a separate software license. Simultaneous Recording: Yes – WITH FIRMWARE UPDATE: record RAW or X-OCN simultaneously on the AXS-R7 and XAVC 4K internally. Bit Rate: AUDIO – 24-bit, 48 kHz with 4-channel audio – LPCM recording format
The Recording / Media
Media Type: 2 x SxS – Dual card slots SD
The Sensor Specifics
Sensor Dimensions: 36.2 x 24.1mm
Some Special Features
2 x 4-contact connection for Lens Metadata – (Cooke/i Technology protocol) 6K 3:2 Full Frame Recording – At launch, VENICE will NOT feature in-camera play back. In-camera play back will be added with V2.0, estimated for August 2018. Illuminated control buttons for low-light situations on set IMPORTANT NOTE re: Recording Formats – Venice comes standard with ability to record to XAVC and ProRes. You will need to purchase an AXS-R7 to record in RAW / X-OCN formats. IMPORTANT NOTE re: Resolutions / fps – Some resolutions and fps recording specs listed here (and visible on the graphic for your reference) will require purchase of a separate software license. Viewfinder DDVF-EL200 is sold separately.
Camera Body Only In-Cam Filter Exists: Yes Camera Features: Dual Base ISO Mode – additional High Base ISO of 2500 ND Filter Built-In Headphone Jack On-Camera Controls Metadata – Cooke/i Technology 4-contact points in lens mount Genlock In White Balance – 2000~15,000 Kelvin with Green/Magenta adjust possible. Ethernet Interface: Yes
Now… Here’s the lowdown.
The new flagship of Sony’s CineAlta family, the Sony VENICE CineAlta 6K Digital Cinema Camera (6K with 6048×4032*), offers an interchangeable PL or E-Mount*, integrated ND filters in 8-stages, 15+ stops of exposure latitude, a wide color gamut and improved color management system.
VENICE compact form factor suits gimbal, aerial, handheld, and studio setups. While its sister camera, the F65, offers an 18MP sensor, VENICE boasts a 24.7MP Full Frame CMOS sensor with a maximum resolution of 6048 x 4032*.
VENICE will also include a Dual Base ISO mode, supporting an additional High Base ISO of 2500. This feature takes full advantage of the sensor’s unique design for exceptional low light performance and dynamic range (from 6 stops over to 9 stops under 18% middle gray). This new capability represents an increase in exposure indexes at higher ISOs for night exteriors, dark interiors, slower lenses, or where content needs to be graded in High Dynamic Range, while maintaining maximum shadow detail.
VENICE CineAlta features a dual display for menu control on both sides of the camera so your camera assistant or DIT can adjust shutter angle, ISO, ND selection, white balance, and frame rate, while the main camera menu is accessible by the camera operator. Note that the camera left side display for your AC is slightly smaller yet preserves necessary functionality.
VENICE offers similar workflows to your Sony F65 or F55 cameras, plus the same color space: Rec.2020. Captured footage from VENICE offers a very different look. Venice also features the ability to accept PL or E-Mount lenses when you swap the lens mount.
* NOTE: Firmware upgrade is required of course for some 6K Imager Modes and E-Mount. See the additional details at the bottom of the article.
Interchangeable Lens Mount & Lever Lock
The highlight of this camera for many will be the ability to accept your existing PL lenses on an E-Mount camera. Sony designed VENICE to easily attach a PL Mount on top of the native E-Mount with connection points via 6 screws. VENICE comes with the specialized adapter PL mount.
This adapter isn’t like what you are used to seeing from third-party manufacturers where the mount adapter locks into place inside. The PL Mount on VENICE secures to the face of the sensor block.
In addition, VENICE offers other connectivity options for future growth and current use. Cooke/i Technology is included with 4-pin lens contacts located on the sensor block module, which will pass through to/from your lens.
The E-Mount features a lever lock so you can change lenses by rotating the locking collar, rather than the lens itself. That means that your lens support won’t need to be removed so you can save valuable time on set.
Overhauled Color Science & VENICE’s Look
Sony revamped their color science when creating VENICE. The camera features S-Log3 gamma curve and offers both Auto White Balance (AWB) and White Balance 2000~15,000 Kelvin with Green/Magenta adjust possible. It also exceeds BT.2020 color space. Sony states that this means the color range is wider than DCI-P3 to produce true color and reflect accurately what you see.
VENICE performs well in bright sun ranging down to incredibly low light. VENICE produces soft imagery without the sometimes harsh quality many digital cameras realize. The image processing in the VENICE CineAlta produces deep darks yet retains highlights and colors. The original Impressionist painters would approve of the camera name choice, since VENICE also delivers smooth and natural skin tones and reproduces true color.
Some Creative Freedom to say the least
Full-Frame Full Width 36mm 6K (with required firmware update)
Sony states that 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, such as allowing for extra shallow depth of field or super-wide shots.
Super35 Full Height 2.0x Squeeze Anamorphic Supported
VENICE supports Anamorphic shooting and production with Super35 full height 2x squeeze Anamorphic.
Super35 17:9 and 16:9 Supported
Both 17:9 and 16:9 are natively supported by Venice.
ALSO NOTE: Some very good news is that your Super35 F55 sensor is visually compatible with VENICE due to the density of the pixels. If you shot a scene with both cameras side-by-side you should see extremely similar coverage.
VENICE streamlines your workflow by providing the first film industry 8-step servo-controlled Mechanical ND filter system. The 8-stage glass internal filters include a dual turret format (each circular turret holds 3 high-quality optical filters). The full list includes: ND0.3, ND.6, ND.9, ND1.2, ND1.5, ND1.8, ND2.1, ND2.4 in 1-stop increments (1/2 – 1/256). You can either dial in the filter selection directly on the camera or via remote control, with appropriate accessories.
This new workflow with filters on-board will help those using VENICE CineAlta on a gimbal. aerial device, or underwater housing when you cannot swap filters quickly.
NOTE: 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. Pretty sexy huh?
You can record simultaneously on VENICE to XAVC 4K and ProRes onto your (2) separate media cards.
With a firmware update, VENICE will record RAW or X-OCN simultaneously on the optional AXS-R7 Recorder and XAVC 4K internally.
To record 6K modes or Anamorphic (maximum resolution 6K Full Frame 6048 x 4032), you will need to purchase a separate license. Sony has mentioned that you can purchase licenses for limited timeframes, as opposed to the more standard 1-year format, so it is possible that you can purchase this coverage for only the one week or so during your production shoot schedule. An image of Sony’s resolutions, fps, and required licenses is included for your reference. More information will be forthcoming on this.
Note that your camera will come standard with:
3.8K 16:9 3840 x 2160 (22.8×12.8mm) *
4K 17:9 4096 x 2160 (24.3×12.8mm) *
* with projected speed up to 60fps, but not yet confirmed
Additional recording options are available with purchase of software license.
Very Modular & Beautifully Compact Form
The modular and compact form of Venice offers the ability to add on-board accessories with ease, plus use VENICE on your aerial devices, gimbals, Steadicam systems, or in handheld mode and in small spaces. VENICE offers mount points for your on-board monitors, wireless video, audio and lens control systems.
The top handle and viewfinder position are adjustable to maintain and ergonomic balance for each operator. The provided handle offers a T-shape design so you can cross your forefinger over for a more secure feel. In addition, there is a safety lock so you can slide the handle to where you want without removing it from the chassis. The handle includes multiple mount points on the top and sides of the handle.
The control buttons for VENICE are positioned for intuitive operation and are based upon research Sony did with camera operators while developing the camera. The buttons illuminate to help you in dark locations and on set.
Your monitoring abilities are improved by the addition of an extra HD output alongside the standard 4K-SDI.
Another huge plus to me is that any baseplate for your Sony F55 should fit on VENICE due to similarities in structure. The F55 is the same height from the camera bottom to the optical center. It also natelively fits an ARRI support system.
The bottom of VENICE includes a detachable shoulder pad so you can add a third-party soft shoulder pad. With the balancing options on this camera (the handle movement, your battery mounted on the rear to balance your heavier lenses) and the lightweight of this small camera body, the provided shoulder pad will do nicely for shorter handheld shooting.
Like all Sony cameras, the chassis on VENICE is engineered for harsh conditions. A ventilation system is isolated from all electronic components to prevent the introduction of dust, sand, and splashes. Swap out the silent fan on set, if needed.
Now the Viewfinder
The optional DVF-EL200 viewfinder on VENICE features a 1920×1080 resolution OLED panel with high contrast and the ability to focus and frame easily. It offers tool-free attachment and a LEMO connection. A rotary encoder delivers fast access to brightness, peaking, and contrast adjustments.
The optional viewfinder mount can be adjusted up or down and slid forward or back to accommodate different body sizes and camera configurations.
On to the Power and I/O
The Sony VENICE features a 24V power supply input/output and LEMO connector for standard camera accessories. Both inputs are located in the rear of the camera. It includes a DC Input (XLR 4-pin male), plus the option for DC battery input on a 5-pin connector.
1x XLR 5-Pin Female Audio Input (LINE/ AES/EBU / MIC / MIC+48V selectable)
1x BNC for Timecode Input
1x BNC for Genlock Input
1x LEMO 5-Pin Female AUX for Timecode Output
1x 8-Pin Connector for Remote, only available with firmware update
1x 12-pin Connector for Lens, only available with firmware update
1x 12V DC Output
2x 24V Fischer 3-Pin Output
4x BNC SDI Output for 12G, 3G, 1.5G-SDI
1x BNC HD Monitor Output for 1.5G-SDI
1x HDMI Type-A Output
1x Stereo Mini Jack for Headphone Output
1x USB Type-A
2x 4-contact for Lens Metadata (Cooke/i Technology protocol)
1x RJ-45 Type for Ethernet Network (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX)
Sony has thoughtfully included an Ethernet RJ-45 connection. Future plans of course call for more wireless instead of only wired options.
Your License Options in Varied Timeframes
As mentioned above, VENICE offers a currently unique chance to purchase optional software licenses for less than the normal 1-year format to accommodate production needs. Your VENICE camera will come standard with up to 4K 17:9 4096×2160 and with 3.8K 16:9 3840×2160. The other options of course can only be achieved with the purchase of optional Anamorphic License and Full Frame License. Future upgrades will target the asterisk items listed.
Well, at least some FREE Software
Yes you can color grade and transcode with FREE Sony Software: Catalyst Browse and RAW Viewer while using VENICE.
With Catalyst Browse you can browse files, view and edit metadata, watch video, apply color correction, create looks. You can transcode and copy files with this tool, as well.
This Free tool offers the ability to debayer RAW files, perform quality control over recorded files, and adjust your look with color grading. RAW Viewer also supports various control panels.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At launch, VENICE did not feature certain functions that will be added in V2.0, estimated for August 2018 or in V3.0, estimated for Winter 2018 release. Some of these are notated in the Technical Specs for your reference and are available with separate purchase.
August 2018 Estimated Firmware Additions:
Simultaneous RAW & ProRes
Imager Modes: 4K 6:5 Anamorphic, 6K 1.85:1, 6K 17:9, 6K 3:2 (with in-camera play back)
Independent MLUT select (several presets)
MLUT in off-speed shooting
Shooting Assist Functions: Look Around (Surround View), Dot by Dot Mag, Auto White Balance, High-Lo Key
Winter 2018 Estimated Firmware Additions include:
Imager Modes: 5.7K 16:9, 6K 2.39:1
Simultaneous XAVC 4K/QFHD & ProRes (Proxy only), and also RAW/X-OCN & XAVC 4K/QFHD
Cache Rec. (AXS, SxS)
Monitor Out Functions: ASC-CDL control, 6G/12G-SDI (for 4K 50/60p)
All in all pretty smokin awesome and at a price that is rock solid in the market to ensure this will be very much the GO TO CAMERA for many in the industry in one heck of a lot of varying productions and budgets! Overall? Well done SONY!