September 6, 2017

Sony's Top-of-the-Line CineAlta Full Frame 6K VENICE is Alive

Sony has officially announced its previously rumored VENICE, a new top-of-the line CineAlta full frame digital cinema system.

We're used to Sony using a somewhat inconsistent combination of letters and numbers for its camera naming (the F65, for instance, doesn't have a 65mm sensor, and the F5 and F55 and FS7 don't line up in a tidy row like one might hope), but the company has broken with tradition for its latest and greatest, which it has announced today will be called VENICE. With VENICE, Sony has developed a brand new full frame 36x24mm sensor as the centerpiece for the camera system, larger than the Super35mm sensor from the previous flagship the F65.  

Sony has developed a brand new full frame 36x24mm sensor.

The other key feature is the lens mount, which is PL-mount standard but can be swapped out for an E-mount. While there are a wide variety of PL mount full frame lenses available, this is a smart move for Sony, taking advantage of its tremendous selection of full frame E-mount lenses to broaden the available lens supply on launch. Support for /i lens data has been announced for the P- mount, with no indication of whether the E-mount will be smart and support lens data or auto focus yet. However, there are connector pins in the press images, which is a good sign.

Credit: Sony

VENICE (Sony appears to be pushing all caps and no definite article, like Concorde) works around existing and established CineAlta workflows, which means 10bit internal XAVC recording to SxS cards or 16-bit RAW X-OCN via an external recorder. Building on established workflows, lenses and accessories is a smart move while continuing to expand the sensor size and imager capabilities since it makes transition and integration easier for existing customers. 

Credit: Sony

In a throwback to the old days of working with Panavision behind the lens filters, VENICE is a digital cinema camera that has an internal 8 stage ND filter. Considering the high sensitivity of digital sensors, this is a great system to give filmmakers more control over aperture. It unfortunately is not the same continuous ND that the FS7 Mark II launched last year, but that system created a way to seamlessly ramp ND without color shift that would be interested in a digital cinema platform. However, any internal ND will help tremendously, especially when the camera is rigged to a gimbal, drone or crane and can't be easily reached for a filter swap.

Credit: Sony

The assistant display is now exceptionally similar to the Panasonic Varicam and Arri ALEXA interfaces (originally developed by Arri), which should make it easier for crews switching from platform to platform, with only RED continuing to push its own menu system at the high end. No price announced as yet, though it'll likely be expensive and generally a rental item. That being said, the flexibility of E-mount could make it an attractive reach purchase item for filmmakers depending on the budget. Some features will be licensed, meaning you'll need to pay extra to open up Anamorphic and 6K modes in the camera, but Sony will be offering those licenses in a variety of timeframes, as short as a week, which should make them affordable and perhaps an expense that can be covered for the production looking for those special formats. 

Credit: Sony

Planned shipping February 2018.  For more info check out www.sony.com/venice.

Tech Specs:

  • Full Frame 36x24mm sensor
  • 15 stops of dynamic range
  • 10bit XAVC, with 16bit X-OCN RAW external
  • 24volt power
  • Lemo plug for accessories
  • 4096x2160 to 60fps
  • 6038x4032 to 24fps, 4096x3432 Anamorphic available by license

Your Comment

17 Comments

Can't wait seeing how it compares to Alexa, Weapon and f65. I hope it's good enough to take some portion of high end cine share because it has gotten really stale with everything being shot on Alexa for the last seven years. And funny how they went from "8K" on f65 to 6K.

September 6, 2017 at 3:50PM

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The F65 was never 8K. It used a very specific sub-pixel pattern that enabled full color depth at 4K, similar to how an 8K sensor would allow the same.

September 6, 2017 at 4:45PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
809

It dind't have full color depth, only the luma equivalent of 8K sampling. But the color sampling was the same as any 4K camera.

September 6, 2017 at 4:48PM, Edited September 6, 4:49PM

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Rodrigo Prata
Director of Photography
180

I know it wasn't, that didn't stop their marketing guys saying it though.

September 7, 2017 at 5:50PM

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I can't wait either. I really like Sony stuff. Hopefully this will be some different on some more high-end productions.

September 6, 2017 at 4:50PM

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David Huxiley
Director
81

Nice camera tips!
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September 6, 2017 at 4:53PM

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what happened to the sub 10k$ camera they were working on? if they decided to turn it into a full production model and make it expensive then i feel cheated

September 6, 2017 at 6:01PM

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nigel kim
some joe shmoe
8

Hmmm... It doesn't have the high frame rates like their other CineAlta lines. I suspect it's the limitation of the full frame censor? Red seems to do fine with HFR in their VistaVision Weapon tho...

September 6, 2017 at 10:17PM

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Mida Chu
independent filmmaker
34

did they get rid of the global shutter ????. not sure if this would take away much of the huge dominance that the Alexa Mini currently has in cinema market /:

September 7, 2017 at 4:19AM, Edited September 7, 4:20AM

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I was at the event and they talked about this, and I was able to talk with a Rep after. The new sensor architecture has a new high speed readout that greatly reduces rolling shutter. I gave it a quick shake before their guy got a bit cross with me, looked pretty solid with a full frame image.

The camera is also rated at base EI 500 according to him, but has the ability to push up without introducing noise to a huge amount. Wasn't able to test this out though.

Also the Alexa Mini has a rolling shutter, a pretty bad one too imo. This camera weights like 8.6lbs and is TINY.

September 8, 2017 at 1:04PM, Edited September 8, 1:05PM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
625

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September 7, 2017 at 5:25AM

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that 26 pin port asks for what $1-2k cable?
are we still in the 90's?

September 7, 2017 at 6:15AM, Edited September 7, 6:16AM

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Ar
editor
8

1080p viewfinder - yes please! It's like robust HDMI cable so why not.

September 7, 2017 at 11:32AM

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Looks like they totally redone the color science in favor of a different hopefully more filmic look. This is actually great news. If you want to go after Alexa you have to have the right look right out of the camera.

September 7, 2017 at 7:04AM, Edited September 7, 7:04AM

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Kokles
189

Will we see it at work in Woody Allen's 2018 film?

September 7, 2017 at 11:00AM, Edited September 7, 11:00AM

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Looks really interesting. It's too bad that it does not include any slow-motion frame rates ( other than 60p ), but then I guess that is not what this camera is meant for.

September 7, 2017 at 2:04PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32195

But the Mini, Varicam, and Weapon have higher frame rates. Which really makes this camera seem odd, among other negatives

September 8, 2017 at 2:06AM, Edited September 8, 2:06AM

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