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Sony Unveils Venice 2

ASC cinematographers Rob McLachlan, Claudio Miranda and Rob Hardy were among those who put the new 8.6K sensor through its paces in the field.

ASC Staff

ASC cinematographers Rob McLachlan, Claudio Miranda and Rob Hardy were among those who put the new 8.6K sensor through its paces in the field.

Sony Electronics, Inc., has introduced the Venice 2 CineAlta, the latest addition to its line of high-end digital-cinema cameras.

The new model builds upon the original Venice with new features that include a compact design, internal-recording capability and the choice of two different sensors: a new, full-frame 8.6K (8,640 x 5,760) sensor and the original 6K Venice sensor.  The Venice 2 also inherits features from its predecessor, including color science, dual-base ISO and eight stops of built-in ND filtration. 

The Venice 2 offers 16 stops of total latitude to capture images with excellent color separation and shadow detail. The unique dual-base ISO of 800/3,200 allows filmmakers to capture clean, film-like images under a wide range of lighting conditions. 

To showcase the Venice 2 8K model, Sony asked some of the industry’s top cinematographers to film with it without using any professional movie lighting. Among them were ASC members Rob McLachlan, Claudio Miranda and Rob Hardy.

“I really wish we’d had a large-format 8.6K sensor like Sony Venice 2 on my past work,” says McLachlan (pictured above), whose credits include Game of ThronesWestworld and Lovecraft Country. “It would have made [the images] feel even more epic and, at the same time, more engaging thanks to the increased resolution, richness and dimensionality. The increased speed, cleaner highlights and shadows, together with the potential for super-shallow depth of field, would have been a huge asset.” 

Here is McLachlan’s Venice 2 project, Homecoming: 

Miranda, whose credits include Top Gun: Maverick, tested the Venice 2 against the original Venice in the pitch darkness of the California desert. “The 3,200 ASA is incredible,” he notes. “How clean it is definitely a big deal. There is still fidelity in the shadows, and the wide shots are pretty spectacular. There were no film lights at all on my shoot, just car headlights and a fire.”

Hardy, whose recent credits include Mission: Impossible - Fallout and Devs, notes, “I’m an advocate of the original Venice, and this was the first time I’d ever used the 8.6K sensor. We were lucky enough to get some anamorphic lenses to achieve the full cinematic effect; we really utilized the whole sensor. The ISOs have been bumped up, which enables me to shoot at a higher speed in low light levels. That’s the big gain for me.”

With the 8.6K sensor providing ample oversampling, the Venice 2 is well suited for virtual reality, in-camera VFX and virtual-production setups.

“We’re so pleased to have seen the success of the original Venice over the last four years,” says Neal Manowitz, president and COO, Sony Electronics, Inc. “Based on our conversations with cinematographers and production companies, we recognized an opportunity to improve by leveraging many of our latest imaging and sensor technologies.”

The Venice 2 offers compatibility with a wide range of lenses, including all PL mount and Sony E-mount. Approximately 10 percent lighter and 1.7" smaller than the Venice chassis, the Venice 2 chassis allows internal recording of X-OCN and Apple 4K ProRes 4444 and 422 HQ without the AXS-R7 recorder.  For even more flexibility, users can interchange the image-sensor block to work with the original 6K sensor block if they wish. (The 6K sensor will allow higher frame rates.) The camera body automatically recognizes the change and will start up without any firmware exchanges or re-installs. 

 The camera leverages new, high-speed 6.6 Gbps AXS card AXS-A1TS66 for 8K 60p recording. Existing AXS Memory Card Readers, including AXS-AR3 via Thunderbolt 3 interface, are compatible with the new media.

 Other updates to the Venice 2 include: 4K output with LUT applied, improved 3D LUT processing, EI changes directly applied to S-Log3 outputs, LUT/ASC-CDL control via Ethernet/Wi-Fi and Zoom to Fit (full-frame recording with 17:9/16:9 monitoring) operation.

The Sony Venice 2 with 8.6K sensor will start shipping in February 2022, and the Venice 2 with 6K image sensor will start shipping in March. The Venice 2 6K can be used with the existing Venice Extension System. An Extension System for Venice 2 8K will be released by early 2023.  

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