V2.0 Firmware Upgrade Is Coming One Month Early
Sony hit the gas at Cine Gear, announcing a serious new customer for the Venice — James Cameron, whose Lightstorm Entertainment is set to shoot the director’s Avatar sequels with the Venice — and accelerating the development schedule for the camera.
Sony revealed the Venice Extension System, a technology concept enabling modular operation of the Venice, with the sensor block separated from the rest of the camera body by a 10-foot or 20-foot cable. The extensions will allow multiple Venice cameras to be used in stereoscopic 3D rigs during the production of the Avatar films by reducing the on-board weight to about three pounds per sensor block and improving ergonomics. Sony reps said feedback from DPs at Cine Gear will be taken into account as the Venice Extension System continues through development.
The company also accelerated the scheduled release of the next major firmware update for its Venice cinema camera. Users will have access to a broader range of frame rates and imaging modes in the first part of July, about a month earlier than expected.
“The Avatar sequels will be among the first feature films to use the new Venice extension, but it also has tremendous potential for wider use with handheld Steadicams, drones and gimbals, and remote mounting in confined places,” said Sony’s Peter Crithary, marketing manager, motion picture cameras, in a prepared statement.
The Avatar sequels are set to begin principal photography in the first quarter of 2019, but performance capture is happening now, Sony said, using Alpha mirrorless cameras, PXW-Z450 and PXW-X320 camcorders, and the RX0. Sony F55 and Alpha cameras are being used for behind-the-scenes footage and still capture.
V2.0 Firmware Due in July
Venice v2.0 firmware is now scheduled to arrive early in July, rather than August, giving DPs variable frame rates between 1 and 60fps as well as additional frame formats, including 25p acquisition in 6K full-frame and 4K 4:3 anamorphic modes as well as 6K 17:9 and 1.85:1 shooting modes and 4K 6:5 anamorphic. (6K 2.39:1 is planned for a future update in 2019.)
The July update will also enable E-Mount support, 3D LUT uploads, wired LAN remote control, and dual-base ISO mode (500/2500), among other improvements. High frame rates, on the other hand, are still on the distant horizon. Sony is targeting speeds of up to 60p in 6K full-frame 3:2, up to 90p in 4K and up to 120p in 2K. That optional (read: paid) upgrade is currently on track for spring 2019. “That doesn’t mean it can’t happen earlier, but the targeted timeline is spring 2019,” Sony’s Peter Crithary said, cautiously, during a pre-Cine Gear press briefing.
Sony also revealed a working version of the new Teradek Bolt system first mentioned on-stage at Sony’s NAB 2018 press conference that’s designed to dock on the Venice camera body. Since no cable connections are required to get the camera’s signal into the Bolt when it’s docked, it will free up SDI and/or HDMI cable connections for other uses.