Sony keeps on refining its flagship camera, the VENICE. With an optional HFR (high frame rate) license this beast will be capable of shooting 4K at 120fps. The firmware 4.0 itself will be free of charge but the optional HFR mode will require a credit card swipe. Both updates will be available in June 2019.
When Sony releases firmware version 4.0 for its VENICE flagship digital cinema camera in June this year, it will come with an optional software module which requires some extra cash. While the cost is yet to be determined, the features are set already.
Sony VENICE 4.0
Sony is working closely with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment on their upcoming extension system (CBK-3610XS) which basically splits the camera in two pieces: the comparably tiny camera head and the actual camera (read: recorder) itself, tethered together via a single cable and up to 5.5m apart from each other. The system is currently being used to shoot the AVATAR sequels.
- Support for Cooke’s latest /i3 and ZEISS eXtended Data technology (which is based on Cooke /i Technology)
- 700 Protocol for remote controlling the VENICE
- extended Mask+Line setting in the Frame line set-up
- selectable functions for the assignable buttons of the DVF-EL200 viewfinder
- progressive HD-SDI output in 25p and 29p
With the newly developed 700 protocol, Sony is further expanding the camera’s existing remote-control capabilities. The VENICE now offers paint control, iris control, recording start/stop and clip control. This could be useful for multi-camera setups as well as live events.
Support for the Cooke /i3 and Zeiss eXtended Data protocols enables embedding the incoming metadata straight into a RAW/X-OCN/XAVC file or the HD-SDI output of the VENICE. Since there’s no need for dedicated metadata equipment this welcomed update helps reducing clutter around the camera on set. The embedded metadata speeds up and simplifies post production workflows for high end shoots.
Optional HFR Mode – 4K 120p
On top of the free to download firmware 4.0 there will be an optional HFR license key for purchase ($$ tbd). That HFR (high frame rate) key will unlock the following recording options on the VENICE:
- 120fps at 4K 2.39:1
- 60fps at 6K 3:2
- 110fps at 4K 17:9
- 75fps at 4K 4:3 anamorphic
Originally Sony planned to release just a 2k 120p mode but, as Sebastian Leske (Product Marketing Manager, Cinematography) claims:
Last year at Cine Gear Expo, we announced that Version 4.0 will include 120fps in 2K. However, we are excited to announce today that, as a result of the hard work of our engineering team, Version 4.0 will now include 120fps in 4K.
All High Frame Rates support X-OCN recording including X-OCN XT (not available for 6K 3:2 50p/60p ). High frame rates up to 60fps support XAVC 4K and ProRes recording, too.
Pricing and Availability
Both the firmware update 4.0 and the optional HFR license will be available in June 2019. Pricing on the HFR license is yet to be determined, the firmware itself will be free to download.
It’s nice to see Sony’s efforts in making the VENICE a better and more robust camera with every update. Other companies, however, like RED for example, deliver their cameras with everything there is (software-wise at least). No paid licenses are required in order to shoot 120 fps at 5K 2.4:1 with a RED Dragon-X 5K S35. Let’s see how much cash you have to spend for that HFR upgrade!
What do you think? Share your thoughts about the Sony VENICE and this update in the comments below!