Sony VENICE Firmware Update Will Include Advanced Rendering Transform Files

Sony’s VENICE cinema camera will get a new major firmware update, but it will not be available until this November.

On April 30, Sony announced that it will provide a new firmware update, version 6, for its VENICE digital cinema camera. Sony announced this news the same day it announced the firmware update for Sony FX9 full-frame digital cinema camcorder.

The firmware update will give VENICE, Sony’s flagship cinema camera, a number of new features, but will not be available until November. These new features include:

Comparison of Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) files (right) with current performance using .cube LUT (left).
  • Allowing the import of Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) files, which Sony says improves “monitoring picture quality and viewing options on-set.” These .art files can be generated by Sony’s RAW Viewer software, from users’ own 3D LUT files. Sony says .art files have improved picture quality compared to 3D cube LUT file and affect multiple processes in the video pipeline. Additionally, Sony says, it is collaborating with Technicolor and their award-winning color scientists to create a Looks Library for the VENICE camera, which “will be available online as a resource for creatives wishing to quickly access some of Technicolor’s premier established looks inspired by their cinematic history.” The upgrade includes the first 5 of these new Look .art files.
  • An expansion of HFR capabilities, including the following changes to the imager mode: The VENICE can capture video at up to 72 frames per second in the 4K 6:5 imager mode (for anamorphic lens operation) and in the 5.7K 16:9 imager mode. In addition, VENICE can shoot video with 3.8K 16:9 at frame rates up to 110fps. All three settings can simplify post-production of slow-motion especially for TV drama workflows that have quick turnarounds.
  • The ability to shoot with a second user frame line, which Sony says “lets cinematographers more easily take advantage of VENICE’s large sensor size to shoot for both horizontal and vertical distribution within the same composition.”
  • Improved 3D LUT monitoring – 3D LUT look can be fed to camera viewfinder
  • The ability to include gyro information in metadata, such as camera’s Tilt & Roll data, which can be referenced by VFX teams.

For more information on the firmware update, see the press release below.

[[ press release ]]

Sony Electronics Expands Filmmaking Versatility and Creative Freedom with VENICE and FX9 Full-frame Cameras Upgrades

PARAMUS, N.J. – April 30, 2020 – Sony Electronics Inc. will expand the capabilities of its digital motion picture camera VENICE and FX9 full-frame camera in 2020 to offer even greater expression and usability for cinematographers and their collaborators in production and post. These firmware upgrades build on the two platforms’ extraordinary image capture and color science. VENICE delivers more monitoring options and high frame rate and FX9 expands shooting as well as recording capabilities for content creators.

“Sony is committed to empowering filmmakers to fulfill their artistic vision with cameras developed by and for cinematographers,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging and Professional Solutions Americas, Sony Electronics. “Shooting capability and efficient workflow are key factors in the selection of camera. We listen to our customers and continue to enhance the functionality of VENICE and FX9 cameras to better meet their visual storytelling needs.”

Since its launch in 2017, VENICE has been used to capture more than 200 theatrical, broadcast, cable and streaming releases, including HBO’s “The Plot Against America” and sixteen other series premiering in March and April 2020. Regular firmware and hardware updates have been key to the wide adoption of VENICE.

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware will allow the import of Advanced Rendering Transform (.art) files that improve monitoring picture quality and viewing options on-set. These .art files can be generated by Sony’s RAW Viewer software, from users’ own 3D LUT files. Additionally, Sony is collaborating with Technicolor and their award-winning color scientists to create a new “look library” for the VENICE camera, which will be available online as a resource for creatives wishing to quickly access some of Technicolor’s premier established looks inspired by their cinematic history.

Another enhancement in VENICE Version 6.0 firmware is the ability to shoot with a second user frame line. This enables cinematographers to more easily take advantage of VENICE’s large sensor size to shoot for both horizontal and vertical distribution within the same composition.

VENICE Version 6.0 features also include:

  • Expansion of HFR Capabilities – up to 72fps at 7K 16:9 and 110fps 3.8K 16:9, which simplifies post-production of slow-motion especially for TV drama workflows that have quick turnarounds. In addition, up to 72fps at 4K 6:5 imager mode for Anamorphic lens operation.
  • Improved 3D LUT monitoring – 3D LUT look can be fed to camera viewfinder
  • Gyro information in metadata – camera’s Tilt & Roll data can be referenced by VFX teams

FX9 was launched in 2019 to bring full-frame imaging to “run-and-gun,” documentary, and independent productions. Employing the form factor, ergonomics and workflow of Sony’s FS7 and FS7II camera, FX9 brings color science from VENICE, and auto focus (AF) technology from Sony’s interchangeable lens camera, Alpha, to creatives desiring a small camera footprint.

Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware supports 4K 60p/50p recording through oversampling from a 5K cropped area of 6K full-frame sensor. Version 2.0 also enables output of a 4K 16-bit RAW signal to an external recorder with the optional XDCA-FX9 accessory. This additional bit depth beyond the camera’s internal 10-bit recording is ideal for projects requiring more intensive post- production.

Additionally, FX9 Version 2.0 firmware will expand the camera’s operability with Eye AF technology and touch screen operation for focus control and menu setting on the viewfinder:

FX9 Version 2.0 features also include:

  • 180 fps full-frame HD recording
  • 4K (4096×2160) DCI recording
  • Ability to load user 3D LUTs
  • HDR shooting function recorded in Hybrid Log Gamma

Version 6.0 of VENICE firmware is planned for release in November 2020, and Version 2.0 of FX9 firmware is planned for an October 2020 release.

For more information on Sony’s full-frame cinema cameras and entire portfolio of professional imaging and production solutions, please visit pro.sony.

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