November saw the launch of two major camera models, for two different segments of the marketplace: Sony announced the launch of VENICE 2 Digital Cinema Camera for the high-end cinema sector, and Blackmagic Design announced Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2, a next-generation professional broadcast camera. Here’s how each manufacturer described their new models.
Sony VENICE 2 Digital Cinema Camera
November 15, 2021 Today, Sony Electronics Inc. introduces the VENICE 2, the new flagship model and the latest addition to its lineup of high-end digital cinema cameras. The VENICE 2 builds upon the strength of the original VENICE with new features including a compact design, internal recording and the option for two different sensors: the newly developed full-frame 8.6K sensor or the original 6K VENICE sensor. The VENICE 2 also inherits popular features from the original VENICE including colour science, Dual Base ISO and 8-stops of built-in ND filters.
Paired with a newly-developed 8.6 K (8640 x 5760) full-frame CMOS image sensor, the VENICE 2 offers excellent image quality with 16 stops of total latitudei to capture beautiful images with excellent color separation and shadow detail. The camera also inherits its color science from the original VENICE which is highly regarded for its natural skin tones. The VENICE 2 8K CineAlta camera has a unique dual base ISO of 800/3200 which allows filmmakers to capture incredibly clean, film-like images under a wide range of lighting conditions. It supports everything from full-frame, full-frame anamorphicii to Super35 all at a minimum of 4K resolution, resulting in an outstanding and versatile camera system for cinematographers and productions.
To illustrate the strength of the VENICE 2 and its new 8.6K sensor, Sony worked with the industry’s top cinematographers to test the camera’s image quality on a few separate film shoots without using any professional movie lighting.
Award-winning cinematographer Robert McLachlan ASC, CSC, who has worked on highly acclaimed productions including Game of Thrones (for which he received two Emmy nominations), Westworld, and Lovecraft Country. McLachlan tested and filmed with the new 8.6K full-frame VENICE 2 in two countries and offered his reaction.
“I really wish we’d had a large format, 8.6K sensor like Sony VENICE 2 on my past work. It would have made it 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.”
Academy Award winning cinematographeriii Claudio Miranda ASC, ACC used the original VENICE and tested the VENICE 2 against the original in the pitch darkness of the California desert. He offered this assessment:
“The 3200 ASA is incredible. I think how clean it is – is definitely a big deal,” said Miranda. “In the film, there is still fidelity in the shadows, and the wide shots are pretty spectacular. There were no film lights on this shoot at all. There were just headlights of the car, the fire, and that was the point. It was to go to the middle of nowhere and put a big fire and see how far the new sensor could light up the mountain, without noise.”
Rob Hardy, BSC, ASC, the British cinematographer known for his ground-breaking work on Mission Impossible: Fallout, Ex-Machina and DEVS and winner of the BAFTA for cinematography for Boy A, amongst others also commented:
“I’m used to using the original VENICE and I would say, I am a pretty much an advocate of that camera. The opportunity to use VENICE 2 is actually a really fantastic one. This is the first time I’ve ever used that larger sensor, the 8.6K and we were lucky enough to get some anamorphic lenses that really set for the full cinematic effect and really utilized the whole sensor. The ISOs have been bumped up so that enables me to shoot at a higher speed in the low light levels which is something that wasn’t really an option before, and that’s the big gain for me.”
With the 8.6K sensor providing ample oversampling, images shot on VENICE 2 will benefit from less noise and enriched information in a 2K or 4K production. It also means the camera is well suited for VR, in camera VFX and Virtual Production setups, delivering an immersive experience and realistic images especially in combination with Sony’s high-contrast and large-scale Crystal LED displays.
Full Press Release from Sony
Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2
November 12, 2021 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2, a next-generation professional broadcast camera with 6K digital film sensor that brings digital film quality to both traditional and online broadcasters. The advanced 6144 x 3456 digital film sensor provides exceptional low light performance with dual gain ISO of up to +36dB as well as 13 stops of dynamic range. Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 also includes H.265 and Blackmagic RAW file formats, Blackmagic generation 5 colour science, as well as a USB-C expansion port for external disk recording, and more.
Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 is available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for $3,995.
The new Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 is an incredibly powerful camera designed for both traditional and online broadcasters. The 3 cameras in 1 design allows it to work as a 4K production camera, a 4K studio camera or a 6K digital film camera. It’s a perfect solution for broadcasters because it uses the lenses and batteries customers already own. Customers can record to common SD cards, UHS-II cards, CFast 2.0 cards or external USB disks, using common file formats such as H.265, Apple ProRes and Blackmagic RAW. This means it’s compatible with all video software and broadcast media management systems. Customers can even change the lens mount. No other broadcast camera is so flexible.
The large 6K sensor combined with Blackmagic generation 5 color science gives customers the same imaging technology used in digital film cameras. The 6K sensor features a resolution of 6144 x 3456 so it’s flexible enough for broadcast and digital film work. When using B4 lenses, customers get a 4K window of the sensor for Ultra HD broadcast use. Then if customers change to a PL or EF lens mount, they can use the full 6K resolution of the sensor for digital film. With 13 stops of dynamic range, customers get darker blacks and brighter whites, so it’s perfect for color correction. Using digital film in broadcast is a revolution in image quality.
The new URSA Broadcast features incredible low light performance so customers can shoot using ambient light or even under moonlight. The Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 features gain from -12dB (100 ISO) up to +36dB (25,600 ISO) so it’s optimized to reduce grain and noise in images, while maintaining the full dynamic range of the sensor. The gain can be set via a camera switch, the LCD menu or remotely using the SDI remote camera control protocol.
The URSA Broadcast G2 features a B4 broadcast lens mount that includes optics specifically designed to match the camera’s sensor. The B4 lens mount lets customers use modern Ultra HD lenses or lower cost HD lenses. Older HD lenses often feature resolutions well beyond HD, so customers get great quality at low cost. B4 lenses are fantastic because they are par-focal, so the image stays in focus as customers zoom in and out, so customers don’t need to constantly chase focus as they shoot. Customers also get full electronic lens control to adjust focus, iris and zoom using the camera’s controls, or remotely. Plus if customers want to use alternative lenses, they can change the mount to PL, EF and more.
URSA Broadcast G2 features high quality neutral density (ND) filters that let customers quickly reduce the amount of light entering the camera. The 1/4, 1/16th and 1/64th stop filters have been specifically designed to match the image sensor and color science of URSA Broadcast G2, providing customers with additional latitude and better colorimetry. This lets customers use different combinations of aperture and shutter angle, in a wider range of situations. The IR filters have been designed to evenly filter both optical and IR wavelengths, eliminating IR contamination. Plus the filter status on the LCD can be displayed as a fraction, number, or stop reduction.
Full Press Release from Blackmagic Design