The British Society of Cinematographers Expo, or BSC Expo as it’s more commonly known around here is the UK’s premiere gathering of the latest and greatest in the world of motion picture equipment production show and it just wrapped its 2nd (and sadly final) day. In contrast to last years show, which was very well attended nonetheless, from just being there, I feel like this year’s edition felt more grandeur and even more packed, especially on opening day on Friday.
Of course, this year there were two major new announcements of the new Panavision DXL2 and the new ARRI Alexa LF which set the tone for the overall feel of the show – it’s kind of like the only place (in the UK at least) to get a chance to see helicopters with giant stabilized camera heads, state-of-the-art motion control gear, pristine optics from all major manufacturers and some that you may have never even heard of all under the same roof for a couple of days. Despite the small venue, BSC Expo felt even more epic this year. If you didn’t get a chance to go this year, make it a priority to pencil it down for next February.
With the DXL2 and Alexa LF announcements (and the new ARRI Signature Primes) it’s no wonder that full-frame or large format was one of the major topics of discussion among show attendees and exhibitors, and more importantly one that felt it had more weight than just a simple “resolution race” that I feel has been happening in the last few years.
Sony were of course in attendance with their crown jewel camera – the full-frame Sony VENICE, which is now getting some exciting new features in upcoming firmware v2.0.
Sony Venice on set of launch promo film
It isn’t out of the ordinary for a manufacturer to announce upcoming features for a “top of the range” product, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, representing a major investment on the part of rental houses, production companies and owner-ops, and in this regard I think that Sony have done an outstanding job with the Venice – the camera hasn’t shipped yet (it is due for release in February, so should be in the upcoming weeks) but potential owners and those who’ve already pre-ordered have a pretty good idea of what functionality is coming up in the near future.
I had a chance to chat about the upcoming firmware version 2.0 with Richard Lewis from Sony’s Pinewood office, which specializes in digital cinema cameras, and learned about a few new features coming to the VENICE platform. First of which is the new Dual Base ISO of 2500, which is in addition to the already announced base ISO of 500 making the camera even more appealing.
The VENICE will also have an 8 built-in ND filters (clear to ND 2.4) to help cinematographers achieve an even greater control over their images. False Color is also coming to the Venice in firmware 2.0; a feature that was originally envisioned for Firmware v3.0 later in 2019.
Learn more about what’s new in the VENICE in the video below from the show floor.
Below you can see the updated roadmap for the VENICE as it stand as of now February 2018: