Advanced Television

Sony Venice cameras for Avatar sequels

June 5, 2018

By Chris Forrester

James Cameron says he is working hard on his two Avatar sequels having selected Sony’s new Venice cameras for the production’s specific needs.

The camera options open to the production team, besides Sony, are believed to have included Black Magic units, as well as high-end Canon, Panasonic, Arri, and Red, with each having their adherents. However, Cameron has long been a fan of Sony cameras and has made extensive use of its CineAlta range in the past.

Cameron is working with 3D stereoscopic rigs – and cinematographer Russell Carpenter (who worked with Cameron on Titanic) – and there had been considerable industry speculation on which camera system Cameron would choose. It isn’t yet clear whether Cameron will also be shooting on IMAX cameras.

Principal photography will begin early next year, stated Sony in a June 1st statement, although performance capture is underway now.

Cameron says that he wanted high dynamic range and high frame rate options for the two movies, and the Sony Venice supports this flexibility.  Cameron gives the Sony kit, which was only released last September, some high praise, saying: “The Venice camera delivers the most astonishing image I’ve ever seen. The blacks are rich, deep and velvety, the highlights and source lights are amazingly bright. For the first time, we truly appreciate what the term high dynamic range means.”

Sony says it worked with Cameron’s Lightstorm production house to customize the Venice equipment for its specific needs, with regular meetings taking place between James Cameron, his production teams and Sony’s engineering group.

“Our goal in this ongoing co-development collaboration is to enable Lightstorm to execute their vision and deliver their unique approach to storytelling,” said Neal Manowitz, VP/Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “For Avatar, Venice will be put to use in very demanding environments. The camera’s Full Frame sensor gives them complete flexibility and freedom to choose aspect ratios, various bokeh and lenses that match their shooting requirements.”

Avatar 2 will be released December 18th 2020.

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