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09-22-2023 - Gear

The BURANO: At a Glance

By: Oakley Anderson-Moore

Want the image quality of Hollywood's favorite cinema camera but with rugged features like autofocus, IBIS, cache recording, and electronic variable ND? Yes, but make sure it comes in a compact body!

On a normal day, these would sound like very unreasonable demands.

However, that’s exactly what Sony Engineers have delivered with the Sony BURANO.

It’s an 8.6K full frame sensor with color science and many features that match the Sony VENICE 2. In fact, the camera gets its name from the small Italian island of Burano, located off the Venetian Lagoon. Just like the colorful little island, the Sony BURANO camera is the smaller offshoot of the world-renowned VENICE 2. 

A few weeks ago, I was excited to get an early release of the BURANO in my hands. It’s solid as heck, the image quality is exceptional, and it features an array of incredible features, including those that I’ve grown quite fond of in the Cinema Line. After chasing dragonflies and bald eagles across a dramatic (and rapidly changing) cloud streaked sky above some soggy wetlands, I was giddy with the possibilities of what this camera can do.

Watch the introduction video and check out these five things you should know about the new BURANO:

It’s smaller and lighter than the VENICE 2

The BURANO has a lightweight and compact body meant for high mobility. It’s an inch shorter and more than three pounds lighter than the VENICE 2. And despite its smaller overall footprint, the camera is incredibly rugged. It’s housed in a tough magnesium chassis, so it will thrive in the studio or in the most challenging environments alike.

To show off the mobility and cinematic look, Director Unjoo Moon and Academy award-winning Director of Photography Dion Beebe ACS, ASC used the BURANO to create the spirited dance battle launch film “Original.” There are so many possibilities that come with this camera, and that’s the impression we get from Moon about her experiences using it:

“The whole spirit of this camera is about originality and about giving the creator freedom.” 

It has an 8.6K full-frame sensor designed to match the VENICE 2

The BURANO sensor features Dual Base ISO 800/3200 and 16 stops of dynamic range. Of course, it’s not the same sensor as the VENICE 2! The BURANO has its own unique modified sensor that allows for features like autofocus. However, the color science matches the VENICE 2 and the Cinema Line, so you can cut between it seamlessly with any of those cameras.

In fact, Academy award-winning Director of Photography Dion Beebe ACS, ASC tested the combination of VENICE 2 and BURANO in “Original” for exactly that reason. Here’s what Beebe had to say about the experience working with both cameras:

“We were in a very stretched dynamic range purposefully, and for me that was very much part of what I wanted to see both in the VENICE 2 and in the BURANO. Moving through the edit, you really were not aware that you were moving from the VENICE 2 sensor to the BURANO sensor back to the VENICE 2. That compatibility, across the dynamic range, color interpretation and all of those things are important when I’m putting a package together and trying to complement a bigger sensor camera, like the VENICE 2. These two sensors, these two looks, really fall in line with one another.” 

It fills an important gap between the FX9 and the VENICE 2

The VENICE 2 is still Sony’s top of the line digital cinema camera, but now there’s a CineAlta line camera below it. Award-winning wildlife and natural history director and cinematographer Danny Schmidt has been a Sony camera owner and operator for nearly a decade. As a current FX9 and FX6 owner and operator, he shared his experience with the BURANO: 

“This camera is a big level-up from the FX series for me. The noise and the grain are beautiful. The image is cinematic and it’s inspiring to look at. I immediately loved the form factor. It was a size that looked to me just slightly larger than an FX6, a modular camera that has a lot of possibilities. I can put it on a long lens, hang it from an easy rig, or rig it up for shoulder mounting. I see this being my primary camera.”

What makes the BURANO unique

The BURANO is historic in many ways. At the top of the list, the BURANO it is the only PL-mount camera in the world to date to feature IBIS! In the past, if you wanted creative stabilization (like handheld) while using cinematic PL-mount lens, some compromise would have to be made to avoid camera shake. Now, cinematographers can get creative with movement while shooting with a PL-mount lens thanks to Sony’s incredibly advanced image stabilization!

The BURANO also offers cache recording anywhere from 5 to 73 seconds depending on the settings. That’s an absolute boon for anything from action sports to wildlife, where cinematographers live on the edge of quick movement that can never be repeated.

And of course, don’t forget the electronic variable ND filter which goes from 0.6 to 2.1 that sets this camera firmly into high-end territory, giving cinematographers the maximum control over exposure and depth of field in any condition.

Flexible recording formats for every filmmaker

While some projects will require shooting in full 8.6K at 16 bit to get every last bit of data for Post, for other shoots that might be overwhelming. The BURANO was designed to accommodate a spectrum of needs. It can record in Sony’s X-OCN LT for the opportunity to shoot in 16-bit RAW. It can also record a variety of XAVC video codecs, including the new XAVC-H. Combined with thoughtful codec choices that maximize bitrate and space, the BURANO gives you the ability to shoot HD to 8K.

If you want to see a rundown on all of these features and more, watch the introduction video above. As I conclude in the video, with the BURANO, the sky is the limit!

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