Sony FS7

PMW-F55

Sony F5

PMW-F5

Sony FS7

PXW-FS7

Sony FS7 II

PXW-FS7 II

Sony FS5

PXW-FS5 II

Alpha a7S II

Alpha a7S II

Click above for resources on specific Sony 4k camera models.


The brilliance. Without the baggage. Sony’s XAVC recording

Exquisite recording typically requires extreme bitrates, quickly filling up your cards, overwhelming your storage and bogging down your network. The answer is Sony’s clever XAVC encoding. Here’s the supple texture of 4K, beautiful super slow motion, extraordinary 10-bit contrast and precise 4:2:2 color—all at real-world bitrates. Here’s the quality you want with the savings you need.


Emmy® Award-winning DP Scott Shelley leans on the XAVC I codec for “Le Ride.”
Emmy® Award-winning DP Scott Shelley leans on the XAVC I codec for “Le Ride.”

Real-world ready

Today, it’s certainly possible to record uncompressed HD. But uncompressed can fall far short of real-world needs. Newsgathering, for example, requires the fastest possible file transfers in the never-ending race to be first to air. Documentaries and nature programs require long loads, rolling the camera for hours in pursuit of a single, telling moment. And reality TV is notorious for astronomical shooting ratios, making storage costs a constant concern. For all these reasons, Sony’s XAVC recording is an excellent choice not only for Acquisition, but also for Native Editing, Native Grading, Archiving and Program Exchange. For example, Discovery Communications has selected the Sony XAVC codec for 4K program submissions.


Joshua Napier, video production and studio manager at Ferguson, a Wolseley company, selected 4K XAVC-I recording for their Counter Training videos.
Joshua Napier, video production and studio manager at Ferguson, a Wolseley company, selected 4K XAVC-I recording for their Counter Training videos.

AVC-I, XAVC-L and XAVC-S recording

Sony originally introduced the XAVC codec in February 2013 with XAVC-I recording in the F55 and F5 digital cinema cameras. Since that time, we’ve vastly expanded the range of products that incorporate XAVC technology—and we’ve extended the technology itself to three different tiers of production.

  • XAVC-I. The Intra-frame only version delivers exquisite pictures. Using intra-frame compression means consistent quality, even in scenes with fast motion. The incorporation of highly advanced compression tools yields images of uncommon fidelity. Tech specs: MXF wrapper • 10-bit • 4:2:2 • Full HD at 89 Mbps (23.98p).
  • XAVC-L. The Long-GOP version takes advantage of the similarity among video frames to achieve even greater compression efficiency. You get stunning quality and extremely modest bitrates. Tech specs: MXF wrapper
    • 10-bit (HD) • 4:2:2 (HD) • Full HD at 50, 35 or 25 Mbps.
  • XAVC-S. The next-generation consumer video codec. Tech specs: MP4 wrapper • 8-bit • 4:2:0 • Full HD at 60 or 50 Mbps.

XAVC-L recording enables the Sony PXW-FS7 to capture more than eight hours of spectacular HD content on a single, 128 GB card.
XAVC-L recording enables the Sony PXW-FS7 to capture more than eight hours of spectacular HD content on a single, 128 GB card.

Long recording times

Productions must contend with a stubborn practical question: how long are the loads? That’s a critical issue for documentaries, natural history and reality TV. The magic of the XAVC codec, especially XAVC-L, is the ability to capture stunning 10-bit, 4:2:2 Full HD content at a budget-friendly 50, 35 or even 25 megabits per second. So you can record hour after hour of content on a single memory card!


The Sony PMW-PZ1 player accommodates SxS® cards and external USB 3.0 storage. It plays back XAVC-I and XAVC-Long content up to 4K 60p. XAVC-S, MPEG HD422 and MPEG HD (420) content will be accommodated with a firmware upgrade expected Fall 2015.
The Sony PMW-PZ1 player accommodates SxS® cards and external USB 3.0 storage. It plays back XAVC-I and XAVC-Long content up to 4K 60p. XAVC-S, MPEG HD422 and MPEG HD (420) content will be accommodated with a firmware upgrade expected Fall 2015.

Easy playback

While the encoding side of XAVC recording is sophisticated and processor-intensive, playback is relatively simple. You get the highest level of H.264 recording quality, with a very light burden on your playback hardware.


Editor Jess Bushyhead posted
Editor Jess Bushyhead posted “Le Ride” in Avid® Media Composer 7.02.

Robust interoperability

The list of XAVC workflow alliance members reads like a Who’s Who of the production industry: over 60 vendors and counting. Not only do you get widespread compatibility, but a growing number of applications also conduct native XAVC editing and native XAVC color correction—no transcoding required. The list of compatible systems keeps growing, as does the list of features supported by those systems. Check with your vendor for complete information.


The Power of the Proxy
For faster, even more convenient transfer and review, many productions love low-bitrate proxy video. Selected Sony cameras can generate proxy at the time of recording. For example you can record simultaneous XAVC along with MPEG 50 Mbps on the Sony F55 and the F5 (F5 requires CBKZ-55FX software license, sold separately). In addition, many Sony camcorders can accept the CBK-WA100 or CBK-WA101 wireless adapter, which enables simultaneous recording of MP4 proxy onto SD cards.
For your convenience, clip names, start frame and stop frames are all synchronized. The proxy includes time code. And the proxy playback is supported by many common industry apps.
Familiar file structure
If you’re currently using XDCAM® MPEG-2 recording, you’ll immediately recognize the XAVC file structure. Here is the same, simple MXF OP-1a wrapper. Audio and video “essence” is interleaved for simple, single file management.

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