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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Sony Introduces XAVC Recording Format to Accelerate 4K Development


Sony has today officially launched the new XAVC recording format that will be at the heart of its new 4K professional products. The company also announced the licensing program for the new format.

Sony's XAVC provides a dedicated 4K format that will encourage the adoption of 4K beyond feature films, in genres such as TV Dramas, Entertainment shows, Documentaries and Commercials.

As well as the widespread applications for the professional HDTV market, Sony has developed the XAVC format to enable the expansion of 4K content into the consumer market. XAVC has been designed to provide a future proof codec that can meet the requirements of the 4K content production and HD120P high frame rate shooting.

Sony's XAVC format employs MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 level 5.2, the highest picture resolution and frame rate video compression codec based on the industry standards. XAVC enables a very wide range of operational possibilities for content production, notably: From Proxy to 4K pixel resolutions, intra frame and long GOP schemes, and 1080 50P/60P infrastructure capability.

XAVC can support the following content formats:

- 4K (4096 x 2160 and 3840 x 2160), HD and proxy resolution
- MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression
- 12, 10 and 8 bit colour depth
- Up to 60fps
- MXF wrapping format can be used
- 4:4:4, 4:2:2, 4:2:0 colour sampling

The XAVC format has been supported by Sony's PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 4K professional cameras, which will be released in February 2013.

In addition, Sony plans to introduce the format to AV equipment for the consumer market. The consumer products will support shooting in 4K, editing, and viewing of 4K content.

XAVC has been developed as an open format, providing a license program for other manufacturers in the broadcast and production industry to develop their own high frame rate products.

Sony will start licensing of XAVC along with offering SDK and logo this month.

Sony says the following fourteen manufacturers' products will support the XAVC format and workflow:

- Non Linear Editors : Adobe CS6 with Rovi Total Code Plug-in installed, Avid, Final Cut Pro X , Grass Valley, Quantel, Rovi, and Sony Vegas Pro 12
- On-set dailies : Assimilate, Codex, Colorfront, FilmLight, MTI Film, and YoYotta
- Colour Grading : Assimilate, FilmLight, and Quantel
- Software codec : Rovi
- Codec board : Matrox


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