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PXW-FS7 & XAVC Workflow

PXW-FS7 & XAVC Workflow

Introduction to XAVC - XAVC workflow

The PXW-FS7 supports a variety of recording formats, including XAVC and MPEG-2 HD422. Add the XDCA-FS7 extension unit and the camcorder will also record Apple ProRes 422 and provide a RAW output for external recording. Two XAVC compression systems are provided, Intra Frame and Long GOP. Intra Frame supports high quality 4K or HD recording at high bit rate. Long GOP perfectly balances image quality with bit rate to allow Full HD recording for longer recording times.

Introduction to XAVC

XAVC is an open format based on the best of current codec standards. This innovative format gives maximum flexibility and creative possibilities for videographers, programme and movie makers not only during the capture, recording and production phase, but also during postproduction, editing, and archiving. XAVC offers a practical, high performance format broadcasters and videographers can rely upon for higher quality recordings with smaller file sizes and faster production cycles.

XAVC is designed to give you the freedom to work with the PXW-FS7 in the way you want and with the most efficient possible workflow.

XAVC technology is based on industry standard MPEG-4 AVC/H264 compression and uses the highest quality implementation of these standards. Two XAVC compression systems are provided with the PXW-FS7, Intra Frame and Long GOP. We explore these options in more detail below, but in general Long GOP is preferred where efficient storage is a requirement and the post-production chain is short. It provides smaller file sizes, but demands more processing for encoding/decoding to achieve this efficiency. Intraframe is preferred where there will be a longer post-production chain, for example with compositing, and compression on a frame-by-frame basis makes it easier to work with in this scenario.

Overall, XAVC is designed to give you the freedom to work with the PXW-FS7 in the way you want and with the most efficient possible workflow.

XAVC Intra 4096x2196 60P/50P 22/26 min*
  1920x1080 60P/50P 59/70 min*
XAVC Long-Gop 3840x2160 60P/50P 87/87 min*
  1920x1080 50M mode 262 min*

(*) Time is an estimate based on using QD-G128A memory card

Intra Frame compression 

Intra Frame compression provides the highest quality recording within the PXW-FS7 itself, and the camcorder can record 4:2:2 10 bit sampling at 4K, QFHD and Full HD with this compression system. With Intra Frame each video frame is compressed and recorded on its own at bit rates up to 600Mbps depending on the selected frame rate and resolution.

1GOP = intra-frame system. Compression only applies to 1 frame at a time for highest quality performance.

Long GOP compression

Long GOP compression balances recording quality with duration and media capacity to provide Full HD recording with 4:2:2 10 bit sampling. With Long GOP the video frames are compared during the compression process. In most video sequences each video frame is very similar to the previous and next frame. By essentially compressing only the difference between the video frames rather than the original frames, the compression system can significantly reduce the amount of data without significantly reducing quality. Furthermore the Long GOP system includes feedback loops that decompress the video frames to continually check the quality of the compression and make adjustments accordingly. Long GOP compression has been in use in many recoding formats based on MPEG-2 from XDCAM HD422 to DVD, but XAVC Long GOP, based on MPEG-4 AVC/H264, offers about twice the efficiency for high quality recording and long recording durations to the media.

Long GOP. Compression is applied across a series of frames, reducing storage requirements and increasing recording time.

Long GOP compression is so called because video frames are compressed in groups, hence the term GOP (Group of Pictures). Each GOP is about half a second long and starts with a single compressed frame that is not compared to any other frame. This acts as a starting point or reference for the rest of the GOP. All the other frames are compared during compression to reduce the about of data without reducing the quality.

XAVC workflow

The PXW-FS7 allows the recording format to be selected depending on the production project or shooting scenario. However, no matter what format or frame rate is selected, XAVC offers a proven, easy-to-use path through post-production. You can shoot, transfer, edit and export in a fast, simple workflow using all mainstream NLE systems for an extremely quick turnaround time. Alternatively, XAVC material be used as the backbone of an extensive post-production workflow for applications such drama and documentary with pre-editing, colour correction, editing and grading processes.

XAVC material is recorded within the PXW-FS7 to XQD media. This high performance media is capable of recording even the highest quality XAVC selected on the camcorder. The recorded material can be transferred to a non-linear editor or media server either directly from the camcorder via the USB connection to a computer, or by simply removing the media from the camcorder and using an XQD media adaptor connected to a computer.

Catalyst Browse™

Catalyst Browse is a free application from Sony that provides an easy path from the PXW-FS7 camcorder into post-production for all the FS7’s supported formats, including RAW, MPEG2 and XAVC. It can be used to manage recorded clips on the media, study and modify the clip metadata (labels associated with each clip), and make pre-editing decisions on the material quickly.

Supported applications

XAVC is supported by all the major non-linear suites, including Sony Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Grass Valley EDUIS PRO, Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro. Many other post-production tools and applications also support XAVC, from grading suites, clip management, and archiving solutions.

Software Products XAVC Intra XAVC Long GOP
(As of April 2015)
Premiere Pro CC Adobe® Y Y
EDIUS PRO 7 Grass Valley® Y Y
Media Composer 7.03/8.1 Avid® Y Y
Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Apple® Y  
Vegas Pro 13 MAGIX Software GmbH Y  

*Refer to individual NLE system for further details.

XAVC Format Supporters (Updated April 2015)

Download XAVC Workflow Guide [Version 2.0: March 2015. 5MB PDF]

Contact your local Sony Professional Solutions Specialist today to find out more