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Sony XAVC Recording Format Intends To Accelerate 4K Production

Posted by Cricket Capucci on November 5, 2012

The Formula for Evolution. Last week Sony released quite a few updates which we intend to explore over the next couple weeks, and as more information begins to roll out we will make sure to keep you updated. Sony knows that 4K displays are not consumer affordable…yet. Only individuals with heaps of expendable income will invest in the first generation of 4K monitors and televisions. The idea behind Sony’s October 30th announcement was to stir up some excitement for their upcoming 4K production lineup. Sony’s goal is to make 4K production affordable so that content creators will utilize the technology, and effectively stir a demand for 4K technology on a consumer level. At which point we should begin to see mass production of 4K television technology, allowing manufacturers to drop the prices into a more consumer affordable range.

XAVC is the latest compression codec Sony has created to keep up with new technology in video and film production. The new codec is geared toward 4k production but can still be found useful for 2k production. Beyond film production, Sony’s XAVC technology encourages other genres such as TV dramas, entertainment shows, documentaries and commercials to adopt the format.

“The new XAVC format underlines Sony’s commitment to bringing high-quality content to the consumer market,” said Takao Yoshikawa, Senior General Manager of Content Creation Solutions Business Division, Professional Solutions Group, Sony Corporation. “The quality of HDTV programming originated in 4K is simply stunning and will allow both broadcasters and the production community to build a future-proof catalogue of high-end content, now.”

This is a very smart move for Sony. The XAVC codec certainly gets 4k workflow one step closer to broadcast efficiency and pledges to the content creators that this will be the evolution of broadcast television. Sony employs the XAVC format with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 level 5.2; this complies with the highest picture resolution and frame rate based on industry standards.

Sony’s 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 color depth
  • MXF wrapping format can be used
  • 4:4:4, 4:2:2, 4:2:0 color sampling
  • Up to 60fps

It is important to note that Sony has developed the XAVC format as an open format. Through a licensing program, manufacturers in the broadcast and production industry can develop their own high quality and high frame rate products. Fourteen manufacturers have already made plans for future products to support Sony’s XAVC format and workflow.


Adobe CS6
Final Cut Pro X
Grass Vally
Sony Vegas Pro 12

The smart folks over at Studio Daily have hinted that we might see a firmware update even before the products are released. Sony has not made any mention of it, but it is possible for NAB 2013 we could see an upgrade that would enable 8K x 4K, 6K x 3K, and 8K x 2K for the entire 4K production collection.

Watch 4K resolution videos get retouched like still images.

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