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Sony F5 Digital Cinema Camera May Get a Newly Developed Codec Called XAVC

10.26.12 @ 1:00AM Tags : , , , , ,

We’ve already speculated a little bit about the possible new camera Sony will be announcing October 30, which may be the long-rumored F5 camera. Sony may be releasing an additional camera on that day, but it’s likely that whatever is announced will be 4K compatible, and that may also include a new 4K recorder that would work with the FS700 as well as any other Sony 4K cameras (besides the F65). Now Sony has reportedly been developing a brand new codec to replace or augment the XDCAM codec, called XAVC.

This is what Cinescopophilia said about the new codec:

Sony will drop TheNewF on the 30th of October along with a new recording format called XAVC. The F5 / F7 camera what ever it is, the F55 camera and the 4K external recorder and the SxS cards could happily sport the new Sony XAVC format. So one little piece of the F puzzle has been solved. The new XAVC format from Sony has been registered for use in video cameras, blank memory cards, memory card readers / writers, and also interestingly in digital still cameras as well.

So what exactly could this mean for Sony? The XDCAM codec was developed a number of years ago and is based on the MPEG-2 format. While this has served them well, MPEG-2 is more inefficient than MPEG-4 at equivalent bitrates, which explains why the AVCHD implementation in the FS100 and FS700 looks as good as it does, and why Canon believes 24mbps will be enough for most uses in their new C100. If this is true, it’s likely that based on the name, the new XAVC codec will be based on MPEG-4, just like AVCHD. The advantage to developing their own codec is that they can actually make it more efficient and tailor it to their cameras, just as Canon has done with their custom MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec on the C300 and other 1/3″ cameras.

Of course, this is all a bit of speculation, but a new codec specifically designed by Sony could be a good thing for saving space when bigger, less-compressed files won’t necessarily make a difference for the project. Whether this codec would actually replace XCDAM is unclear, but considering that XDCAM was introduced back in 2003, it was only a matter of time before Sony developed a newer, more efficient format.

We’ll find out soon enough (October 30th to be exact), and you can join Sony in a live webinar describing their new products on that date.


[via Cinescopophilia]


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  • sounds good to me.

  • Off Topic, forgive me. Why is there no “Home” link on this site? is it deliberate?

  • @ Jan du Preez RSA and Samuel H. Thanks.

  • Hopefully this is more like AVC-I than AVCHD…

    • Thanks for the link!

      Great so it’s a $20,000 camera with another $20,000 for a 4k recorder…is on board seriously windowed? It’s okay for the Red’s to be windowed at lower resolutions because you can still record the whole frame on board.

      The Epic and Alexa are popular because of their on board options…external recorders are a pain and are expensive. Eesh, Sony get a grip.

  • The amount of “information” camera publishers produce on codec formats is absurdly uninformative in terms of how it details the effectiveness of the codec. Canon’s DSLR H.264 implementations is the biggest proof of this with its 48Mbit datarate. Yes, it’s 8-bit, yes, it’s 4:2:0, but no manufacturer actually details the transform modes used in the codecs, the amount of P/B frames used (unless it’s intra only), or even the complexity level. Because of this lack of information, that particular implementation is quite bad for 48 megabits, meanwhile Blu-ray tops out at 40.

    Of course, I’m not being fair because BD encodes can take their precious time to encode with higher complexity, but one area that would be nice to see a focus on with regards to compression is increasing the buffer between the raw video and encoding hardware, along with an increase in encoding complexity.

  • XAVC=AFA – Another Fucking Acronym.

    George –