Compressed files with the benefits of RAW are hard to make, but Sony is going for it.
RAW file formats offer a lot of benefits: by skipping in-camera processing, taking the raw sensor data, and wrapping it into a file, you get the largest amount of information for manipulation in post. But RAW formats generally come with some pretty big files, which can add up to slower on-set downloads and post workflows. Sometimes, they are simply not worth the headache on productions without a lot of time to spare.
With the .r3d format, which uses wavelet compression, RED has long had a format offering the benefits of RAW with more manageable file sizes.
Now, with the new X-OCN format, Sony has created a product with a great combination of reasonable file size and impressive quality that it claims is visually identical to F55 RAW.
As you can see in the above chart, X-OCN is available in both ST (Standard) and LT (Light) versions, with LT coming in at about 1/3 the data rate of traditional RAW for the same settings. X-OCN stands for Extended Original Camera Negative; OCN was the technical term of yesteryear for the piece of film that went through the camera (hence "original camera," as opposed to the film that was duped or printed in the lab).
Sony is currently working with vendors to ensure maximum compatibility in the market for post pipelines. As with other RAW platforms, ISO and color balance will be adjustable in post.
X-OCN tech specs
- 16bit encoding
- ST and LT variants
- ISO and Kelvin Balance post-processing
- Up to 142% shoot time, 59% transfer time
- MXF file format