Sony Launches X-OCN Raw Codec To Compete With RED RAW

axsr7_others_160705_06-600x4512xBy James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

We all know how the faithful at RED love to use the RED RAW R3D codec to capture the most detail and image information as possible, without having to break the bank with an uncompressed data file. Now Sony wants in on that action, so they’ve created their own compressed Raw codec dubbed X-OCN. Can one proprietary codec take down another? No. But if you’re planning on shooting with a new Sony 4K cinema camera and AXS-R7 recorders, it’ll provide another tool for getting a great image.

“These new technologies answer the question of ‘why shoot in 4K 16-bit RAW’? And, demonstrate Sony’s commitment to the F5 and F55. Working in 4K RAW and High Dynamic Range (HDR) opens up new creative possibilities for production professionals who are not prepared to compromise on image quality.” – Ainara Porron, Marketing Manager, Cinematography, Sony Professional Solutions Europe

Much like RED RAW’s R3D files, Sony’s new X-OCN Raw codec provides 16-bit image quality at about about a 30% smaller file size than the current Raw Codec being deployed on the Sony F55, and half the size of Apple ProRes 4444.

It deploys a sliding scale algorithm that ups the encoding values with the raise in frame rate, so if you’re shooting in standard cinematic 24p, X-OCN will record at 661 mbps (389 Mbps for X-OCN LT) and all the way up to 3303 Mbps for shooting at a high speed frame rate of 120 frames per second.


Sony is always creative with their nomenclature, and X-OCN is no different. It stands for “Extended Original Camera Negative” and is a nod to the film camera emulsions of yesteryear. It was previewed at NAB, and Sony has steadily been tweaking the color balance performance and compatibility with industry standards. X-OCN is a wrapper for the MXF file format and can increase shooting time by 142% and decreate file transfer time by 59%. That’s pretty impressive.

Other Specs include:

  1. 16-bit encoding
  2. Similar to Sony’s F55 Raw format
  3. ST and LT variants
  4. ISO and Kelvin Balance post-processing
  5. Up to 142% shoot time, 59% transfer time
  6. MXF file format

“These newest additions and updates to our CineAlta platform are all the direct result of user feedback. It’s no longer about simply delivering a product. It’s about delivering the right products that can grow with a customer and fit within a workflow that is constantly evolving as production requirements change.” – Porron

But the real benefits of X-OCN are apparent when you consider that Sony’s other 4K format, XAVC, shoots in 10 bit color with a max of Class 480. Shooting in the LT version of X-OCN, you can get 50% better color and only user up 5Mbps more in the encoding rate. So the file sizes are quite manageable.

But it is another proprietary codec by Sony and it will likely only be available through the CineAlta platform. First on the list will be the the new AXS-R7 Video Recorder Designed for use with the F5 and F55 Cameras, the AXS-R7 will provide dual slot recording from Sony’s ACS cards. According to Cinema5D, the R7 has been delayed a bit, but should hit the market this Fall.

Hat Tip – NFS

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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