MXF is a kind of file format that are mainly recorded by some digital camcorders like Canon XF camcorders: Canon XF100, XF105, XF300, XF305, C300, Panasonic P2 camcorders: Panasonic AG-HVX200, AG-HPX170, AG-HVX250, Sony XDCAM camcorders: Sony PMW-100, PDW-F800, PDW-700 etc. Then, how do you know about MXF?
Below, we will discuss top 9 MXF related FAQs:
Q 1: What is MXF?
A: Material eXchange Format (MXF) is a “container” or “wrapper” format which supports a number of different streams of coded “essence”, encoded with any of a variety of codecs, together with a metadata wrapper which describes the material contained within the MXF file.
MXF has been designed to address a number of problems with non-professional formats. MXF has full timecode and metadata support, and is intended as a platform-agnostic stable standard for future professional video and audio applications.
Q2: Why MXF was developed?
There are many file formats in existence today, examples include: AVI and MOV (QuickTime). These formats and many others continue to do an excellent job but they do not address the complex requirements of the professional television industry.
The ability to package multiple clips within the one file,
The ability to determine through metadata how that file should be read (simple sequence or play list)
Modular and open construction to enable continuous development with new content and metadata types
Extensive deployment of metadata to facilitate media management in an enterprise environment
Structural Metadata to improve efficiency accessing and manipulating very large media files
Q3: Who produced MXF?
As of Autumn 2005, there were major interoperability problems with MXF in broadcast post-production use. The two data-recording camera systems which produced MXF at that time, Sony’s XDCAM and Panasonic’s DVCPRO P2, produced mutually incompatible files due to opaque subformat options obscured behind the MXF file extension.
In 2010 Canon released its new lineup of professional file-based camcorders. The recording format used in these camcorders incorporates MPEG-2 video with bitrates up to 50 Mbit/s and 16-bit linear PCM audio in what Canon has called XF codec. Canon claims that its flavor of MXF is fully supported by major NLE systems including Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Grass Valley EDIUS
Q4: What can MXF do?
MXF is a versatile file format which can perform a number of tasks. It can:
1. Store simple completed works with metadata (tape replacement);
2. Store files in a streamable format which allows viewing while transferring;
3. Wrap up a playlist of files and store the synchronization information;
4. Wrap any compression format;
5. Store cuts-only EDLs and the material they act on
Q5: How is MXF related to AAF
Advanced Authoring Format (AAF) is an industry-driven open standard for multimedia authoring and postproduction.It enables content creators to easily exchange digital media and metadata across platforms and between applications. It simplifies project management, saves time and preserves valuable metadata that was often lost in the past during media transfers.
MXF is derived from the AAF data model and is a simple interchange format, primarily to facilitate the transfer of finished content, whole programmes or completed sections, between servers and to tape streamers.MXF also helps with the migration of playout operations and simpler production systems into standard networked environments.
Q6: How is MXF related to IMX?
A: IMX2 is a brand name from Sony and is used to denote their products that support “MPEG D10 format and/or D10 Steaming” (SMPTE 365M and 356M) at 50 Mb/s rates (and 30, 40 Mb/s too for some products). For example, the Sony MSW-2000 series is an IMX branded VTR that supports the MPEG D10 tape format. D10 Streaming is a constrained form of I-frame only MPEG2 specifying that each I-Frame has the same exact number of bytes of data. The format is very VTR friendly. This MPEG format is also the compression standard carried in SDTI-CP links (SMPTE 331M). IMX is not a file format or a compression format — it is a brand mark.
Q7: Will MXF replace existing file formats already in wide use?
A: Probably not for some time. To paraphrase Isaac Newton, “Objects in motion remain in motion and objects at rest remain at rest unless there is an external force to change their state”. Sir Isaac did not have MXF in mind when he penned his famous Law but the spirit of his grand idea also applies to file formats. With literally millions of MPEG Program Stream, AVI, GXF, QT, and DIF (DV) files resting comfortably on hard drives and tape archives, it will take a mighty force to convert all these to MXF any time soon.
MXF will be employed first in new equipment designs, and upgraded versions of A/V servers and NLEs. MXF will be used as an archive format too. But legacy archived formats will need to co-exist until they are completely converted to MXF. So, the diffusion of MXF into a facility will take time.
Q8: Does MXF support both stream and file transfer?
A: Yes, stream and file transfer means are both supported for transmitting “content” from one source location to one or more end locations. Both have their application space and will co-exist. Files and streams have distinct pros and cons in terms of usage;
1) Delivery over non-isochronous networks (ex: Ethernet or LANs)
2) Delivered 100% reliably using protocols such as FTP
3) Asynchronous rates of delivery including slower and faster than “real time”
4) Point to point or point to multipoint delivery
1) Material sent as a stream of data “over the wire” at a specified rate to one or more end stations usually over an unacknowledged, unreliable, protocol (Ex: UDP). Although it’s possible to stream using the reliable TCP method, this is impractical for many streaming applications.
2) Streams are normally sent with a clock reference allowing for immediate decoding at the end stations.
3) Errors in the channel may be corrected using optional ECC or some other form of forward error correcting method.
File transfer has the edge for most applications since it guarantees 100% reliable delivery.
Streaming is normally “best effort” and is used when real time delivery is necessary.
Q9: How to edit MXF?
Sony’s XDCAM MXF is supported by Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro via XDCAM Transfer and MXF4Mac, Autodesk Smoke, Avid, Dalet, Front Porch Digital, Harris, mxfSPEEDRAIL, Omneon, Quantel, Rhozet, Sony Vegas Pro, Sorenson Squeeze Telestream FlipFactory, Thomson Grass Valley GrassValley EDIUS and K2.
Panasonic’s P2 MXF is supported by Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Dalet, Autodesk Smoke, Avid, MXF4mac for Final Cut Pro, mxfSPEEDRAIL and P2Soft from OpenCube Technologies.
Canon claims that its flavor of MXF is fully supported by major NLE systems including Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Grass Valley EDIUS.
Tips: If you need to edit MXF file in a video editing applications which natively didn’t work with MXF files, then, you need a MXF Converter to convert MXF file to any format you need.