If you are running the latest Mac Sierra OS the recent Pro Video Formats update, version 2.0.5 adds the ability to play back MXF OP1a files in Quick Time Player without the need to transcode.
You can also preview MXF files in the finder window directly! This is a big deal and very welcome, finally you don’t need special software to play back files wrapped in one of the most commonly used professional media wrappers. Of course you must have the codec installed on your computer, it won’t play a file you don’t have the codec for, but XAVC, ProRes and many other pro codecs are include in the update.
At the moment I am able to play back most MXF files including most XAVC and ProRes MXF’s. However some of my XAVC MXF’s are showing up as audio only files. I can still play back these files with 3rd party software, there is no change there. But for some reason I can’t play back every XAVC MXF file directly in Quicktime Player, so play as audio only. I’m not sure why some files are fine and others are not, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. Why it’s taken so long to make this possible I don’t really know, although I suspect it is now possible due to changes in the core Quicktime components of OS Sierra. You can apply this same Video Formats update to earlier OS’s but don’t gain the MXF playback.
It’s been possible to create XAVC files from Abobe Premiere for a little while but until today I have never managed to create a file that will actually play back in a Sony camera. Today however I finally have it working.
So what do you need to do to make it work? First of all make sure you have the correct versions of the software. You will need Adobe Premiere CC version 7.2.1 and Adobe Media Encoder CC version 18.104.22.168 or later. In addition you will want Sony Content Browser version 2.2 or later.
Complete you edit as normal in Premiere, then go to “Export” “Media” to open the export dialog. Under “Format” choose “MXF-OP1a”.
Make sure the “Export Audio” check box is ticked.
Under the “Video” tab for the encoding properties use the “video codec” selector to choose the type of XAVC you want. Currently you can select between HD, 2K, 3840×2160 and 4096×2160 (remember an F5 can only play back HD or 2K). Then select the frame rate you desire.
Now go to the Audio tab. The audio codec should be “uncompressed”. Under the “Basic Audio Settings” you need to select the following:
Channels: 8 Channel
Sample Size: 24 bit
At this point it is probably a good idea to save your settings to create a preset for XAVC to save time next time you want to export an XAVC file.
Now either use the direct export button to render your XAVC mxf file or use the queue button to add it to the render queue in Media Encoder. I find Media Encoder faster, so normally use the queue function.
Once the clip has rendered, you are done with Premiere and Media Encoder. Now you need to open Sony’s Content Browser.
Format an SxS card in the camera and either insert it in your card reader or connect the camera to the computer via USB. From within Content Browser select the root folder of your SxS card (the card itself, not any of the folders on the card). Then either right click on the card or go “File” – “Import”. Now navigate to the folder where you saved your freshly rendered XAVC file and click “Start”. The clip will be copied to your SxS card and the appropriate XML files and other data added. Once done, eject the SxS card and put the card in the camera or disconnect the USB cable from the camera (use the proper “Eject” function first) and you should then be able to play back the clips in camera (make sure the camera frame rate matches that of the clips).
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.