Editing Sony's XAVC-L codec, eg from the Fs5 camera

By DoP John Hoare

XAVC-L is a flavour of Sony's flagship codec XAVC. The "L" stands for Long GOP; the Fs5 camera in HD records it at 50mbps 10-bit.

I have uploaded a couple of (mute) short clips recorded in XAVC-L for editors to test. Download this zip-file. It unzips to a folder which has the file-structure of a card as copied off the Fs5 or Fs7. You can view it's contents by navigating to it within Catalyst Browse, etc.

Macs will only recognise XAVC-L if they've been updated to at least Pro Video Format 2.0.4. (Pro Video Format is the Mac OS's engine for handling video). Free download from the Mac App store. If you update to the latest Mac OS (El Capitan at the time of writing), that will also install the necessary.

You will also need an up-to-date version of Final Cut X before it will recognise XAVC-L; my version 10.2.3 from December 2015 works.

When ingesting XAVC-L into FCPX, I recommend you use FCPX's Create Optimized Media and Create Proxy Media options; this converts the footage to FCP-friendly ProRes. Long GOP codecs need more processing power than Intraframe ones; this is not noticeable with simple edits in HD on moderately powered systems, but slows things down if you are using keying, effects, etc.

Or, if you are still on FCP7 you can use Sony's Catalyst Browse to convert XAVC-L to MOVs (see below).

Premiere Pro CC:
Supports XAVC-L natively.

Install this Sony plugin: provides support for XAVC and XDCAM.

Catalyst Browse:
Highly recommended for checking any Sony rushes. You can download it free here. It inputs XAVC, XDCAMHD and Sony Raw , grades them, applies LUTs; and outputs XAVC, H.264, Pro Res (Mac Only), DPX, Open EXR.