Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Shooting on 4K is fine as long as there is a way of outputting your 4K material onto your NLE. I have had to abandon my review of the Sony AX-1, 4K camcorder for various reasons.


The Sony AX1 delivers 4K footage onto XAVC S which cripples FCPX and takes a lifetime to transcode rendering it useless, a slightly better solution is to use PAVTUBE which still allows your 4K picture but converts into ProRes making it far more usable in FCPX.


The Sony AX1 also uses 4:2:0 8bit processing which still gives a fantastic HD picture but not a patch on the professional Z100 at 4:2:2 10bit camcorder.

Me-4K-tight-800 Me-4K-wide-800

These green screen shots are from the Sony AX1, the wider shot is the full 4K picture onto a 720 50p timeline the closer shot is a 156% enlargement from the same footage allowing you to re-frame shots as needed during an interview of PTC. This is a good use of 4K in an HD environment but only the latest MacPro is advised if you want to use “S” files natively.

I also discovered that XAVC S will not work from a Sony XQD card reader even with XQD drivers installed onto my iMac, only the camcorder with the mini USB cable attached allows you to transfer XAVC S footage !

So far I have had too many negatives using the XAVC S codec and have requested a Sony Z100 to review, I will keep you posted.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

3 thoughts on “Exploring a 4K workflow in FCPX

  1. The Sony XQD card reader installed with no problems on my PC and transfers quickly. XAVC-S or XAVC works fine in Sony Vegas Pro 12 or Edius Pro 7 on my PC with native files. Vegas will not play at full frame rate on my PC but reducing the preview resolution to draft will play at full 60P frame rate and Edius Pro 7 just about plays realtime with buffer hovering at 1 to 3. My PC is an i7 3770 running at 4Mhz most of the time with 16G RAM WIN7 64bit. Converting to Canopus HQX and it will run realtime of course in a multicam with 3 other tracks of AVCHD native files. I am still experimenting with my AX1 and it is definitely not a low light machine but good enough for my uses I think. It is about 1 or 2 stops slower than the NX5U depending on the available light. Difference gets worse as it gets darker.

    Ron Evans

  2. Great site. Love reading it. Hope it goes from strength to strength in 2014.
    I wonder if the new FCP X 10.1 update would help with this?
    It took me ages to really get into FCP X but once I did I tried going back to FCP 7 or Premiere and they just seem so old to me now. (and yeah this is coming from someone who had a Red One and fought all those transcode battles :-))
    Thanks again for the great content.

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