Reading MXF Files

ch3 mxfThere are a huge variety of MXF types and directory styles.  This article goes through some of the most common types, and describes how Drastic DDR (hardware disk recorders), MediaNXS (HD-SDI I/O software), DrasticPreview (VGA/DVI professional media player), DrasticPreview Pro (HD-SDI media player with test and measurement), MediaReactor Workstation (Adobe/Apple/Avid/Scratch plug ins), MediaReactor (file translation and transcode) and most other Drastic products work with them.

MXF File Overview

There are a couple of major MXF types (operational pattern, vendor specific, extended specification) that give a basic description of a clip's layout.  In reality, there are many variations on them that are quite different and mostly incompatible.  Drastic's MXF reader attempts to read all the sub types by detecting the file flavor on initial read.  If you run into a file we cannot read, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we may add it to our reader, if possible.

 

  • SMPTE 390M: OP-Atom (a very simple and highly constrained layout for simple MXF file
  • SMPTE 378M: OP-1a (Single item, single package)
  • SMPTE 379M: MXF Generic Container
  • SMPTE 391M: OP-1b
  • SMPTE 392M: OP-2a
  • SMPTE 393M: OP-2b
  • SMPTE 407M: OP-3a, OP-3b
  • SMPTE 408M: OP-1c, OP-2c, OP-3c
  • Digital Cinema:  DCI/DCP
  • AMWA:  AS-02, AS-03
  • SMPTE 336, SMPTE 381M, SMPTE 382M, SMPGE 422M, SMPGE 429, ISO 26429, SMPTE 434, P2 Spec

 


AJA KiPro (Avid mode)

See:  Avid MediaFiles MXF

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Alexa DNxHD MXF

See:  Avid MediaFiles MXF

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AS-02

Supports most standard essences and up to 32 channels of audio

The AS-02 standard uses an OP1b file to point at a series of essence MXF files in a media directory and XML to store extended metadata.  To load these files, simply select the sign post file in the directory above the video directory, or the video file in the media directory which will be the MXF file that ends with a '_0':

  • Directory
    • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs.mxf
    • extra
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs.xml
    • media
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs_0.mxf
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs_1.mxf
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs_2.mxf
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs_3.mxf
      • MXF_AS02_MPEG2_CBR_1920x1080_25Mbs_4.mxf
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Avid MediaFiles MXF

Supports DNxHD, MPEG-2, DVHD, DV50, DV25, AVCi, Uncompressed

This is the native MXF format Avid editors use to edit with.  Each video and mono audio track is contained in its own MXF file, with pointers between the files to identify the group.  Drastic products can read and write these as can Avid editors, but Avid cannot 'import' them.  To use them in an Avid editor, simply copy them into the MediaFiles directory and they will be added to the database.  To load these in Drastic software, simply select the video MXF files whose name will contain the V:

  • Tele0009_v1_4CEF0F7E.MXF
  • Tele0009_a1_4CEF0F7E.mxf
  • Tele0009_a2_4CEF0F7E.mxf
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Avid OP1a Transfer Manager

Supports DNxHD

Avid transfers DNxHD by exporting and importing this flavor of OP1a.  All the audio, video and metadata is contained in the one file.

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BlackMagic HyperDeck

See:  Avid MediaFiles MXF

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Canon C300/XF

Supports MPEG-2

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CinemaDNG MXF

Supports internal DNG frames, not currently supported

 

Convergent Designs

See:  Sony XDCam

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DCI Digital Cinema Files

Supports JPEG-2000 with multichannel audio

The DCI specification describes the structure of this directory of files.  There are one or more JPEG-2000 video files, matching multichannel audio files, an asset map, volume index and playlist. To load these files in Drastic software, select the desired video MXF and the other files will be loaded automatically.  Please note, the software can only load unencrypted files, per the DCI specification.

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DiviCom OP1a

Supports MPEG-2

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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EditCam

Supports DV25, DV50, DV100, AVCi

Each audio and video channel is recorded as its own MXF file.  Drastic software will automatically combine them into a single clip whenever the video file, whose file name ends in V, is selected:

  • IX8BG4GV.MXF
  • IX8BG4GA.MXF
  • IX8BG4GB.MXF
  • IX8BG4GT.MXF

NOTE:  The older EditCam OMF files are also supported by most Drastic software

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EVS

Supports IMX, MPEG-2, DV25, DV50, DV100

The EVS will export in OP1a or OP-Atom containers, as well as AVI or MOV.  These are fully supported by Drastic.  To open the OP-Atom files, select the video file which will contain a _V01 at the end of its name.

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Front Porch Digital

Supports XDCam, AVCi-100, JPEG-2000

Front Porch Digital's asset management system SAMMA/DIVA produce a variety of MXF files including YCbCr JPEG-2000 MXF files that are supported by Drastic readers in native YCbCr.

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Grass Valley Infinity

Supports JPEG-2000

Each shot from the GV Infinity is contained in a directory.  The directory includes the MXF file, BMP icon, XML clip information and XML/XMP metadata information.  To read these clips, simply load the MXF file and the rest will be read automatically.

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Grass Valley iCR

Supports MPEG-2

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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Omneon OP1a

Supports AVCi, DV25, DV50, DV100/HD, MPEG-2, Uncompressed 8 bit video and up to 16 channels of 24 bit audio

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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Panasonic P2

Supports AVCi, DV25, DV50, DV100/HD and up to 16 channels of 16 or 24 bit audio

The P2 MXF format includes one or more MXF files for each audio and video channel.  The MXF files themselves are limited to 2 or 4 gigabytes, depending on the writer.  They are written into a standardized directory structure with XML metadata and file pointers organizing multiple shots in the same directory as independent streams of audio and video.

Drastic products automatically find and connect the audio and video as well as any segments into a single shot.  To load a shot, simply select one of the shot's video files in the video directory. The P2 directory structure looks like this:

  • CONTENTS
    • AUDIO
      • 0001FY00.MXF
      • 0001FY01.MXF
      • 0001FY02.MXF
      • 0001FY03.MXF
    • CLIP
      • 0001FY.XML
      • 0001FY.XMP
    • ICON
      • 0001FY.BMP
    • METADATA
      • 0001FY.XML
    • PROXY
    • VIDEO
      • 0001FY.MXF
    • VOICE
  • LASTCLIP.TXT
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Pinnacle

Supports MPEG-2

Pinnacle uses an early form of AS-02.  A sign post file inc clip.dir points to the individual media tracks in media.dir.  To load these, select the video file from the group (denoted by a '_1' at the end of its name) and the rest will be picked up automatically

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Quantel

Supports MPEG-2 IMX, MPEG-2

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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Snell & Wilcox

Supports MPEG-2 IMX, MPEG-2

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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Sony F5/F55

Supports XAVC HD, XAVC 4K

This is an OP1a MXF file with XAVC 1920x1080 or 4096x2160 video and multichannel audio.

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Sony F65/F55/F700

Supports F65 raw bayer

This is an OP1a MXF file that normally has a second XML file for metadata.

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Sony HDCam

Supports HDCam SR SQ, Lite, 4:4:4 SQ

This is an OP1a, so the audio, video and metadata all exist in the same file.

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Sony XDCam

Supports MPEG-2 4:2:2 and 4:2:0, IMX MPEG, DVSD, DV25

Each clip is a single OP1a MXF file containing audio, video and metadata.  To load a clip, simply select it from the Clip directory.  The recorded media contains a directory structure that holds the clips and editing information:

  • Root
    • Clip
      • C0002.MXF
      • C0002M01.XML
      • C0003.MXF
      • C0003M01.XML
    • Edit
      • E0001E01.SMI
      • E0001M01.XML
    • General
    • Sub
      • C0002S01.MXF
      • C0003S01.MXF
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More Great Tools From Drastic:

DrasticPreviewPro-miniMedia File Preview Pro

Output any broadcast/post production file to VGA, HD-SDI and HDMI, waveform, vectorscope, histogram, and data views.

  • MXF, GXF, LXF, TS, DNG, RMF, VRW, DPX and most other files
  • HD-SDI, HDMI and DVI Output
  • Closed caption render and line 9/21 output

MediaNXS-miniMediaNXS HD-SDI Capture/Playback

Full capture and playback of MXF, MOV, AVI, YUV, DPX and many others.  Signal analysis tools, serial control, and closed caption capture, playback and display.

  • Pullins from external VTRs from EDL or list
  • Timeline audio video editing
  • Optional VTR Emulation

4ks main button4K Waveform/Vectorscope

Provides YCbCr and RGB waveform monitor, vectorscope, histogram and data view signal analysis tools for an incoming signal.

  • Replaces expensive dedicated hardware
  • Closed captions, metadata and real time data display

editors buttonMediaReactor Plug-ins

Add Drastic's extensive file import and export to your favorite editor, viewer, MAM or compositing system. 

  • DTSentinel automated conversions
  • User-directed standalone conversions also supported