Why is it so difficult to play MXF files? MXF is a professional-grade container format for video and audio data. It is characterized by an unusual data structure, which makes the format more suitable for commercial applications - for example, in the TV industry. It is also frequently found on camcorders.
While MXF may be great for professionals, it offers little benefit to an ordinary user. Good MXF players are few and far between. A garden-variety media player will struggle with the files, exhibiting a great deal of lag. Fortunately, we know just the right solution.
Elmedia Player is a specialized MXF video player, and it’s straightforward enough to be usable by anyone. The player can open .mxf files from camcorders of Panasonic P2, Canon XF and Sony XDCAM series with ease.
2. Add your MXF files.
You have some options when it comes to adding files:
3. View your files with no lag whatsoever.
Material Exchange Format, since that’s the full name of this video format became more popular by the day with the release of a lot of 4K cameras. But the concept of MXF exists for quite some time, being defined as a ‘wrapper’ format that supports multiple streams of coded ‘essence’. These streams can be coded with many different codecs and also includes a metadata wrapper.
The MXF file format brings together audio, video and programming data and puts them together in a wrapper. Thanks to its complexity, MXF can hold an extended range of video frames, filled with audio and data essance, as well as frame-based metadata. The frame-based metadata is mostly about file format and timecode information for each of the individual video frames, also known as interleaved media files.
Being mostly used in TV productions and movies, the MFX can handle a lot of Advanced Authoring Formats all under a policy called Zero Divergence Directive. This should enable mixed MXF and AAF workflows between non-linear editing, making it perfect high-quality TV productions.
The key distinction between MXF and MP4 is their intended purpose of use. MXF, short for Material Exchange Format, was conceived for professional television, and some cameras nowadays do record videos in this format. MP4, also known as MPEG-4 Part 14, was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group for day-to-day use. That’s the main reason for which MP4 files are so common and easy to work with. For a more advanced comparison between MXF and MP4 files, you can check out the table below:
|Developer||Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers||Moving Picture Experts Group|
|Video codecs||MPEG-1,2,4, H.264, DV, uncompressed, others||H.263, H.264, H.265, MPEG‑4, others|
|Audio codecs||AAC, MP3, AC‑3, PCM, others||AAC, MP3, AC‑3, ALAC, ALS, SLS, others|
|Usage||Advertisements and broadcasting programs on TV, storing video recordings from Sony and Canon cameras||Storing video files and streaming videos from the Internet|
MXF isn’t really designed for user-friendliness. It’s a bulky format with a lot of overhead, poorly suited for personal use. Camcorders use MXF to avoid obsolescence - newer models tend to come with newer, faster codecs. That’s not the case on PC and Mac, where codecs tend to stick around for decades. All in all, you won’t see MXF replacing MP4 or MKV anytime soon.
As camera vendors start adapting to Ultra HD, MXF becomes more and more necessary. Major manufacturers have adopted it as the standard for their recording hardware. Here is a list of camcorders that support MXF 4K:
Sony PMW-160, PMW-300K1, PMW-100, PMW-F55, PMW-320K, PMW-200,PMW-F5, PMW-F3, PDW-530, PMW-F3K,PDW-510, PMW-EX30, PMW-400L, PMW-500, PMW-F3L, PMW-400K, P, PMW-50, PMW-1000, MW-TD300, PXW-Z100, XDCAM HD422.