XDCAM is a series of products for digital recording using random access solid-state memory media introduced by Sony in 2003. Four different product lines, the XDCAM SD, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD422, differ in types of encoder used, frame size, container type and in recording media. The XDCAM range includes cameras and decks which act as drop-in replacements for traditional VTRs, allowing XDCAM discs to be used within a traditional videotape-based workflow. These decks can also serve as random access computer hard drives for easy import of the video data files into nonlinear editing systems (NLE), allowing for convenient file-sharing for uses such as archiving and transcription.
The XDCAM format uses multiple video compression methods and media container formats. Video is recorded with DV, MPEG-2 Part 2 or MPEG-4 compression schemes. DV is used for standard definition video. MPEG-2 is used both for standard and high definition video, while MPEG-4 is used for proxy video. Audio is recorded in uncompressed PCM form for all formats except proxy video, which uses A-Law compression.
DVCAM uses standard DV encoding and is compatible with most editing systems. Some camcorders that allow DVCAM recording can record progressive-scan video. MPEG IMX allows recording in standard definition, using MPEG-2 encoding at data rates of 30, 40 or 50 megabits per second. Unlike most other MPEG-2 implementations, IMX uses intra-frame compression with each frame having the same exact size in bytes to simplify recording onto video tape.
MPEG HD is used in all product lines except for XDCAM SD. This format supports multiple frame sizes, frame rates, scanning types and quality modes. MPEG HD422 doubles the chroma-resolution compared to the previous generations of high-definition video XDCAM formats. This format is used only in XDCAM HD422 products. Proxy AV is used to record low resolution proxy videos. This format employs MPEG-4 video encoding.
The Professional Disc was chosen by Sony as its medium for professional nonlinear video acquisition. Its format is similar to Blu-ray Disc and was deemed to be cost effective, reliable and robust, and suitable for field work, which had been a problem with many previous disc-based systems. In 2008 Sony introduced a new recording medium to their XDCAM range, SxS Pro, a solid-state memory card implemented as an ExpressCard module.
Equipment that uses Professional Disc as recording media employ MXF container to store digital audio/digital video streams as well as metadata including subtitles and closed captioning. Tapeless camcorders that record onto solid-state memory cards use MP4 container for high definition audio/video, and DV-AVI container for DV video. JVC camcorders that use XDCAM EX recording format are also capable of recording into QuickTime container besides using MP4 container.