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IMF for the interchange of multi-version content

The Interoperable Master Format (IMF) is a SMPTE standard for the interchange of multi-version, high-quality finished AV content.

Broadcasters can benefit from IMF in many cases, such as:
  • Distributing multiple versions of content
  • Incoming content from distributors
  • Archiving multiple versions of content
  • Subtitled and dubbed versions
An IMF file is a high quality final master containing assets (image, audio, subtitling and captioning) and metadata. The goal is to be able to distribute this content from owners to service providers, distributors and multiple final destinations, such as movie theatres, broadcast, OTT, mobile devices and so on.

The IMF structure consists of 5 essentials, encapsulated in an IMP (Interoperable Master Package):
  • Composition Play List (CPL), which acts as the play list of the content
  • the track files containing assets and metadata, wrapped in an MXF-AS02 container
  • the Output Profile List (OPL) containing instructions for a further transcoding
  • the Asset Map
  • the Packing List for package content inventory
For broadcasters looking at IMF, automation is one of the most important elements. One of the essential features of IMF is that you have lots of identifiers inside it, allowing you to identify a version, a specific piece of media or a segment on a timeline. This allows for easy tracking, which in turn allows for automation. Another great advantage is that you reduce the duplication of assets that are largely the same.

Marquise Technologies is one of the leading IMF implementers in software.

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