By Jack Watts, Trench Digital Ltd, 24th May 2019
When a new format comes along, it’s important that there are great tools available to make it easy to explore, test and use. For example, after the AS-11 UK DPP format was released, the DPP provided a free application for injecting DPP metadata into AS-11 files, which provided a stop-gap until a range of commercial tools was available for this purpose.
With IMF, there are already many great tools on the market for mastering, viewing, manipulation, and QC of IMF packages. Many of them have been updated to support TSP 2121-1. But for those who are new to IMF, it’s really helpful to have simple free tools that allow you to explore IMF content.
Here at Fishtank, a division of Trench Digital, we’ve created a free tool called CPL Translator to take the frustration out of reading and understanding Composition Playlists (CPLs). It’s a simple online tool that parses and interprets CPL and PKL metadata from the IMF and Digital Cinema formats, and renders it in graphical form directly in your web browser.
IMF is a format built around rich metadata and IDs, and so it’s not reliant on filenames. That makes it robust, but it can be hard to explore using a file browser. Much of the metadata is stored in the Composition Playlist (CPL) in XML format. When viewed in a raw state, it can be confusing, especially to those not familiar with XML. The CPL Translator makes it simple to explore IMF content in an easy-to-use way.
How do I use it?
Head over to https://cpl.fishtank.cloud to see how CPL Translator allows you to understand the make-up of your composition. It provides you the characteristics of all the essence tracks that comprise your composition. It does so with a simple graphical layout, and also renders the CPL’s segment list as a timeline. This allows that those who do not have access to an IMF system to visualise the compositions they are working with.
The majority of the ‘off the shelf’ project management systems that media houses use for day-to-day operations do not readily support XML parsing for formats such as IMF. CPL Translator allows you to interact with you CPL within your web browser, or even download a PDF report of your parsed CPL.
Working with Packing Lists
You can also drop in a Packing List (PKL) to determine the transmission times of each asset based on the transmission method used. From simple file copy, to satellite transmission, CPL Translator will summarise the total asset count, each asset’s file type and the package’s total file size.
As well as FishTank’s free tools, Trench Digital also offers free training materials, which you can explore to learn more about IMF. You can even download an IMP from Trench Digital’s IMF resources, and use it to try out the CPL Translator!
Why do we offer this for free? Our aim is to aid in garnering a familiarity with the IMF format across the media and entertainment industry, in the hope of supporting widespread adoption. That’s also why we are proud to contribute to the DPP’s IMF work, and we look forward to continuing to be involved in the working groups.