By Chris Homer, NABA Consultant, 19th July 2019
The introduction of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) within the media industry has brought a revolution to media workflow processes for film and television. The advantages of a single interchange master format include flexible versioning, automated transcoding and audio assignments using existing technologies and standards. This reduces the time spent on manual workflows and also reduces storage needs for the various versions of a program file. IMF was introduced several years ago as a suite of standards from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and continues to evolve today as new features and processes are added to provide relevance into the future.
The joint forces of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and the DPP have worked together to provide an easier path to IMF with the introduction of SMPTE Technical Specifications, which further constrain established standards for specific use cases across broadcast and online content.
In August of 2018, TSP-2121-1 was developed by NABA/DPP for those producing IMF packages using ProRes production masters. In the coming weeks, TSP-2121-4 will be added for IMF packages using JPEG2000 library master format. The Library Master specification is based on SMPTE IMF App2e, and takes advantage of the JPEG2000 suite of formats which have been widely used in preservation of archive content.
Much like in Digital Cinema, Library Masters are suited for a “one-to-many” distribution chain. Content from a Library Master may be converted to an on air ready playout file for broadcast use, an internet distribution file for OTT streaming, or even as source material for a documentary or news production which will then become part of yet another Library Master for archive. The JPEG2000 format is designed to support transformation in and out of IMF due
to its virtually lossless compression.
In either case, whether for air ready playout or other work items from a single master, these Technical Specifications contain the recipe of standards and constraints to enable successful implementation for improving media workflow.
For further information, please visit nabanet.com.
Please contact Gill Reston if you would like to participate in our IMF work or learn about the benefits of DPP membership.