First public demo of MXF Mastering Format set for NAB

NAB 2007 sees the first fruits of the Advanced Media Workflow Association’s (AMWA) decision to expand its remit. Formerly the Advanced Authoring Format Association, the AMWA is sponsoring the first public demonstration of the MXF Mastering Format Project. This project is one example of areas of interest to the AMWA, which include mastering, program distribution, archiving and post-production.

The aim of the project is to bring a fresh approach to MXF and to provide proposed, real-world solutions for key workflows, focusing on creating a single MXF master file from which multiple versions of a program can be created. This rationalization initiative currently includes two key strands: MXF Mastering Format and the MXF Processor API. The work – which was started two years ago by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. – will be open to comment and scrutiny. The Advanced Media Workflow Association welcomes input on this technical proposal.

The full list of manufacturers taking a leading role in this MXF work is: EMC, Marquis Broadcast; Metaglue; Omneon; OpenCube Technologies; Pro-Bel; Quantum; Snell & Wilcox; Softel; TMD.

EMC CORPORATION is supporting the MXF Mastering Format Project demonstration at NAB with an installation of the latest AVALONidm release that intelligently recognizes and supports the movement and archive of MXF content in a multi-tiered environment. MARQUIS BROADCAST LTD has supplied a new version of Medway. Medway is building and appending MXF Inventories onto the central storage system and is also providing management and extraction tools for these complex media objects.

METAGLUE is supporting the project workflow with its MXFixer product. MXFixer provides quality assurance on the structural and descriptive metadata in MXF files used throughout the system. OMNEON is highlighting support for the file formats used in the MXF Master Format proposal with a Spectrum system being used to record and playback material. The company’s MediaGrid is being used as a central, near-line storage for assets to be acted on by the various control systems that make up the workflow.

OPENCUBE TECHNOLOGIES has supplied a new version of its Toolkit that is totally adapted to the MXF mastering process. This version of the software offers advanced functions that create, manipulate and partially restore the MXF files that form the MXF master, whether these files are program components, program versions or program inventories. PRO-BEL is responsible for the playout automation and the associated media management. Its Morpheus suite of software solutions is hardware and file format-independent and consequently this demonstration illustrates the compatibility between Morpheus and the MXF formats covered by the MXF Master Format proposal.

QUANTUM is showcasing its network-attached, MXF-aware A-Series data tape solutions at the demonstration. Quantum’s A-Series drives are able to store complete MXF program inventories including multiple complex and simple program versions and any number of component audio and video tracks.

SNELL & WILCOX is providing support for the MXF workflow in its iCR Repurposing station. The iCR Repurposing station is transcoding MXF files at different bit rates and providing VBI insertion and extraction functionality. SOFTEL is highlighting sample workflows showing how pre-prepared subtitle content may be added to pre-ingested MXF media files, under either manual or automated control, using Softel Swift TX technology.

Meanwhile, in this demonstration TMD’s Mediaflex has two distinct roles. The first is as a repository of all the metadata related to content in the system, with a particular emphasis to that which is held inside the MXF wrapper. Secondly it is to control the overall workflow through the use of tasks specifically designed for each application area.

“A lot of people have put a tremendous amount of effort and technological skill into this project. We believe that this is just the beginning and we welcome input as to how the industry feels this should be progressed. It is also a major initiative for the AMWA and is illustrative of the expanded reach of the new organization,” explains Brad Gilmer, Executive Director, AMWA.

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