SMPTE Upgrades Interoperability With Recent Edition of IMF Plugfest

The family of standards covers component-based A/V masters for global distribution

SMPTE announced that the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) plugfest, held Oct. 18-19 in Hollywood, CA, marked another milestone in development of the IMF family of international standards (SMPTE ST 2067), with more than 48 participants making progress toward interoperability.

IMF is the family of standards for exchange of component-based audio-visual masters intended for worldwide distribution of content ranging from movies to advertisements. The format is specifically designed to efficiently handle multiple-territory distribution and advanced content, such as high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut (WCG), immersive sound (object-based audio), and access services (subtitles, captions). Organized by the 35PM SMPTE Technology Committee (TC), IMF plugfests provide implementers with opportunities to interchange test content with the objective of improving interoperability and identifying areas of improvement in the standard.

“The outstanding plugfest work on IMF shows that SMPTE can generate robust standards that are implemented interoperably in a wide range of products,” says Bruce Devlin, standards VP, SMPTE. “Connecting the plugfests to the early testing of new features and issue tracking of published documents shows a commitment to agile methodologies and software-centric work within SMPTE.”

The plugfest focused on the following four areas:

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) Profiles for Internet Media Subtitles and Captions 1.0.1 (IMSC1), the subtitle and caption format in IMF enabling worldwide and accessible experiences
  • SMPTE ST 2067-50:2018 (IMF Application #5), which is intended for delivery, exchange, and archival of uncompressed Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) image essence
  • SMPTE RDD 45:2017 (Registered Disclosure Document IMF Application ProRes), which adds support for ProRes image essence
  • SMPTE ST 2067-100:2014 (IMF Output Profile List), which allows creative control over deliverables generated from IMF distribution masters

“Subtitle and caption interoperability is critical to enabling efficient worldwide content distribution, and this plugfest marks a significant milestone in interoperability,” says Dave Kneeland, of 20th Century Fox, a provider of test content for the IMF plugfest.

“The Output Profile List (OPL) within the IMF framework enables a specific set of ordered operators to be carried out, per the content owner’s specification,” adds Mitch Jacobs, also of 20th Century Fox. “For this plugfest, usage of the preset macro within the OPL has demonstrated the capability of the OPL as well as the support for OPL within the community of tools and solutions.”

Implementers included Colorfront, Dalet, Fraunhofer, GIC, Marquise, MTI, Ownzones, Rohde & Schwarz, and Visible Light. Test content was provided by Fox, Apple, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy also hosted the event, Amazon Web Services provided cloud storage, and Netflix provided onsite network storage.

“IMF is a key enabling technology for the Academy Color Encoding System. The Academy is pleased to support IMF plugfests as they have become essential for the development and adoption of the IMF family of standards,” says Andy Maltz, managing director, Science and Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

SMPTE is currently organizing the next IMF plugfest, scheduled for the first half of 2019, and the society encourages interested parties to join the effort by contacting Thomas Bause Mason at SMPTE.

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