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The Interoperable Master Format (IMF) is an international standard* for the file-based interchange of multi-version, finished audio-visual works. It supports multi-language, multi-reel, subtitles / closed captions, video inserts and after-the-fact delivery of content with “supplemental packages.” IMF is built around a core framework (SMPTE ST 2067-2) that includes essence containers, audio and timed text essence formats, basic descriptive metadata, complex playlists, delivery, etc... This core framework is supplemented by incremental constraints ("applications") specific to particular domains. A typical application will specify video codecs and image characteristics, and can specify additional descriptive metadata, for instance. By sharing the core framework across applications, IMF can adapt to evolving industry requirements while maintaining more than 95% commonality across implementations and practices.

Application 2 (SMPTE ST 2067-20) is one such IMF application, and supports High Definition (1920x1080 frame size) SDR images and JPEG 2000 image coding. Application 2e (SMPTE ST 2067-21) extends Application 2 with support for HDR images up to 4K frame size. Applications 2 and 2e have received support from studios, post production facilities as well as the manufacturing community and is being used as a delivery format to OTT services (Netflix). Application 2 and 2e are often referred to collectively as IMF Studio Profile.

Other Applications exist, such as Application 3 (SMPTE ST 2067-30), while others still are being developed within SMPTE, in fact, Application 4 is moving forward. More are possible, especially when considering using specific codecs such as AVC-I video codec.

The SMI plug fests have so far focused on IMF Studio Profile.

*IMF is based on widely-used standards such as MXF and XML, and the lessons learned through the development of the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) used as interchange between distributors and exhibitors for theatrical releases.

The HPA has formed an IMF User Group.


Please go to https://imfug.com