IMF is the family of standards for the exchange of component-based audio-visual masters intended for worldwide distribution — from movies to TV shows 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 SMPTE Technology Committee 35PM (Media Packaging and Interchange), IMF plugfests provide implementers with opportunities to interchange test content with the objective of improving interoperability and identifying areas of improvement in the standard.

“Following the publication of SMPTE TSP 2121-1 last year, the DPP is committed to supporting the adoption of IMF more widely across the broadcast and online content communities,” said Rowan de Pomerai, DPP head of delivery and growth. “Participation in the IMF plugfest forms an important part of that commitment, and we’re thrilled to see so many vendors testing their support for our specification.”

The SMPTE IMF plugfest included the following areas of focus:

  • Packaging of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) Profiles for Internet Media Subtitles and Captions 1.1 (IMSC1.1), which is the subtitle and caption format in IMF that enables worldwide and accessible experiences.
  • SMPTE ST 2067-50:2018 (IMF Application #5 ACES), which is intended for long-term archive 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 and is intended to test HDR ProRes IMF packages.
  • SMPTE TSP 2121-1:2018 (IMF Application DPP), which creates a profile of IMF designed for broadcast and online content use cases, meeting requirements expressed by DPP member companies.

“IMF is an essential standard for the exchange and archiving of movie productions that use ACES,” said Wolfgang Ruppel, RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. “Plugfests are a great opportunity to work with manufacturers and the SMPTE community on interoperability.”

Implementers included Amazon, Dalet, Visible Light, Fraunhofer, Marquise, MTI, Ownzones, Rohde & Schwarz, and Venera Technologies. Test content was provided by Paramount, Universal, Turner, the BBC, and 20 Century Fox. Amazon hosted the event at its UK headquarters.

“SMPTE IMF plugfests are the cornerstone of bringing immediacy and relevance to our standards. They remind us that standards are living examples of technology being used to build global platforms upon which agile applications are developed,” said Bruce Devlin, SMPTE standards vice president. “The lively discussions of real implementers and users solving multivendor business problems in real time show that standards can be relevant and dynamic in today’s disruptive technology world.”

SMPTE is currently organizing the next IMF plugfest, scheduled for the first half of 2020, and the Society encourages interested parties to join the effort by contacting Thomas Bause Mason at SMPTE.

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