such as the Netflix-owned Narcos series, the
video asset is largely the same in all territories, although key elements at the beginning
and end of an episode might change, such as
the post-episode title sequence.
“[W]e can hold the Primary AV and the specific frames that are different for, say, the Japanese
title sequence version,” Fetner and Kenworthy
wrote. “This reduces duplication of assets that
are 95% the same and allows us to hold that 95%
once and piece it to the 5% differences needed
for a specific use case.”
Playing Content in an IMF Container Format
While the main assets, or essence, of an IMF
container center on audio and video, another
powerful feature of the IMF family of standards
is the ability to play back content.
ST 2067-3:2016 ( go2sm.com/smpteimf3) uses
the underpinnings of XML to generate a CPL
that acts as a “representation of a single version
of a finished IMF composition (feature, episode,
trailer, advertisement, etc.).”
The CPL contains the information necessary
to describe the composition and to synchronize
its underlying essence for a series of use cases,
from playout or transcoding.
Because it uses XML, it is both extensible, in
terms of how the playlist is laid out and new features are added, as well as readable by humans.
As ST 2067-3:2016 currently stands, it is designed
for file-based operations.
An example of a company seeing immediate benefit from IMF playback functionality is
Prime Focus Technologies.
“PFT is a strong supporter of the Interoperable Master Format because it is aligned with
two of our driving principles,” says Ramki Sankaranarayanan, CEO and founder of Prime Focus Technologies.
“The first of these is helping media
enterprises better manage the business of content, and the second is
using automation to boost efficiency
and cost-effectiveness when syndicating across platforms, regions, and
audiences,” Sankaranarayanan says.
Prime Focus has created an IMF-compatible player that provides the
preview, review, and playback. In addition, the player can distribute, over
a streaming proxy, a CPL with all its
essences including video, audio, and
timed text (e.g., captions, subtitles).
Storing Assets Within IMF
One area where IMF offers promise is the ability to move full packages
of content around without requiring
a relinking step that’s often necessary in many container formats.
As referenced in the Netflix Tech
Blog, above, lowering overall storage requirements is a sizable benefit of avoiding duplication of assets.
But there’s also another benefit,
wherein IMF acts almost like a folder on a desktop computer, holding
of Prime Focus
Technologies sees two
benefits to IMF. ”The
first of these is helping
media enterprises better
manage the business of
content, and the second
is using automation to
boost efficiency and