SMPTE's Latest IMF Plugfest Makes Significant Progress Toward Interoperability

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Dec. 17, 2018 — SMPTE®, the organization whose standards work has supported a century of advances in entertainment technology and whose membership spans the globe, today announced that the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) plugfest, held Oct. 18-19 in Hollywood, California, marked another milestone in the 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 the exchange of component-based audio-visual masters intended for worldwide distribution — 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," said Bruce Devlin, SMPTE standards vice president. "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), which is the subtitle and caption format in IMF that enables worldwide and accessible experiences.

SMPTE ST 2067-50:2018 (IMF Application #5), which is intended for the delivery, exchange and archival of uncompressed Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) image essence. View at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8320049

SMPTE RDD 45:2017 (Registered Disclosure Document IMF Application ProRes), which adds support for ProRes image essence. View at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8233487

SMPTE ST 2067-100:2014 (IMF Output Profile List), which allows creative control over deliverables generated from IMF distribution masters. View at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7291455

"Subtitle and caption interoperability is critical to enabling efficient worldwide content distribution, and this plugfest marks a significant milestone in interoperability," said 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," added 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, while 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," Andy Maltz, managing director, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Science and Technology Council.

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.

Further information about SMPTE is available at smpte.org.

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About SMPTE®

For more than a century, the people of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, or SMPTE (pronounced "simp-tee"), have sorted out the details of many significant advances in media and entertainment technology, from the introduction of "talkies" and color television to HD and UHD (4K, 8K) TV. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has received an Oscar® and multiple Emmy® Awards for its work in advancing moving-imagery engineering across the industry. SMPTE has developed thousands of standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines, more than 800 of which are currently in force today. SMPTE Time Code™ and the ubiquitous SMPTE Color Bars™ are just two examples of SMPTE's notable work. Now in its second century, SMPTE is shaping the next generation of standards and providing education for the industry to ensure interoperability as the industry evolves further into IT- and IP-based workflows.

SMPTE is a global professional association of technologists and creatives who drive the quality and evolution of motion imaging. Its membership today includes more than 7,000 individuals: motion-imaging executives, creatives, technologists, researchers, and students who volunteer their time and expertise to SMPTE's standards development and educational initiatives. A partnership with the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) connects SMPTE and its membership with the businesses and individuals who support the creation and finishing of media content. Information on joining SMPTE is available at smpte.org/join. 

All trademarks appearing herein are the properties of their respective owners.

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