There’s been a lot of industry discussion about IMF in 2018, but the main question that should be answered is: How does IMF improve broadcast workflows? IMF was launched to solve two problems: the lack of interoperability and the lack of efficiency when delivering content. To put it simply: IMF allows broadcasters to know what type of media they are receiving and gives them the ability to adapt their workflows to support that media. In addition, IMF introduces the concept of supplemental packages so that they don’t have to replicate media for every new version, which significantly reduces processing times and optimizes the use of storage.
Let’s take a movie as an example. A movie might need to be distributed to 15 different (or more) countries or territories, which means 15 different versions have to be created. With IMF, the broadcaster knows what codec they’re going to be using so it’s easy for them to adapt their tools to manipulate that movie. Also using IMF, they don’t have to replicate all 15 versions. For a 90-minute movie for example, the only difference in versions is likely to be localisation elements, such as the title for translation and the audio tracks. This means the broadcaster saves huge amounts of storage because they are only adding the new segments of media to the localised version.
Without IMF, broadcasters would need a huge archive to keep all these versions, bearing in mind that each one would have the same size master. Also the costs in terms of processing time and power when creating all those versions would be considerable. IMF simplifies the workflow; the master has all the media and the rest of the metadata and the additional versions are supplemental packages that reduce space and time to process and deliver the content.
Tedial’s philosophy has always been to be one step ahead of the technological curve. We do this by adopting new standards that improve products and offer future-proof solutions to our customers. IMF is a perfect example of this. We introduced IMF into our MAM workflow in 2013 in parallel with its release, to easily define the delivery profiles for every destination without the need to reinvent the wheel by using the composition playlist (CPL) to define components to be delivered and the output profile list (OPL) to define transformations. We then extended this to offer a full IMF end-to-end solution from ingest to IMF enrichment and delivery.
Tedial’s HYPER IMF is an end-to-end MAM (media asset management) solution that supports IMF formats for ingest, archive and delivery. The company’s IMF Markup Tool provides a simple-to-use editor that addresses the versioning requirements typically needed for distribution. Designed for fast validation, repair and even creation of IMF packages, this intuitive tool functions independently of expensive third-party systems, making it an extremely cost-effective solution and easy-to operate for users. Tedial is part of the IMF User Group.