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.
IMF has been standardized in SMPTE and the rules for SMPTE is that you must be a member to participate and share documents. We want this site to be open to all, but give quick access to important IMF work. So we set this up to link into the SMPTE site and you need to be a member.
SMPTE-35PM50-SMI (Sample Material Interchange) committee is charged with testing files and creating IMF Packages. If you want to MAKE or USE IMF this is a great way to be involved with the planning process. Go HERE to join SMI (you must be a SMPTE member to join).
What's in a name? The term "IMF" alone has too broad a meaning. It is a design of the container for audio/video elements, but lacks the specificity necessary to understand. Like saying it's a "Video" standard without specifing SD/HD or the codec used. But IMF does have "Applications" that are standardized. We are considering using short-hand naming conventions instead of the technically correct "Application 2 and 2e" descriptor. What about:
"IMF Studio Profile" referring to IMF App #2/#2E
The other Applications need names too... Suggestions welcome!
Get on the discussion list to get all information on this and other IMF plugfests:
Either SMPTE-35PM50-IMF https://kws.smpte.org/kws/groups/35pm50-IMF - (YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF THE SMPTE STANDARDS COMMUNITY TO OPEN THESE LINKS – see http://smpte.org/standards/faq) OR join the open discussion list by visiting
If you are a member use firstname.lastname@example.org to send a message to the group.
Logo information: http://sandflow.com/imf/logo.html
The HPA is forming an IMF User Group, with the first meeting commencing in late June. More information can be found here: