What is IMF?
Recently we’ve had a lot of people asking us about IMF packaging (and specifically supplemental IMFs) but what is a supplemental IMF?
Well, in a recent podcast we set out to answer that question. In short, an IMF (or Interoperable Master Format) package is a modern standard for delivering video and audio. IMF is the preferred deliverable for most modern streaming services, and are starting to be adopted by broadcasters and cable networks as well.
An IMF is much more powerful then traditional tape or file deliveries because they are rich with metadata describing their contents, and have modern and useful features that legacy formats lack.
Supplemental? CPL? XML? Essence? What does it all mean?
One of the coolest features of IMF, and the focus of this insight – is the ability to deliver what is called a supplemental package. To understand these deliverables, its important to define a few things.
- An essence is an actual piece of video or audio media. Essences are MXF formatted, and contained inside the IMF folder.
- A CPL is a composition playlist. This is essentially an EDL, describing how the IMF should be played back. This provides IMFs with the functionality to combine multiple pieces of separate media into a single playback of a program.
- XML is the format that IMF metadata, and the CPL is stored in.
- A supplemental package is an IMF that adds new media to an existing IMF package. It includes a new CPL, describing how everything should go together.
Why use supplemental packages?
So – why would you actually want to make a supplemental package? Because it can save massive amounts of time and headaches for complex delivery of projects!
For example, if you have a 2 hour show – and the client asks for a change to a single shot, with older tape or file based outputs – this would usually require outputting and re-delivering the entire program, and all of it’s versions. With a supplemental IMF, you can re-deliver just the small section of media that has changed, and because of the CPL metadata, it can be combined with the original IMF you delivered, essentially allowing you to insert-edit into a show you have already output.
Supplemental packages also make delivering multiple versions much simpler. Instead of having to deliver an entire, huge file for each language a program is presented in, you can now deliver a single master IMF, and supplementals for all the different languages. Saving space, upload time, and a lot of effort. No wonder streaming services have embraced IMF!
Creating Supplemental Packages in DaVinci Resolve
As a followup to our podcast, this video insight will walk you through how to assemble and output supplemental IMF packages from Resolve. You will learn how to:
- Output the master IMF package
- Import that IMF, and edit it to make changes or versions
- Select media to be included in supplemental packages
- Export supplemental packages
- View/check the supplemental packages to verify the CPL