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What’s Up With Supplemental IMFs?

November 25, 2019

In this installment of From the MailBag, we're once again joined by Mixing Light contributor Joey D'Anna who gives us the skinny on supplemental IMF packages for delivery to broadcasters and OTT providers.


Series

From The MailBag Episode 77

Can You Guys Explain Supplemental IMFs?  Can I Make Them In DaVinci Resolve?

In the past few weeks, we’ve received half a dozen emails about supplemental IMFs and how to create them in DaVinci Resolve.

Getting these emails makes sense – over the past few years, IMF has gained in popularity as a delivery specification, specifically for OTT services like Netflix, Amazon, and others.  IMF is an SMPTE certified delivery format that is similar to DCPs in structure but with some important and helpful differences.

Recently, on a trip to BIRTV in Beijing, Team Mixing Light presented a number of workshops including a fabulous class on supplemental IMFs by Mixing Light contributor Joey D’Anna who joins us for this installment of From the Mailbag to discuss the supplemental IMF workflow in Resolve.

Efficient Deliverable – Metadata Driven

If you’ve been in the postproduction industry long enough, you’ll remember the concept of an insert edit on a tape.  Insert edits were often used to make fixes to a program where you just had to fix a shot or two and didn’t want to, or couldn’t afford to, spend the time to re-output the full show.

In recent years, companies like Cinedek have introduced tools like CineXTools, however, there are limitations of tools like those for doing insert edits. SMPTE, dozens of engineers and partner companies have developed IMF to suit the needs of broadcasters and OTT providers and one feature is the ability to make changes to the original IMF package with what’s known as a supplemental IMF.

An IMF includes XML composition playlists (CPLs) and other metadata files along with video/audio essence files.  The advantage of this approach is that it allows for known structure for broadcasters and OTT providers, but also allows for a flexible format that can be supplemented as needed by creating new supplemental packages. The use of these packages can be for things like fixing mistakes, but also for international versioning – language, on-screen text, etc.

Supplemental IMFs In Resolve + An Upcoming Insight

As you’ll hear in the episode, DaVinci Resolve supports supplemental IMFs. But how you create them and the workflow to do so isn’t completely obvious but breaks down as follows:

  • Export an IMF package of your project
  • In a new project (helpful to avoid any color management settings, timeline nodes, etc.) bring the IMF into the media pool – Resolve will handle the IMF not as a bunch of separate files but as a single clip.
  • Right-click on the IMF clip in the media pool – instead of choosing the normal Create New Timeline From Selected Clip option because the file is an IMF a new option appears called Create New Timeline From Composition Playlist. This will use the CPL XML file to generate a new timeline.
  • On this new timeline, make any updates or other necessary changes. Any changes are automatically added to a supplemental package render – you can see this by right-clicking on a new clip or changed clip on the timeline and see that the option for Include in Supplemental Package is selected – by default, media in the original package is not added to the supplemental package unless it was changed.
  • Render a new IMF package, but this time on the deliver page make sure to check the Supplemental Package option on the video tab – this will ensure new or changed media will be included in the package. Note: This option is only available if you created a timeline based on an IMF CPL.
  • Deliver any supplemental packages alongside the original IMF.

In the episode, we discuss all of these steps but if you’re looking for a step by step Insight on creating supplemental IMFs we have you covered.  Later this week, Joey will release an excellent video covering all the steps of making a supplemental IMF package.

Have A Question For Team Mixing Light?

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The MailBag.

Enjoy the MailBag!

-Robbie


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