IMF – An update on the fast-growing SMPTE standard


The demand for content across platforms, devices and regions continues to grow, adding complexity – and opportunity – across the global media supply chain. It’s not uncommon these days for a feature film to require more than 50 different versions in its first year of release. Then, downstream, when dealing with TV and other distribution channels which introduce more variances across compliance, duration and localization, dozens of additional versions are likely to be required. It is this dynamic that led to the development of the IMF standard and its growing adoption by major studios and broadcasters worldwide.

According the Bruce Devlin, Standards Vice President at SMPTE, “with all the extra inserts and languages my very conservative math suggests a reduction of over 50% in storage and over 60% in data moves. These are figures that don’t require radical changes to the workflows – just do the natural workflow with IMF instead of fully rendered copies.” As IMF gains adoption, the standard continues to evolve to attempt to keep up with all the industry change. Recent updates include ProRes support across the IMF ecosystem as well as support for HDR & immersive audio.

However, as powerful as the IMF standard is, it’s also quite technical and not easy for creative end-users to work with. IMF master files are typically stored in a single location and access is given to everyone that needs it. But that places burden on each person to browse the IMF folders and locate the files (with typically long and unfriend file names) required for the version they want to create. That is where Signiant Media Shuttle, with its IMF support, comes into play. Media Shuttle has grown to more than 500,000 users worldwide from media companies of all sizes. It is now the de facto industry standard for sending and sharing large media files. While file acceleration remains core to Media Shuttle’s value, the SaaS solution has evolved to support media-specific use cases and IMF support is a great example.

For example, with a Media Shuttle share portal and an IMF master, in-country team members can select specific media assets required to generate the local version of the program and download just the assets they need. It is fast, easy, intuitive and secure making Media Shuttle and IMF a perfect pair.   

To learn more about Media Shuttle and its IMF aware capabilities, request a demo today.

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