IMF Essentials: What You Need To Know

Discover the Interoperable Master Format (IMF), what it’s for, how it works, how it’s used and how it improves content interchange! Learn how to build a delivery specification based on an existing IMF Application specification. Explore the many layers of IMF so that you get the best from your IMF applications and workflow.

Developed and facilitated by Bruce Devlin, SMPTE Standards Vice President, and Pierre-Anthony Lemieux, chair of the SMPTE technology committee for media packaging and interchange (TC 35PM) and lead editor of the standard, the course will examine the purpose of the IMF standard, how it works, how it is used, and how it improves content interchange.

Devlin and Lemieux will guide participants through the details of the IMF family of standards, moving from the high-level requirements to the low-level details in a structured, easy-to-understand way. As they progress through course modules, participants will learn how to build a delivery specification based on an existing IMF application specification and how the many layers of IMF contribute to optimized IMF applications and workflow.

2020 Online Course Start Dates:



Monday, 27 January 2020 Register


Monday, 3 February 2020  Register


Duration: Instructor-led courses are 6 weeks long, while the self-study course opens in February and closes in late November.

Space is limited.

Prices: Member - $599      Non-member - $749
Groups of three or more participants may register together for a 10 percent discount.

Any of SMPTE's Virtual Classroom courses are available as private sessions for organizations. 

Contact us for details about private course options and with any curriculum questions.


This course will take you from the high-level requirements to the low-level details in an easy to understand structured way -- whether you need to understand the wrapping of essence as Track Files or whether you need to understand what metadata you must generate to make IMF perform well.

The instructors guide you through the details of IMF (SMPTE ST 2067-2), the professional file-based format for managing the content version explosion caused by the proliferation of video, audio and timed text versions needed to service distribution channels worldwide.

This course is intended for anyone involved in making IMF products, mastering IMF compositions, managing IMF deliveries, or merely interested in learning more about next-generation component-based masters.
Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following.

Week – 1: Introduction

  • Describe the problem that IMF solves
  • Describe a world without IMF
  • Describe how IMF solves that problem
  • Explain how IMF impacts mastering and distribution practices
  • Describe how IMF relates to D-Cinema and Material eXchange Format (MXF)
  • Explain the purpose of IMF Applications
  • List the cornerstone technologies used by IMF
  • List the core specifications of the IMF family of standards
  • List the degrees of freedom that IMF offers

Week 2: IMF Composition

  • Describe what a Composition Playlist (CPL) and a Composition are
  • Explain how identification of individual components within an IMF Composition works
  • List the main elements of the CPL timeline and how synchronization of audio, video and subtitles works
  • Describe how metadata is stored within a CPL
  • Explain how Markers are used in a CPL

Week 3: IMF Track Files, IMP, and Delivery

  • Explain how Image Track File integrity can be used to ensure authenticity and integrity of the Composition
  • Explain how an OPL can be used to transform elements of a Composition
  • Describe what an OPL is and answer questions about its rules
  • Describe what a Delivery is and its relationship with the Asset Map
  • Explain how multiple Deliveries can be combined on a single volume
  • Describe what an IMP and Packing List are
  • Explain how sidecar information is carried within an IMP
  • Explain how audio channel labeling is used for audio routing and localization
  • Explain when to use IMSC1 Text subtitles, IMSC1 Image subtitles and/or CEA608/708 captioning
  • Describe in general terms what an IMF application is
  • List the critical use cases addressed by IMF application #2
  • List the improvements introduced by Application #2E

Week 4: Using IMF

  • Describe how an Application #2 delivery might undergo QC
  • Describe when QC is related to the IMF specification
  • Describe when QC is related to an organization’s business rules
  • Describe scenarios when interoperability might fail
  • Build a delivery specification for an Application #2 Composition
  • Explain how a product might be qualified
  • List system issues that affect the performance of IMF systems
  • Explain how multiple deliveries successive deliveries against the same content should be managed
  • Explain how IMF can be used with Common Media Manifest and for delivery to Retailers in general
  • Explain how IMF components could be maintained in an extensive system
  • Create a delivery consisting of two Interoperable Master Packages (IMPs), each delivering a Composition against a common Distribution Master
  • Identify apparent faults with poorly constructed IMPs
  • List features you think should be added in a future revision of IMF

Week 5: Course Completion and Final Exam

This is a five-week, online virtual classroom course utilizing a “flipped classroom” learning model. Course participants will spend time studying lessons and materials between weekly, online instructor coaching sessions. These instructor coaching sessions are live, one-hour sessions with the instructor answering questions and clarifying the more complex elements and concepts. Participation in the live sessions is essential to learning, but If a participant is unable to participate in a live session, not to worry, sessions are recorded and made available on-demand.