Press Release

SMPTE’s Latest IMF Plugfest Tests New Standards And Validates Interoperability.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — SMPTE®, the organization whose standards work has supported a century of advances in entertainment technology and whose membership spans the globe, today announced that the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) Plugfest, held February 12-13 in Burbank, CA, marked another milestone in the development of the IMF family of international standards (SMPTE ST 2067), with more than 40 participants making progress toward interoperability.

IMF is the family of standards for the exchange of component-based audio-visual masters intended for worldwide distribution — from movies to TV shows to advertisements. The format is specifically designed to efficiently handle multiple-territory distribution and advanced content such as high-dynamic-range (HDR), wide color gamut (WCG), immersive sound (object-based audio), and access services (subtitles, captions). Organized by the 35PM SMPTE Technology Committee, IMF Plugfests provide implementers with opportunities to interchange test content with the objective of improving interoperability and identifying areas of improvement in the standard.

“IAB is essential to the adoption of immersive home audio and Xperi is committed to bringing the best experience to consumers. Master level interchange standards are key to industry adoption and we support these efforts thru community events such as the IMF Plugfest.” – Mark R. Johnson, SVP Audio Codec Program

“BBC R&D is committed to ensuring the HLG high-dynamic range tools are available and implemented in the widely used IMF specifications. The Amendment of IMF App #2E will introduce support for HLG in IMF in addition to the existing TSP 2121 specification. Participation in the SMPTE plugfest is a key part of our commitment to support the HLG IMF specifications in real-world implementations.” – Philip Tudor, BBC R&D

The Plugfest included the following areas of focus:

  • Packaging and exchange of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) Profiles for Internet Media Subtitles and Captions 1.1 (IMSC1.1). TTML/IMSC is the subtitle and caption format used by IMF that enables worldwide and accessible experiences.
  • Sidecar Composition Map – The ability to reference arbitrary documents such as PDF QC reports and other documents associated with a particular CPL. Tests included creation, validation and interoperability of Sidecar Composition Maps per SMPTE ST 2067-9.
  • Immersive Audio Bitstream (IAB) – Packaging and exchange of immersive audio per SMPTE ST 2067-201, and the ability to successfully decode and play an IAB IMF.
  • Support for Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG): Creation and interoperability of HDR content encoded using HLG, per draft amendment to SMPTE ST 2067-21 IMF App #2E.

“IMF is an essential standard for the mastering, exchange and archiving of content. Plugfests are great opportunities to work with other manufacturers and the SMPTE community to advance interoperability.” — Bruno Munger, Colorfront

Implementers included Colorfront, MTI Film, Ownzones, Venera Technologies and Xperi. Test content was provided by 20th Century Fox / Disney, Sony and the BBC. Disney kindly hosted the event at the Disney ABC Television building in Burbank, CA.

SMPTE is in the process of planning the next IMF plugfest, currently scheduled for the second half of 2020, and the Society encourages interested parties to join the effort by contacting Thomas Bause Mason at SMPTE.

Further information about SMPTE is available at

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About SMPTE®

For more than a century, the people of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, or SMPTE (pronounced “simp-tee”), have sorted out the details of many significant advances in media and entertainment technology, from the introduction of “talkies” and color television to HD and UHD (4K, 8K) TV. Since its founding in 1916, SMPTE has received an Oscar® and multiple Emmy® Awards for its work in advancing moving-imagery engineering across the industry. SMPTE has developed thousands of standards, recommended practices, and engineering guidelines, more than 800 of which are currently in force today. SMPTE Time Code™ and the ubiquitous SMPTE Color Bars™ are just two examples of SMPTE’s notable work. Now in its second century, SMPTE is shaping the next generation of standards and providing education for the industry to ensure interoperability as the industry evolves further into IT- and IP-based workflows.

SMPTE is a global professional association of technologists and creatives who drive the quality and evolution of motion imaging. Its membership today includes more than 7,000 individuals: motion-imaging executives, creatives, technologists, researchers, and students who volunteer their time and expertise to SMPTE’s standards development and educational initiatives. A partnership with the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) connects SMPTE and its membership with the businesses and individuals who support the creation and finishing of media content. Information on joining SMPTE is available at


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