Project Description

interoperable media format  small infographic

An A4 print ad/infographic produced for Visual Data Media

interoperable media format infographic

An infographic on interoperable master format produced for Visual Data Media

Interoperable Master Format

This infographic was produced for Visual Data Media to explain the intricacies of the new digital distribution format – IMF – Interoperable Master Format.

1. Why is there a need for a universal master format?

A universal master format will simplify and streamline distribution by reducing the need for:

Multiple versions of each piece of content for international film and TV distribution

Multiple edits, including censure edits, localisation edits, the director’s cut and more

Multiple audio mixes, including numerous different versions for subtitling and closed captioning

Multiple delivery formats for cinema, broadcast, internet, mobile devices, airlines and OTT


2. What’s so great about IMF?

  • One final master file

IMF provides an industry-standard, high-quality final master file. If offers one place to store all the assets (image, audio, subtitling and captioning) and metadata, (technical data and playlists) related to a specific film, episode or piece of content.

  • Efficient content exchange

IMF maximises the efficiency of content exchange between content owners, distributors, service providers and multiple file destinations (theatres, broadcast, OTT such as Netflix and packaged media).

  • Mezzanine-level compression

IMF minimises storage requirements by using mezzanine-level compression and storing only the differences between the original versions and the version file.

  • Low-cost, fast distribution

IMF lowers the costs of making and storing multiple masters and assets for the same piece of content, improving time to market and streamlining global distribution.

  • Improved customer service

IMF improves the customer experience by increasing the availability of audio and video assets, metadata and artwork localised by region.


3. Who created IMF?

It was devised by SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), supported by over 100 companies worldwide. Among the major studios, platforms and broadcasters behind the initiative are FOX, Warner Brothers, Sony, NBCUniversal, Disney and Netflix.


4. How can it help me?

Use the IMF diagram below to gain a clearer understanding of the process and to find out how the universal master format would benefit you.