Iris, Archimedia’s suite of software applications designed to speed file workflow, can now play Interoperable Master Format complex files. These files are rapidly becoming a preferred format for motion pictures because they dramatically reduce the number of file versions film studios need to send out. Archimedia CEO Mark Gray said, “We are proud to introduce an upgrade to Iris that makes it the world’s first software media player for IMF complex files. Now that IMF is gaining traction in the OTT and video on demand television markets its use is sure to increase.”
Gray added, “We would like to thank the many major broadcasters who helped in the beta testing needed to overcome this engineering challenge.”
Prior to IMF use, international distribution often required studios to create thousands of file versions to accommodate different languages, censorship standards, audio configurations, display formats, and cultural differences.
The challenge was very real. While IMF files are easy to create, they are very challenging to play back. This is because an IMF complex file is actually a package of files containing all components needed to play out any possible file version. A unique play out of an IMF package is specified using a composition playlist, which instructs an IMF file player where to find the right components and how to assemble them frame-by-frame. So playing an IMF complex file means custom assembling play out, according to the composition playlist, every time the file is played. Imagine pulling introductory credits from one file source, a language transition from another, alternate frames to satisfy local cultural differences placed into a dozen different locations, all while assembling the output in the right screen format. In addition, the source material will come from several file formats, and the play out needs to be done in real time with frame-by-frame accuracy.
Besides IMF playout, three additional features have also been added to Iris.
The most common kind of file error occurs when content creators miss small details of the program distributor file specification. Iris is introducing template matching to prevent this. Iris builds a template matching the program distributor’s specification. Using the template, content creators can instantly check files to assure it meets spec.
To help manage captioning, Iris is introducing the ability to instantly extract captions from specific frame ranges. It is no longer necessary to extract all captions to work on just one section.
Iris is introducing the ability to automatically download sidecar information when a media file is transported. Sidecar information can include program guide data, or external information related to the media file.
Iris 1.0 was officially released in July 2015. Gray said, “We are moving very quickly. Five months after we first released Iris we have added four new significant features. This shows just how quickly Archimedia is responding to the changing needs of the media file based work-flow community.”