Recording: Efficient QC using IMF @ NAB 2024

Recording of the IMF UG panel at NAB 2024 on Efficient QC using IMF

Preserving QC information through the supply chain using the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) improves automation and reduces costly rejections and repeated QC! Fereidoon Khosravi, Laurence Stoll, Raymond Yeung, Andrew Dunne and Pierre-Anthony Lemieux walk us through the state of the art.

Webinar: Efficient Quality Control across the Media Supply Chain

Join a panel of experts on June 17, 2024 for a discussion on improving QC efficiency across the supply chain using EBU QC cards and the Interoperable Master Format (IMF)!

REGISTER TODAY!

This webinar will consist of presentations by panelists followed by a Q&A session driven by the audience. It is a follow-up to our IMF UG workshop held at IBC 2023, which highlighted the urgent need to avoid repeated QC rejections based on false positives. IMF is the worldwide standard for the interchange of component-based studio masters and EBU QC is a standardized language for expressing QC reports.

This free webinar is made possible by a collaboration of the EBU and the IMF UG.

When

June 17, 2024 from 17:00 to 18:00 pm CEST

Panelists

Fereidoon Khosravi, Chief Business Development Officer, Venera Technologies

Laurence Stoll, Co-Founder, Marquise Technologies

Andrew Dunne, Television Production and Delivery Expert, BBC

Andy Quested, co-chair EBU QC

Raymond Yeung, Head of Content Standards, Amazon MGM Studios

Moderated by Pierre-Anthony Lemieux, Chair, IMF User Group

IMF Mini-Plugfest [June 26, 2024]

You are invited to participate in our upcoming mini-plugfest, which picks-up where our December plugfest ended.

A plugfest is a unique opportunity to gain implementation experience with IMF and network with the members of the community. Read our explainer at https://www.imfug.com/plugfest/.

Location and registration

Thanks to NBCUniversal, the plugfest will be held in person in Burbank, CA, USA. Two virtual breakout sessions with remote participation are planned.

Registration is free but you must register, whether attending in person or remotely:

https://forms.gle/7jACEh4DW6TVc2aq5

Registration closes on June 15, 2024.

Program

9:00 Setup and breakfast

10:00 Plugfest

12:00 Virtual breakout session

12:30 Lunch

13:00 Plugfest

16:30 Virtual breakout session

17:00 Plugfest ends

All times are in Los Angeles local time.

Topics

The mini-plugfest will focus on IMF App 2E with video coded using the APP2.HT.REV and APP2.HT.IRV constraints, including:

  • Lossless roundtrip from TIFF and DPX sequences; and
  • RPCL progression order.

Submitting and accessing content

Our plugfests are cloud first. Content will be submitted to and accessed from s a shared Amazon S3 bucket.

The deadline for content submission is June 15, 2024.

Open to all

The plugfest will be open to members and guests, with guests being subject to the IMF UG participation rules, including a duty to keep the contents of the meeting confidential. Any result made available publicly will be anonymized.

Contacts

Harvey Landy [Host, Program committee]

Dave Deelo [Program committee]

Brian Holter [Program committee]

Mike Krause [Program committee]

Pierre-Anthony Lemieux [IMF UG chair]

NAB 2024 panel: Leveraging IMF to avoid QC rejections

We are hosting a panel at NAB 2024 on leveraging IMF to Prevent Repeated QC Failures.

  • When: Sunday April 14 from 12:15 to 12:45 PM PT
  • Where W3943 Connect Tech Chat Theater at the Las Vegas Convention Center

Join our panel of experts for a discussion on using IMF to avoid costly QC rejections! This is a follow-up to our IBC workshop where the urgent need to transmit expected QC failures across the supply chain was highlighted.

Report: IMF UG Plugfest (December 2023)

The IMF UG held a hybrid plugfest on December 13 and 14, 2023, with physical locations in Los Angeles (USA) and Cologne (Germany), and remote participation through shared cloud storage, virtual breakout sessions and instant messaging. The plugfest, the first since February 2020, gathered more than 50 participants from the content creator, user, and implementer communities.

Over 2 days, participants created, exchanged, and consumed IMF content. Cross-checking IMF content between implementations ensures the standard is supported and helps reveal potential improvements to both implementations and the standard.

This report summarizes the use cases studied during the plugfest.

Lossless conversion from MOV to IMF

IMF Application ProRes (SMPTE RDD 45) enables lossless conversion of existing ProRes QuickTime files to IMF. For this use case, the ProRes video contained in MOV files was rewrapped into IMF Compositions without any decoding and re-encoding, demonstrating lossless conversion and eliminating generation losses.

Use case and source content provided by BBC.

Deduplication

Deduplication refers to the reuse of identical essence in multi-version titles, also known as “versioning”. A typical ProRes workflow produces one flat MOV file for every version of a title, even if only a few frames differ between those versions. For this use case, five MOV files were provided: one was identified as the source version and the others as derived versions with different inserts, cuts and pre-rolls. From these five flat files, five IMF composition playlists, each corresponding to one of the versions, and a collection of video components were created. One of the components contained all the frames of the source version while the others contained only inserts and pre-rolls. By allowing portions of the source version components to be reused across composition playlists, IMF achieved a 75% reduction in storage compared to the five flat files.

Use case and source content provided by RTL.

Immersive Audio Bitstream (IAB)

IAB is a mature format for encoding immersive sound fields as a collection of audio channels and audio objects. This use case involved successful QC and playback of an IMF composition whose audio essence consisted solely of IAB essence and did not contain multichannel audio essence.

Use case and source content provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Audio Definition Model (ADM)

S-ADM (Serialized Audio Definition Model) and ADM (Audio Definition Model) are recent ITU-R Recommendations for interactive and immersive audio applications associating metadata with audio essence. The use case involved creating IMF compositions starting from audio essence with S-ADM and ADM metadata wrapped in MXF files.

Use case and source content provided by Fraunhofer IIS.

High Throughput JPEG 2000 (HTJ2K)

HTJ2K significantly improves the encoding and decoding speed of JPEG 2000, reducing processing costs and allowing real time playback on consumer desktops and laptops. This use case involved QC and playback of compositions that used HTJ2K-encoded video.

Use case and source content provided by Warner Bros Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, NBC Universal, and Walt Disney Studios.

ISXD

Carrying metadata as a separate component allows its addition, modification, and removal without having to modify associated essence components. This use case involved QC and playback of a composition that contained Dolby Vision metadata stored in a separate track file conforming to the Isochronous Stream of XML Documents (ISXD) plug-in.

Use case and source content provided by Walt Disney Studios.

Stereoscopic 3D

Stereoscopic 3D video has been a core, but infrequently exercised, capability of IMF since its inception. This use case involved QC and playback of a Stereoscopic 3D composition.

Use case and source content provided by Walt Disney Studios.

Lossless To Lossy Transcode

IMF Application 2E supports both lossless and lossy JPEG 2000 video essence. This use case involved the transcoding of lossless JPEG 2000 (Main level 7 Sublevel 0) compositions (HDR and SDR) to lossy JPEG 2000 (Main level 6 Sublevel 4 and Main level 6 Sublevel 3) compositions, which were subsequently subjected to QC and playback.

Use case and source content provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Observations

As IMF matures, the focus has increasingly turned to operational improvements and incremental upgrades.

  • The plugfest highlighted the importance of a common validation strategy: different versions of the widely used Photon OSS validator performed differently when faced with newer use cases.
  • The plugfest was an opportunity to experiment with new capabilities such as S-ADM and ADM, which are expected to be leading topics of future plugfests.
  • Support for IMF across proprietary and open-source tools can always be improved. There is, for example, an opportunity to expand support for IMF beyond multichannel audio and monoscopic video in the popular open-source FFMPEG toolkit.

Future plugfests

We are already working on future plugfests. In the meantime, testing should never stop, and the content used during the plugfest remains available to all IMF UG members.

Join the UG today to get access to past plugfest content and help the community plan future plugfests!

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to David Gageos, Mike Krause, Wolfgang Ruppel, Brian Holter and Dave Deelo for their contributions to the program committee; to Walt Disney Studios and RTL, who hosted the event; and to Colorfront who sponsored lunch at the Los Angeles location.

Plugfest 2023: content drop + registration closing soon

Do you have a content library or an implementation that speaks IMF, then join us at the December 2023 IMF plugfest, which will be held concurrently in Los Angeles, USA and Cologne, Germany.

https://www.imfug.com/imf-plugfest-2023/

Only a few days left to register!

Test content from BBC, NBC Universal, RTL Technology, Fraunhofer DMT and The Walt Disney Studios is now available, with more to come.

This is a unique opportunity to gain implementation experience with IMF and network.

Plugfest call for content [NOV 8 deadline]

Please upload plugfest test content before November 8, 2023.

The content should include:

  • A short description of the content
  • The specific features the content is designed to exercise
  • The application and plug-ins (if any) to which the content conforms
  • Specific tests to be performed on the content (can be as simple as “playback successfully”)
  • License for the content
  • Photon report (if the content consists of IMF packages/compositions)

Please email Dave Deelo (David_Deelo@spe.sony.com) and Pierre-Anthony Lemieux (pal@sandflow.com) for upload instructions.

The content, and any derivative, will remain confidential to the participants of the plugfest.

IMF Plugfest (13-14 December 2023)

You are invited to participate in our upcoming hybrid plugfest. This is a unique opportunity to gain implementation experience with IMF and network with the members of the community.

The registration closed on December 1. Please contact Pierre-Anthony Lemieux (pal@sandflow.com) [IMF UG chair] with requests or questions.

Hybrid participation

  • Two physical locations for in-person participation
  • Scheduled breakout sessions with remote participation
  • Shared online storage (S3)

Physical locations

  • Walt Disney Studios, Burbank. CA, USA
  • RTL, Cologne, DE

Program

December 13

Plugfest in Europe (Part I) (10 AM until 6 PM CET)

  • 10 AM – noon: setup (participants with equipment only)
  • Noon: Lunch
  • 2 PM – 2:30 PM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • 4 PM – 4:30 PM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • 5 PM: Upload of results to S3

Joint breakout session with remote participation (6 PM until 7 PM CET | 9 AM until 10 AM LAX)

Plugfest in US West Coast (10 AM until 6 PM LAX)

  • 10 AM – noon: setup (participants with equipment only)
  • Noon: Lunch
  • 2 PM – 2:30 PM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • 4 PM – 4:30 PM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • 5 PM: Upload of results to S3

December 14

Plugfest in Europe (Part 2) (9 AM until Noon CET)

  • 9 AM: Download of US West Coast results from S3 and analysis
  • 11 AM – 11:30 AM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • Noon: Lunch and upload of results to S3

Plugfest in US West Coast (Part 2) (8 AM until Noon LAX)

  • 9 AM: Download of Europe results from S3 and analysis
  • 11 AM – 11:30 AM: Breakout session (remote participation)
  • Noon: Lunch and upload of results to S3

Topics

  • App 2E (HTJ2K)
  • ISXD
  • App ProRes – Lossless re-wrapping from MOV to MXF, and deduplication from MOV versions to IMF
  • ADM – S-ADM (ST 2067-203) and ADM (ST 2067-204) Virtual Tracks

Open to all

The plugfest is open to members and guests, with guests being subject to the IMF UG participation rules, including a duty to keep the contents of the meeting confidential. Any result made available publicly will be anonymized.

Contacts

Workshop report: Better QC using IMF (IBC 2023)

The HPA IMF UG hosted a workshop at IBC 2023 where 28 stakeholders from the media supply chain, representing both users and suppliers, explored using quality control (QC) with the Interoperable Master Format (IMF). This report summarizes their discussions.

What is QC?

QC ensures consistent consumer experiences, prevents technical failures, and avoids regulatory penalties. QC involves testing a media asset against a list of requirements, ranging from objective, e.g., ensuring that the audio loudness level remains below a specified level, to subjective, e.g., detecting incorrect color conversions.

Performing QC is costly. QC involves complex operations on large media files and expert human review. It is therefore critical to avoid performing QC multiple times on the same media assets.

Failing QC is costly. Failing QC nearly always means human intervention, which does not scale, and redelivery, which takes time and incurs expenses. It is therefore critical to minimize QC failures.

Minimizing QC by sharing assets across program versions

IMFallows the re-use of media assets across versions of a program. As such, IMF makes it possible to avoid repeating QC on media assets that are shared across versions of a program. This results in significant cost savings when, for example, a small part of a program is modified to correct an error or when multiple language versions have largely identical video content.

This, however, comes with challenges. Tools must provide context is needed when performing QC on a new part of a program: while the new part might pass QC on its own, it might not when considered with the rest of the program. For example, a video frame might have been duplicated where the new part meets the original program. It is also necessary to design workflows such that QC results on the original part of the program can be trusted when performing QC on new parts.

Avoiding rejections from expected failures

Consider, for example, a program where a long silence is part of the storyline. Such a program will likely repeatedly fail QC tests designed to detect missing audio, potentially resulting in multiple rejections as the program moves across the supply chain. QC tests that a program is expected to fail should therefore be captured as machine-readable data and as early as possible in the supply chain. It is also critical that such expected-failure metadata remain synchronized with the program across the supply chain.

IMF is uniquely positioned to be the source of expected-failure metadata: such metadata is generated at mastering, where IMF is typically used, and IMF allows rich metadata to be synchronized with a program. Additional specification work however remains to fully define the syntax of expected-failure metadata.

Automating QC using machine readable reports

Automation is impossible without standardization. Today, QC reports are routinely shared in a non-machine-readable form, e.g., as a PDF file, and using vendor-specific terminology. This makes it difficult to automate QC, keep QC data synchronized with the program, and trust QC data across the supply chain. Standardizing QC data is a non-trivial problem given the historical disparities in QC practices worldwide. Efforts, such as EBU QC (https://tech.ebu.ch/qc), are underway to standardize QC tests.

Next steps

As the number of programs explodes worldwide, IMF offers the opportunity to reduce QC costs by reusing assets across versions and being the source of QC data for the supply chain. Challenges remain in standardizing QC data and designing workflows and tools that make use of it. Get involved today with the HPA IMF UG to contribute to these efforts.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Tedial, who kindly sponsored the location and catering, and to our program committee: Fereidoon Khosravi (chair), Andrew Dunne, Andy Quested, Brian Holter, Harvey Landy, and Bruce Devlin.

Attendees

Pixelogic Media Partners, Venera Technologies, BBC, EBU, Amazon Studios, Tedial, RTL, Marquise Technologies, Andy Quested, Mr. MXF, Lum::Invent, Netflix, MediaArea, Colorfront, Motion Picture Solutions, Deluxe, Sky UK, nomalab, BFI, Bitmax, Walt Disney Studios, Sky UK, Ateliere Creative Technologies, Dolby Laboratories, DI Factory.

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