What is…MXF?

December 9, 2003

MXF is the acronym for Material Exchange Format, an open file standard designed for the interchange of audio-visual material with associated data and metadata. A SMPTE standard (377M), MXF was implemented to improve file-based interoperability between servers, workstations and other content creation devices in a networked facility.

The idea behind MXF is to smooth workflows and create a more efficient environment than is possible with today's mixed and proprietary formats. MXF enjoys widespread industry support and has been offered as an open standard, which means it’s openly available to all interested parties.

MXF is not specific to any compression scheme and works equally well with MPEG and DV, as well as anticipated future compression technologies. The transportation of these different files is independent of content, not requiring the use of a single manufacturer's equipment.

MXF can perform the following tasks: store simple completed works with metadata; store files in a streamable format that allows viewing while transferring; wrap up a playlist of files and store the synchronized information; wrap any compression format; and store cuts-only EDLs and the material they act upon.

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