AMWA Releases ‘MXF for Production’ Specification

The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) has released Application Specification, AS-10, “MXF for Production”. This specification, built on the Sony XDCAM HD Format (SMPTE RDD-9), allows an end-to-end workflow to use a single file.

Dan Shockley, Chief Video Engineer at CNN, explains the need for the Specification: “While CNN’s news production workflows operate at a very high scale and rate of throughput, the need for efficiency and interoperability is the same as virtually every news production operation. With AS-10, we maintain interoperability between systems with a single file, eliminating the need for transcoding or rewrapping, and ultimately achieving higher levels of speed and quality in our production processes. Less tightly specified MXF implementations provided by vendors to date have not delivered this level of interoperability.”

AS-10 is a MXF file format for typical end to end production workflows including camera acquisition, server acquisition, editing, play-out, digital distribution and archive. AS-10 is compatible with existing MXF based systems & devices that a broadcaster may already have deployed.

Previous specifications had ambiguities that could lead to inconsistent implementations. AS-10 adds details to facilitate the design of interoperable products supporting the codec family.

Shockley, who was the AMWA Product Owner for AS-10 said, “We have added support for recordings that span several files, for example across multiple camera cards. The Specification also details how to access growing files for edit during ingest, both essential features for fast-paced news operations.”

AS-10 does not require Descriptive Metadata. However Descriptive Metadata may be useful as part of a production workflow and is supported by the Specification AS-10 adds support for descriptive metadata, removing the need for XML sidecars to carry metadata.

Shockley added, “In addition to this specification a reference implementation including a validator and golden files is available to AMWA members.”

Brad Gilmer, Executive Director of the AMWA, said, “This Specification, MXF for Production, is another step in our mission to create interoperable media applications that see ‘MXF at Work’.”