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Isn’t it time to make MXF work?

19 April 2007

A demonstration at NAB shows how 12 companies have worked together to create a working MXF workflow. Now the intention is to make their solution an open “recommended practice” – or maybe more, writes Dick Hobbs.

When it first appeared, MXF was hailed as the key to file-based workflows, wrapping all the metadata in with the content. In practice, the standard contained so many options and alternatives that you were hard pressed to find two manufacturers that implemented it the same way, and interoperability went out the window.

Turner Broadcasting was determined to make MXF work for its new production centre in London. It brought together its 12 key suppliers – EMC, Marquis Broadcast, Metaglue, Omneon, OpenCube Technologies, Pro-Bel, Quantum, Snell & Wilcox, Softel and TMD – and got them talking to each other to build a joined-up system.

Their solution has now been taken up by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (the successor to AAF). The documents from the Turner project are now published online by AMWA for its membership, and they are invited to comment on it.

At the press conference announcing this project all involved were somewhat vague on what the final output will be. Bruce Devlin of Snell & Wilcox described it as “a set of recommended practices,” while hinting that it might become ratified as a new standard. Brad Gilmer, executive director of AMWA, underlined that it was “an open, industry-wide initiative” and called on other manufacturers to add their input.

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