Chinese online entertainment service iQIYI Inc. has become the first Chinese streaming platform to use the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) for distribution of its new 4K drama series, To Be With You.
According to the company, it delivered the 4K production-based series with the use of IMF, “… retaining the picture quality of 4K shooting and production as much as possible and thus delivering clearer and finer visual and aural experience”.
Pioneering the use and promotion of IMF in China, iQIYI says it is leading the way in building a standard process system covering shooting, production, and delivery. The Company has also joined hands with film and television companies, production studios, and other partners to promote IMF use to enhance content delivery and accelerate the “industrialisation of domestic film and television production”.
Developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) as an evolution of the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) architecture, IMF is a component-based media format that supports the encapsulation of multi-version and multi-format video and multi-lingual, multi-track audio. IMF standardises the master format and production process for the distribution and application of different contents in different fields. IMF ensures that the process of high-quality content production, file interoperability, and version control is convenient and manageable, making it easier to reuse content and reducing the cost of manual labor and other resources. With IMF, content providers can provide efficient cross-platform and multi-domain content exchange, distribution, and archiving.
In terms of picture quality, IMF uses JPEG2000 for high-quality video encoding, and uncompressed audio to retain maximum detail in sounds and pictures. At the same time, IMF not only fully supports available high-quality video and audio formats such as 4K, HDR, wide colour gamut (WCG), high frame rate, and immersive audio, but is also compatible with advanced formats that may emerge in the future.
During the QC process of To Be With You, picture issues such as stains and flickering were detected. In contrast with the traditional method of outputting the whole video again, IMF allowed creation of a supplemental package with only corrected images included.
The company says its adoption of IMF is “… in line with its ethos of using cutting-edge technology to deliver the ultimate experience to its users. Through this innovative approach, iQIYI has been able to cement its place as the leading online entertainment service in China.”