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Working with MXF Profiles

What does it mean exactly „profile conform“?

Every one of the six ARD_ZDF_HDF Profiles defines a specific subset of the MXF Standard(s), i.e. they narrow the MXF standard down to prevent any ambiguity within the structure of MXF files. Being conform to a profile means that the file matches the profiles subset. As stated in the profiles, an MXF file must be conformant to the MXF standard. That means all normative regulations of the standard must be met. It is advised to follow recommendations as well (declared with the wording “SHOULD”), though that is not required for conformance reasons. Additionally to MXF standard compliance an MXF file must comply with all rules made by a profile in order to be conformant to that profile.

Use of Quality Control Tools

In various scenarios it makes sense to perform a QC test on an MXF file and test if it is conform to a selected ARD_ZDF_HDF Profile. ARD and ZDF typically check delivered files before they accept them. Automatically applied tests can check MXF properties in comparison with a specific profile as well as the integrity of the encoded bitstream. Additionally an “eyeball” test is often performed manually in order to check the image quality regarding for example noise, sharpness, colors or artifacts. There is no regulation on how QC shall be performed, use cases differ in their QC requirements. QC may be applied to a single file or to a static workflow where the configuration of the workflow keeps unchanged.

Setting appropriate configuration parameters for a QC Tool is essential. For instance, some QC Tools report a warning when a file violates recommendations that are made by the standard. When checking only for profile conformance these warnings can be ignored or switched off completely. For the MXF Analyser IRT publishes “Application Specifications” for each profile containing profile specific settings for the MXF Analyser Software to check a file against the selected profile. Other vendors offer similar templates that configure their products to check for profile compliance.

Certification of ARD_ZDF_HDF Profile conformance

IRT offers an certification service that provides a very detailed analysis of MXF Files regarding ARD_ZDF_HDF Profile conformance. The service is used by broadcasters to verify the output of an MXF Application or an specific (and static) workflow in order to ensure that all files created by the application or in the workflow comply to the selected MXF profile. The service allows vendors to receive a certificate for their MXF product. Further information can be found here.