Bruce Devlin is chief technology officer of media file format and workflow software company Amberfin.

What is MXF?
MXF is a file format that allows system designers to build broadcasting studios, post-production houses and media distribution facilities in a way that is cost-efficient and future-proof.

MXF was born a decade ago. Why has it taken so long to materialise?
MXF was launched as a camera and tape-replacement file format. As a result, different camera, server and editing vendors tailored MXF to the needs of their products. This resulted in lots of different MXF “flavours” on the market, such as IMX, P2, XDCam, OP-Atom and OP1a.

What does it mean for facilities?
We are seeing a shift in the desire to use MXF. Facility houses are struggling with the number of different file formats they are given every day. One of the goals of MXF was to provide a common interchange format to ease this problem, and it now seems that we have reached the state where the user community needs it. Amberfin, Metaglue and others have been working with users in the Advanced Media Workflow Association to define how MXF is used both in and between facilities.

How has MXF changed to incorporate on-demand, IP-based files?
One of the major differences in today's workflows is the number of different versions of an asset that need to be created and distributed. Some can be made on the fly by transcoding engines, but others require creative input or significant quality-control steps before deployment. AS02 has therefore been tailored to address the handling, management and automation of these “bundles” of files, by detailing how SMPTE specifications should be used.