Research and certification organisation IRT has formed a technology partnership with software developer Aspera to produce new technologies for MXF file validation. As well as video checking this will involve verification of audio tracks and quality. Munich-based IRT works with public broadcasters in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, providing R&D and test services. As part of its work into verifying the quality of file-based production workflows, the institute has developed a MXF (Material eXchange Format) Analyser. Aspera Orchestrator (screen shot pictured), a web-based application and SDK system for automating and managing file transfer, has been integrated into MXF Analyser, which is now being regarded as a mandatory industry standard. Aspera Orchestrator complies with broadcasters' requirements for MXF file validation and can be used at any point in the production chain. Andrea Di Muzio, Aspera's senior solution architect, comments that the system is able to work with either standalone audio or sound with video. "Broadcasters like Sky Germany and the BBC are receiving content from studios, usually video and multiple audio channels, such as 5.1 in English, German, Italian and so on, as well as audio description," Di Muzio says. "All this has to be validated and quality checked, so our system can be used to ensure the sound is there, with no silences, in the correct format and that there is no unwanted noise or faults." Di Muzio adds that the IRT MXF tool, working with Orchestrator, is used at the end of the process to validate all files, including audio. "The system doesn't go into the content of the files but ensures the formats are valid," he explains. Commenting on the partnership with IRT, Aspera's European sales director, Bruce Brewer, says, "The IRT is a very well respected research body, so it's very satisfying to receive this accreditation from them for our joint developments in MXF file validation. The initiative will not only pave the way for future products and standards development to provide real-world applications for public broadcasters but will also help IRT and Aspera support the evolving needs of broadcasters in central European regions." http://asperasoft.comwww.irt.de/en/irt.html
The push towards full file-based systems
File-based operations and integrated workflows are no longer just buzzwords, they are increasingly the reality for broadcasters today. Kevin Hilton looks at the joint project by the AMWA and the EBU to ensure everything works together and discovers audio is a crucial part of all this.