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IMA releases specification for multimedia data exchange based on Apple and Avid submissions; Recommended Practice already in use by many digital media professionals.

ANNAPOLIS, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 23, 1995--The Interactive Multimedia Association (IMA) announced today the release of its draft Recommended Practice for Multimedia Data Exchange, based on technologies submitted for consideration by Apple Computer and Avid Technology. They include Bento, part of the OpenDoc standard interchange format developed by Apple Computer and adopted by Component Integration Labs (CI Labs), and Avid Technology's Open Media Framework (TM) Interchange (OMFI) specification, developed to support its non-linear editing systems. The IMA Recommended Practice for Multimedia Data Exchange combines the Bento and OMFI technologies in an open specification for implementation by digital video producers, title developers and multimedia tools providers to enable the exchange of multimedia data across multiple computing platforms.

The Recommended Practice defines a flexible file container format and framework for data exchange, thereby providing a solution for moving large amounts of multimedia data - including graphics, animation, audio, motion video and text - between different computer platforms. The specification already has been adopted by many leading digital media studios and production facilities. Today's announcement was acclaimed by major platform providers and the developer community.

``The IMA has successfully completed the difficult task of fully documenting Bento in a completely platform-neutral manner,'' said David Nagel, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Research and Development for Apple Computer. ``This puts the specification into a proper standards format, thereby extending its usefulness beyond the Macintosh OS.''

``We are extremely pleased with the Data Exchange Recommended Practice,'' added Curt Rawley, President & CEO of Avid Technology, Tewksbury, MA. ``With OMF Interchange as its basis, and with the support of the IMA membership behind it, we believe that it is truly going to make a difference. In the networked environment, the ability to share data across platform boundaries is fundamental.''

``The need to exchange multimedia data streams is universal,'' said Jed Harris, President of CI Labs, which is responsible for proliferation of the OpenDoc content interchange standard. ``The IMA's recommendation on multimedia interchange defines a clear industry standard for software developers, which will enhance innovation and make life easier for everyone.''

The drafting and evaluation committees, chaired by Scott Lewis of DSL Enterprises, invested thousands of hours developing the specification, with input from companies including IBM, JVC Labs, Lotus Development and Sony. The Recommended Practice supports two levels of data exchange that address the need to exchange discrete multimedia data types as well as multimedia data compositions which include audio, video and/or graphics, thereby allowing developers to select the method of exchange that suits their needs. ``Since this recommended practice includes the ability to synchronize video, audio and graphics to form complete multimedia compositions, I believe this will represent a milestone in facilitating the exchange of multimedia information among developers, title producers and publishers,'' said Lewis.

``This work is directly relevant to the work of a number of formal standards organizations, including those dealing with broadband and online services,'' noted Phil Corman, Vice President of Technology for the IMA, which issued the draft Recommended Practice as part of the work of the IMA Interactive Media Forum. ``It will likely be taken up for inclusion within other data exchange efforts, such as the Digital Audio-Visual Council (DAVIC) Request For Technology.'' Corman indicated one of the next steps necessary to defining the ``ingredients'' of multimedia data exchange is development of a naming registry for data types.

Anyone interested in commenting on the draft Recommended Practice for Multimedia Data Exchange prior to its final publication in June 1995 should contact Brian Marquardt at IMA Headquarters at (410) 626-1380. The draft is also available via the Internet at ftp://ima.org or at ftp://ibminet.awdpa.ibm.com/pub/ima/dedc (download the readme file for instructions).

This work follows other IMA compatibility efforts including its Recommended Practice for Multimedia Portability, Recommended Practice for Digital Audio, and the Taxonomy of Digital Set-Top Classifications. The IMA's Recommended Practice for Multimedia System Services is also nearing completion.

Based in Annapolis, MD, the IMA is the oldest, largest and most active trade association devoted to multimedia, tackling issues including application portability and interoperability, intellectual property rights and technology convergence. Since its inception in 1987, its mission has been to promote the successful application of interactive multimedia in business and consumer markets and to reduce key barriers to the widespread use of interactive multimedia technologies and applications.

For IMA membership information, contact Kathy Mitchell, Manager of Member Services, at (410) 626-1380. To utilize the IMA FAXBack System, dial (410) 268-2100 from a fax machine handset. To access the IMA Home Page on the World Wide Web, point your browser software to http://www.ima.org.

CONTACT: Interactive Multimedia Association, Indianapolis

Ken Christie, 317/823-5073 phone

317/823-5075 fax

kchristie@ima.org - e-mail
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 23, 1995
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