Check your subtitling requirements
18 November 2010
What should an XML/MXF subtitling format enable you to do? The EBU Subtitling Group (DFXP) invites you to specify any practical requirements you may have on a subtitling file format. These requirements will be used to create an EBU Recommendation on Subtitling in XML and MXF.
Market developments pushing for a new spec
Larissa Görner (IRT) chairs the EBU Group on Subtitling in XML/MXF and explains the background of this request: "In Germany, like in many other countries, we are faced with an explosive growth of the use of broadcasters' content on web-oriented platforms, including mixed outlets such as HBB. This pressures broadcasters to optimise their subtitling workflows and offer output in formats other than DVB Subtitling or even analogue Teletext only. The EBU's common exchange format used until now is not capable of meeting the most-recent requirements, simply as it was not created with today's usage in mind. So we are looking for a new format to use in cross-media production, which should work with two key technologies commonly encountered in production: XML and MXF."
Basic and avanced
The 'wishlist' currently being gathered will be used to verify candidate technologies for their suitability to recommend in an EBU publication, which will probably profile the technology to increase interoperability and to decrease complexity. The Group has split the requirements into two parts: basic and advanced. The almost 50 basic requirements range from allowing styling options, such as italic, on a per-character basis to backwards compatibility with STL metadata. "It is not rocket science. ", Larissa says. "But it is important to get it right. We don't want to make the mistake of starting from the solution-side, we have to start from the professional users' side. If anybody has special needs, they should let us know soon." The EBU DFXP Group will discuss the input received in its next online meeting on 9 December 2010.
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