NABA-DPP Common File Format Specification


The NABA – DPP Common File Format Specification was created as a result of a survey NABA conducted on the needs and issues that challenged its members in North America. A further survey of the industry was conducted by a joint initiative of NABA, SMPTEAMWAAAAAAd-IDIABMANA and the EBU, confirming the ongoing challenges in program delivery as file-based media.

Based on the results of both surveys, it was determined the the adoption of commonly defined, standards-based delivery specifications will reduce the number of specifications that have to be supported by the industry as well as reducing inefficiencies, complexity and errors that continue to plague media workflows.

NABA in conjunction with the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) and eight of the major North American broadcasters – ABC/Disney, Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Fox, HBO, PBS, TimeWarner and Turner – gathered together to develop specifications leveraging existing standards and specifications. They have agreed to a commonly developed file format, structure and wrapper based on the AS-11 UK DPP specification implemented in the UK in 2014. The outcome is new technical specifications (the first published April 2016) for the delivery of finished air-ready programs for North America.

More recently, in late 2019, NABA/DPP completed work on the latest AS-11 X10 Working Draft Specification supporting advanced media formats including High Definition/High Dynamic Range (HD-HDR) and Ultra High Definition/High Dynamic Range (UHD) both in 10-bit to be published shortly.

Production companies wishing to deliver to these new specifications should discuss this at the point of commission, and seek formal agreement with their broadcaster at the outset of production. Not every North American broadcaster will move to these new technical specifications immediately. The transition will start as support from vendors involved in the media supply chain adopt more codecs with various networks taking delivery of programs to these specifications on a selective basis as changes to their facilities and workflows permit.

The team is also working with the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) to support specifications in SMPTE Standards for BXF 5.0 (Broadcast Exchange Format) and IMF (Interoperable Master Format), and with the AMWA and BBC Rules Based Representations of the specifications.

The current versions of the generic Air Ready Master specifications are available for download via the links below:

AS-11 X8
AS-11 X9
AS-11 X10 coming soon

The specifications are based on the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) AS-11 rules base specifications. This work is available through the AMWA website and work is ongoing to define the rules for these and other international file formats. Full details can be found below:


NABA and DPP members, in conjunction with SMPTE, have completed work on specifications for a High Definition Library Master Format for both ProRes and J2K. These Library Master Specifications cover the workflows for organizations wishing to receive a single master from which all other required versions are produced, such as Air Ready Master, VOD, Netflix, Apple iTunes, Hulu and other O.T.T. Versions. These are based on SMPTE IMF Standards Application 2e for High Definition and Ultra High Definition (UHD).

The SMPTE Technical Specification Interoperable Master Format – Application DPP (ProRes) and now DPP J2K can be found on their website here.

Other related links:


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