Create an iTunes delivery in Dolby Vision

Create an iTunes delivery in Dolby Vision

This article will guide through the basics steps to follow in order to create an iTunes package in Dolby Vision. For this example we will use the following sources :

  1. Apple Prores 4444 in UHD 12 bits with P3 D65 as primaries, Rec 709 as transform matrix and ST2084 PQ curve as EOTF.
  2. One Dolby Vision metadata file.

The settings used here complies with the current specifications when writing this article. However, we would like to point out that you must be aware of the specifications updates directly from the Apple's Support.

I. Prepare the timeline

After setting up your project and importing your content into the library, you can place your file into the timeline and adjust its duration (please refer to the MIST user manual for more information).

Among the settings of your composition, do not forget to check those of the CMS according to your source settings and the compliance to the HDR requirements.
You can use the NATIVE mode or use the MTCMS to adjust your composition settings:





If using the MTCMS, for each clip in your timeline, you have to define your source settings in the GRADE panel which are BT Rec 709 and BT.1886 by default:


To enable the use of Dolby Vision, it is necessary to select it from the drop-down menu of Dynamic Tone Mapping:





II. Import the Dolby Vision Metadata

In order to load your Dolby Vision metadata, you have to right-click on your clip and choose IMPORT from the Dolby Vision Metadata operations menu:



In FILE TYPE, you have to select Dolby Vision MDF (standing for MetaData File) in order to import properly your file. Then select your file and click OK:



Your content will be cut based on the Dolby Vision metadata trim. 
A yellow bar should appear under your clip name into the timeline. 
This yellow bar means that you have loaded your metadata:




Before exporting your content to an iTunes package, you can check your metadata with the DMCVT tool by pressing SHIFT + D:




To check the levels, you can use the waveform tool by pressing SHIFT + W and selecting the ST2084 as Type in the options:




You will find more informations about the HDR tools and settings into the MIST user manual.

According to the Apple iTunes Package specifications with Dolby Vision format, the sidecar metadata file should cover the  black frames required at the beginning and the end of the content. Also no gap is allowed in the editing.

If you want to generate chapters for your iTunes package, you can use the Reel function to create them. One reel will correspond to a chapter.


In iTunes the timeline cuts (caused by Dolby Vision or not) have no influence on the placement of chapters. The chapters are written in the metadata.xml that tells where the chapter should begin.

III. Export using the UMD

The Unified Master Delivery panel (UMD) is a dedicated interface allowing the creation of specifics deliverables requiring specific packaging and metadata in an automated way. 

You will find the Apple iTunes Package export panel by clicking on the UMD button to the bottom left corner of the timeline:




If the Apple iTunes Package is greyed and not accessible, it means your content or/and your composition settings are not matching the requiring specifications.

Once you have chosen the Apple iTunes Package in the deliverable column of the UMD module, you can go through the GENERAL, MISC and PRODUCT tab in order to fill in all the requested metadata:




Please refer to Apple Support for further assistance in using these metadata.

Now, go to the ESSENCE tab in VIDEO and choose your desired profile as well as the color space of your content. Then click on the appropriate HDR format, i.e. the Dolby Vision setting:




The HDR format can only be accessible if the color space chosen is ITU-R BT.2020 ST2084 1000 nits or P3 D65 ST2084 1000 nits.

  1. Then choose if you want to export the FULL or BLANKING area. 

The purpose to this setting is to set the active area for your HDR metadata because the metadata don't include the blanking. 
In the shown case, the content is in FULL frame. However a scope format fitted in an HD frame size will generate letterbox to maintain the aspect ratio. 

  1. You can check your source properties in the clip properties by right-clicking on the viewer. To define the active frame, you need to go to the Composition Settings in the OVERLAYS tab and setup the Frame Aspect based on your content to exclude the letterbox.
  1. Go to the AUDIO tab and select your configuration with the right channel mapping:



In this example, there’s no subtitle but you could add some if needed in the TIMED TEXT tab.

In the CHAPTERS tab, as mentioned previously you will find all your reels there used as being chapters:




On the left, the list of chapters in the UMD / On the right, the REELS panel.

Once your settings and your metadata are setup, go to the OUTPUT tab. Select the destination path and click on MAKE PACKAGE:




MIST will create a folder with the Vendor ID based name with the .itmsp extension including all your video, subtitles assets (if present) as well as poster frame if you’ve added them. In the case of Dolby Vision content, the metadata XML as well as the Dolby Vision XML must be present.


IV. Import an iTunes Package

To import an iTunes Package, you have to go into the Library and drag & drop the itmsp folder there from your OS browser.

The iTunes package will be imported and a new composition will automatically be created.

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