Advanced authoring format (AAF) is a cross-platform file format that enables the interchange of data between multimedia tools.
The format was developed by Microsoft in 1998, and was designed to be a common file format that all multimedia authoring applications can use to create multimedia presentations.
AAF aims to provide designers with the option to use a plethora of tools for developing multimedia content without having to convert the files from one format to another. The AAF project is created and run by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA).
AAF was designed to facilitate cross-platform, multivendor interoperability for creating computer-based digital video production. AAF supports two types of data interchange: essence data, which includes audio, video, graphics, still images, text animation and various other forms of multimedia data, and metadata, which can be defined as supplementary information about essence data (or in simple terms, data about other data).
The essence data is the substantial data within a multimedia program that can be realized directly by the audience, while the metadata generally contains the information required to combine and modify the sections of essence data in the AAF file and create a complete multimedia program.
AAF can be classified into two important parts:
- Object specification
- Software development kit reference implementation
Some of the important characteristics of AAF are:
- Defines complex relationships to be described based on the object model
- Allows the interchange of metadata
- Allows the history of the program to be traced through its source elements through to final production
- Allows for the wrapping of all elements of a project for archiving