Motion Picture Film Reproduction Master Derivative - HD MP4 [MPD-R3]

Record Type: Digital Output from Motion Picture Film Source

Expected Use: Reproduction Master

Product Name: Motion Picture Film Reproduction Master Derivative - HD MP4 [MPD-R3]

Product Purpose: The purpose of this product is to respond to reference and reproduction requests. The file acts as a reference/distribution master for further compressed derivatives, which are served to researchers.

Nature of Source Material: This product is created from 4K ProRes 4444 MOV (Quick Time File Format), HD AVI (Audio Video Interleaved), or other reproduction master files.

Possible File Derivatives: This product is used to make some types of distribution files.

Other Information: This file contains added National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) identification slates and may have additional overall digital color or density adjustments applied, as well as adjustments for clarity of the audio. It is used as a source for all file derivatives that require the presence of a NARA slate.

File Properties

Container Format

MP4 File Format (MPEG-4 Part 14)

File Specifications

Target Total Bitrate: ~50.4Mbps


Video data

  • Video frame size: 1920x1080
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (4:3 image with pillarboxes)
  • Video codec: Advanced Video Codec (avc1)
  • Video bitrate: ~50.0Mbps
  • Video mode: CBR
  • Video frame rate: 24 fps
  • High Profile @ Level 4.1
  • Color space: YUV
  • Chroma subsampling: 4:2:0
  • Bit depth: 8 bit
  • Progressive


Audio data

  • Audio channels: 2 (stereo L R)
  • Audio bitrate: 384 Kbps
  • Audio mode: CBR
  • Audio codec: Advanced Audio Codec (AAC)
  • Audio sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit depth: 16 bit


Typical file size: ~378MB/minute or ~22.7GB/hour

Quality Control

Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Distribution Master MP4 files

NARA uses a commercially available, automated batch processing software tool to evaluate specific quality metrics for files created directly from film captures (see MPD-R1 and MPD-R2). The MP4 derivative described here is created from a 4K MOV or HD AVI file following NARA's Film Reference standard operating procedure (SOP). We rely on visual quality control (QC) and spot checks to confirm completeness and accuracy of slates, as well as technical characteristics of the files. If an MP4 does not meet specified requirements, a new file is created from the reproduction master capture file.


The MP4 filename contains metadata that associates the file with external sources of descriptive and technical metadata. Each filename is a unique identifier composed of the item’s record group, series, item number, and reel number (ex. 255-hq-199-r2.mp4).


This 50Mbps HD MP4 serves as a distribution master file. While the 4K MOV and HD AVI reproduction masters are saved as captured, this MP4 has added slates with identifying information appended, and often has color and audio adjustments applied. Because of its high bitrate, it may be used to transcode MP4 derivatives for almost all NARA purposes. Any HD derivatives that require lower levels of compression must be made from the reproduction master capture file.