Multimedia content

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Description

PDFs may contain multimedia content: movies, sound and 3D content.

Risks

Rendering of multimedia content may depend on external applications that may not
be available in the future; the format in which multimedia content is stored may become obsolete.

Assessment

The following table shows the relevant output of Apache Preflight (part of Apache PDFBox) for PDFs that contain multimedia. Results obtained with Preflight 2.0.0:

Reference file Description Error Code(s) Details
embedded_video_avi.pdf Contains embedded AVI movie 5.2.1; 1.2.9 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Screen; Body Syntax error, EmbeddedFile entry is present in a FileSpecification dictionary
embedded_video_quicktime.pdf Contains embedded Quicktime movie 5.2.1; 1.2.9 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Screen; Body Syntax error, EmbeddedFile entry is present in a FileSpecification dictionary
20020402_CALOS.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 5.2.1; 6.2.5 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Movie; Action is forbidden, The action Movie is forbidden
Jpeg_linked.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 5.2.1 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Screen
MultiMedia_Acro6.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 5.2.1 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Screen
VolvoS40V50-Full.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 6.2.6 Action is forbidden, The action Rendition is undefined
movie.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 5.2.1 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : Movie
AdobeChassisDemo-commented.pdf From Multimedia & 3D Tests on Adobe Acrobat Engineering website 5.2.1 Forbidden field in an annotation definition, The subtype isn't authorized : 3D

Notes

Error codes generic, full error descriptions important as well

The Preflight source code reveals that some of the errors codes such as 5.2.1 and 6.2.5 are generic for annotation and action types that are forbidden in PDF/A-1. The Screen and Movie annotations are just two of them, which means that it is not possible to identify embedded movies without taking into account the elaborate error description (i.e. the contents of the details field in the output) as well.

Other multimedia annotations

Screen, Movie and 3D annotations are not the only multimedia annotations in PDF. The format specification distinguishes the following multimedia annotations:

  • Movie annotations (predecessor of Screen annotations, deprecated since PDF 1.5)
  • Screen annotations
  • Sound annotations
  • 3D annotations (3D objects, since PDF 1.6)

So in general any profiling for audiovisual multimedia content should include Movie, Screen and Sound annotations (and/or their corresponding Actions).

Additional test results

Results of additional tests with more complex PDFs with multimedia can be found here:

Analysis of Acrobat Engineering PDFs with Acrobat Preflight and Apache Preflight

Example files

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