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RTP Payload Format for the AV1 Video Codec

This project is for authoring and generating the AV1 RTP Payload Format specification document, in HTML and PDF.


The document is sourced in a light-duty markup format called Markdown. Markdown is a readable plain text format that transforms to HTML. See GitHub Flavored Markdown.

HTML output is

PDF output must be generated locally, using the commercial HTML-to-PDF transformer Prince (formerly PrinceXML). The non-commercial version is fully-functional but leaves a small watermark on the first page.

Note that print-like output (PDF) requires styling not germane to HTML presentation, so this project generates a specially-annotated HTML version for use as PDF input. Nevertheless, both HTML and PDF use the same content file (

GitHub workflow

GitHub workflow primers abound on the web. Following is a summary.

To collaborate on a GitHub project it's necessary to have a GitHub account and to have git installed locally. Then:

  1. Fork the project you want to work on to your own GitHub account, using the Fork button on the project's home page (top-right). You now have a remote copy.

  2. Clone the fork down to your local system and enter the directory that's created:

    git clone
    cd av1-rtp-spec

    By default, your clone will point to the "master" branch.

  3. Set up your remotes. This is done only once.

    Your locally-cloned repository will know of one remote: your fork, on GitHub, from which it was cloned. This remote will be named "upstream" by default, but we're going to rename it.

    We want your fork to be called "origin" and the authoritative, parent repository to be called "upstream." In a text editor, edit the [remote] stanzas in the file .git/config to look like this example:

    [remote "upstream"]
        url =
        fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/upstream/*
    [remote "origin"]
        url =[GitHub username]/av1-rtp-spec.git
        fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*

    "origin" now points to your fork, and "upstream" points to its source.

  4. Most work will be done in Before starting, make a branch in your cloned repo, to contain your changes. Choose a meaningful name.

    git checkout -b clarify-section-3

    This both creates the branch (-b) and checks-out the new branch in your local clone.

  5. Edit as desired, using your chosen text editor. Save your changes.

  6. When ready, add your changes to the branch:

    git add
  7. Commit your changes locally:

    git commit -m "Added section 3.3, Completely New Stuff"

    Alternatively (and preferably), do git commit only, which will spawn your git-default text editor for composing a multi-line commit message.

    You will also have a chance to annotate your commit later, on the GitHub website.

  8. Push your branch to "origin" (your remote fork):

    git push origin clarify-section-3
  9. Now visit the project's page on GitHub.

    GitHub sees that you've pushed a new branch to your fork, and offers to create a pull request. Follow the steps given. Annotate your pull request with any details that an approver might need, and submit it.

    The project maintainers will be notified of your pull request and will either merge it directly into "upstream," ask for changes, or ignore/reject it. The pull request, then, is both a patch and a comment thread.

  10. Once your pull request ("PR") is merged, you'll want to sync your local clone (and your remote fork) with the adopted changes:

    git fetch upstream
    git merge upstream/master
    git push origin

    Now everything is synchronized. We no longer need your working branch, so it's best to delete it:

    git checkout master  ## leave your branch, return to "master"
    git branch -d clarify-section-3

Note that it's usually wise to fetch and merge upstream/master before beginning new work, to ensure that you have the latest commits made by others. This matters less in a documentation project (vs. code), because resolving merge conflicts is usually quite easy, but it's good practice absent a reason not to.

Building locally

The file is quite readable, and you can probably work in it without regenerating the HTML output.

Generating and previewing your changes locally before submitting them requires a local pipeline that mirrors the build done automatically by GitHub Pages. Those steps are detailed in the av1-spec GitHub project's README:

Ignore the steps related to Node, npm and Grunt. These are not needed because the av1-rtp-spec document is far simpler than the AV1 bitstream spec.

Local PDF generation

Building the document locally writes output to an untracked/ignored directory _site. The PDF input file is _site/pdf.html.

prince _site/pdf.html -o /tmp/av1-rtp-spec.pdf