Harshdeep 2.0

November 13, 2006

Specialized video codecs

Filed under: Video — harshdeep @ 2:11 pm

Just came to know that Microsoft has a special video codec for screencasts (through Coding Horror). Screencasts are indeed very different from normal videos. Generally they have very low motion, and the UI consists of huge areas of same color. This itself makes these videos highly compressible, but a specific codec for such videos can better exploit these properties for higher compression.

It should give good results with 2D animated movies also, as they have similar properties. And indeed, there is Apple’s Animation codec that works on the same assumption of long horizontal lines of same color. However, for real world footage “it barely compresses at all” according to Wikipedia.

This spurs an interesting train of thought about improving compression for certain types of videos by exploiting their properties, like in TV Sitcoms in which the same set is repeated in various scenes, not necessarily continguous, or the same background image for long shots in sports videos for certain camera angles. Intriguing!

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