A Fast Variable Block Size Motion Compensation Algorithm for H.264 Video Coding

Chih Hung Kuo, Meiyin Shen, C. C.Jay Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The emerging H.264 video coding standard can achieve a substantial coding gain as compared with existing coding standards. One major contribution of its gain comes from a very rich syntax for motion compensated prediction at the expense of a higher computational complexity. To be more specific, seven modes of different block sizes and shapes (i.e. 16×16, 16×8, 8×16, 8×8, 8×4, 4×8 and 4×4) are supported. To do full search over all modes requires an extremely large amount of computation. We propose a fast search algorithm for the variable block size motion estimation. The proposed algorithm includes three stages. First, an initial estimate of the motion vector is obtained by a multi-resolution motion search. Then, based on the estimated motion vector and its corresponding distortion measure, a rate-distortion model is used to select the initial mode for motion search. Finally, some early-termination rules are adopted to reject impossible block sizes and motion locatios sooner. By avoiding search through all block sizes, the amount of computation involved in the motion search can be substantially reduced. The proposed algorithm can achieve a speed-up factor up to 120 times when compared to the fastest full-search algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventMultimedia Systems and Applications VI - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 2003 Sept 82003 Sept 9

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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