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What is AVC INTRA 100 CODEC?

February 15th, 2010

1. What is AVC-Intra?    

AVC-Intra, the industry’s most advanced compression technology, is a professional intra-frame video codec with bit rates of 50 and 100Mb/s, utilizing the High 10 Intra and High 422 Intra profiles of H.264 respectively. AVC-Intra provides high-quality 10-bit intra-frame encoding in two modes: AVC-Intra 100, the highest recording quality currently available in a one-piece camcorder (comparable to mastering video quality), and AVC-Intra 50 for very high image quality at a significantly lower data rate. As an intra-frame approach, it captures and preserves the greatest amount of information while offering the greatest flexibility. Unlike long GOP approaches, AVC-Intra was explicitly designed and optimized for broadcast and production use rather than low bandwidth distribution.    

2. Isn’t H.264 a long GOP encoding scheme?     

AVC / H.264 is a new generation state-of-the art codec family with both Intra and Inter frame compression implementation options (profiles). Inter-frame compression, (long GOP) is usually used for content delivery and packaged media; in this mode its efficiency is unequaled. However, any image manipulation or processing will severely degrade the image quality in long GOP compression schemes.    

By contrast, Intra frame compression processes the entire image within the boundaries of each video field or frame. There is no interaction between adjacent frames, so its image quality stands up well to motion and editing. Intra-frame compression it is used most often for broadcast and production applications where such image manipulation is normal. AVC-Intra takes this process to new heights when it combines the advantages of the new H.264 / AVC software encoding tools to increase the coding efficiency, but does so without the editing / generational quality limitations associated with long GOP coding schemes.    

3. Is AVC-Intra a replacement for DVCPRO HD?   

Not at all. AVC INTRA is simply a more efficient codec in the DVCPRO family.

 4. What are the benefits of AVC-Intra?  

 Developed to provide high image quality, including greater encoding efficiency, AVC-Intra provides production companies and broadcasters more choices without compromising HD quality. At its highest level, AVC-Intra 100 gives professionals access to mastering quality HD recording and does not utilize any video sub-sampling. With 4:2:2, 10-bit Intra-frame coding, in 1080 progressive or interlace systems, AVC-Intra 100 records the full 1920×1080 raster, representative of master-quality recording. In 720 progressive systems, AVC-Intra 100 records the full 1280 x 720 raster, again without any video sub-sampling. AVC-Intra, a fully compliant H.264 codec implementation, offers significantly better compression efficiency than older codec families. The storage and bandwidth savings, without the compromises of long GOP compression, allows AVCIntra 50 to provide subjectively similar video quality to DVCPRO HD at half the bit rate.    

Also, by utilizing intra-frame compression with its frame bound compression, AVC-Intra is unaffected by motion or rapid changes in scene content. More important, due to intra-frame compression, AVC-Intra stands up to rigorous editing, including compositing, multiple layers of video, etc, far better than long-GOP compression scheme.

 Some recording formats utilize pre-filtering (video sub-sampling) or reduced quantizer accuracy (e.g. 10 bits to 8 bits), a trade off of video quality to minimize storage needs, that is acceptable in some ENG / EFP applications. However, this has been found unacceptable for critical production environments. AVC-Intra 100 provides full 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling at a quality comparable with mastering video formats.    



6. What makes AVC-Intra more efficient than existing compression technologies?  


In order to improve the compression efficiency of Intra (I-only) compression yet maintain quality and performance, the AVC-Intra codec takes advantage of new H.264’s compression “tools”. Improved VLSI processing power permits the use of computationally sophisticated algorithms that could not have been supported in real time in earlier generation CODEC hardware. In many cases an added layer of sophistication has been added to existing tools, such as allowing the methodology to adapt based on the image content properties, examples being intra-frame prediction, and advanced entropy encoding. 

From http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/home.asp  
Barry Basset from VMI Broadcast in London has a very interesting page on his website about P2 AVC INTRA codec, written in a way that even my Mother could understand it. Please visit the VMI website to read this page.  What makes AVC INTRA so great! On the VMI website there are numerous articles on just about anything that is of interest to Cinematographers, Directors, Editors and even producers. Visit the website by clicking on the VMI link under “Websites we like”. We would like to thank Barry for sharing his knowledge so freely.


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