Fast mode decision on H.264/AVC baseline profile for real-time performance

  • Marcos NietoEmail author
  • Luis Salgado
  • Julián Cabrera
  • Narciso García
Original Research Paper


In this paper a new fast mode decision (FMD) algorithm is proposed for the recent H.264/AVC video coding standard, aiming to reduce its computational load without loosing coding efficiency. This algorithm identifies redundancy and selects the minimum sub-set of modes for each macroblock (MB) required to provide high rate-distortion (RD) efficiency. It is based on a fast analysis of the histogram of the difference image between frames which classifies the areas of each frame as active or non-active by means of an adaptive thresholding technique. More coding effort is devoted to active areas with the selection of a large sub-set of Modes, as these areas are expected to be the most relevant in terms of RD cost. Results show reduction values around 35–65% of motion estimation (ME) time, preserving the RD cost for the Baseline Profile, by using P-Slices and without needing B-Slices. Moreover, the strategy works as an intelligent tool for real-time applications with constrained number of operations per frame: it wisely uses the given operational resources distributing them among those MBs that need it.


H.264/AVC Real-time Fast mode decision Histogram-based segmentation Adaptive thresholding 



This work has been partially supported by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia of the Spanish Government under project TIN2004-07860 (Medusa) and by the Comunidad de Madrid under project S0505/TIC-0223 (Pro-Multidis).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos Nieto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luis Salgado
    • 1
  • Julián Cabrera
    • 1
  • Narciso García
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, E.T.S.I. TelecomunicaciónMadridSpain

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