Smart Codec Guide

By: IPVM Team, Published on Feb 01, 2018

In 2019, smart codecs are now mainstream. Once seemingly a marketing buzzword, now the majority of manufacturers offer smart codecs on at least some of their cameras.

These marketing names vary, including 'Zipstream', 'Smart Coding', 'H.264+', 'Smart Stream II', and others, and critically, these implementations and bandwidth savings vary dramatically.

In this Guide, we explain what smart codecs attempt to do and the most common implementations, covering:

  • Historic static compression, I-frame interval, and FPS techniques
  • Smart codec basic
  • Dynamic compression
  • Dynamic I-frame interval/GOP
  • Dynamic FPS
  • Static compression regions
  • Intelligent DNR
  • VMS/NVR compatibility
  • Manufacturer support
  • IPVM test recommendations
  • Bandwidth risks
  • Smart codec outlook

To understand this, you must have a good understanding of codecs, compression and bandwidth variations. Please first review our:

'Normal' codecs, like 'regular' H.264, set one compression level, one I frame interval, and one frame rate. 'Smart' codecs change one, two, or all of those, reviewed inside.

** ****, ***** ****** are *** **********. **** seemingly * ********* ********, now *** ******** ** manufacturers ***** ***** ****** on ** ***** **** of ***** *******.

***** ********* ***** ****, including '*********', '***** ******', 'H.264+', '***** ****** **', and ******, *** **********, these *************** *** ********* savings **** ************.

** **** *****, ** explain **** ***** ****** attempt ** ** *** the **** ****** ***************, covering:

  • ******** ****** ***********, *-***** interval, *** *** **********
  • ***** ***** *****
  • ******* ***********
  • ******* *-***** ********/***
  • ******* ***
  • ****** *********** *******
  • *********** ***
  • ***/*** *************
  • ************ *******
  • **** **** ***************
  • ********* *****
  • ***** ***** *******

** ********** ****, *** must **** * **** understanding ** ******, *********** and ********* **********. ****** first ****** ***:

'******' ******, **** '*******' H.264, *** *** *********** level, *** * ***** interval, *** *** ***** rate. '*****' ****** ****** one, ***, ** *** of *****, ******** ******.

[***************]

"Normal" ***** ******

** ****** ******, ***** key ********** *** ********* set ** ***** ******:

  • *********** ***** (********* ****** quality ** ************)
  • * ***** ******** (********* called *** ** ***)
  • ***** **** (***)

**** ** *** *** not ***** ** *****, they ***** **** ************* making ***** *** ********* on *** ******** (*.*., see** ****** ************ *********** Comparison).

Fixed *********** *******

'******' ****** *** * single *********** ***** *** the ****** *****, ********** of **** ** ***** displayed. *** *******, ** we **** ** * scene ** * *******, both *** ****** ******* as **** ** *** static *****, *****, ****, and ***** ********** ***** will ** ********** ** the **** ***** ** each *****:

Fixed *-***** ******** *******

*** **** *********** ********** between *****'* ****** (*.***/*.***) and ******* ****** **** MJPEG ** **** **** do *** **** *** 'same' ***** **** *** over *****. *******, * single **** ***** ** sent (****** ** '*-*****'), followed ** **** ***** updates ** *** ***** of *** ***** ***** have *******, ****** '*-******.' In ******** ******, *** I-frame ******** ** *****. This ***** **** *** camera **** ****** ******** an * ***** ************, most ******** * ******. In **** ********, ** the ****** ** ** FPS, ** **** **** 1 *-***** ******** ** 29 *-****** *** **** repeat.

*** ******** ** * fixed *-***** ******** ** that *** ******** ** the ***** *** ****. Sometimes * ******* *** be ***** *** ** hour. ****** *** '*****' time, ******* ** * frame **** *** ****** is ********. ******** **** I ****** ******* *** more ********* **** * frames, ***** ** *** order ** *** ****.

*** **** *** ***** of ****** **** *******, I ***** ******** ****** be ********* ** ****** artifacts *** ***** ****** (see****: *.*** * ** P ***** ******).

Smart ***** **********:

****** ******* ******, ***** codecs *********** ****** ***** parameters, ***** * *********** of ***** **********:

  • ******* ***********:******* *********** ** ******* areas ** *** ***** instead ** *** ****** frame.
  • ******* *-***** ********:******* *-***** ******** ********* on ****** ** *** scene.
  • ******* *********:******* *** ********* ** motion ** *** *****.

** **** ** ***** in **** ****** *****.

Dynamic ***********

*** ***** ********* **** is ******* ***********, ***** adjusts ************ ***** *** different ***** ** *** scene ***** ** ********. For *******, ******* ** setting *********** ** '******' for *** ***** *****, as ***** ** *** hallway ***** *****, *** camera ******* *********** ** the ****** ******* ** low (****** *******), ** maximize ******* *******, *** increases *********** ** ****** background *****.

** ********* *********** ****** for ***** ** *** scene, ** ** ******** to **** ****** ******* bandwidth ******** *** ********* quality ** ***** ***** matter ** **** ************* assigning *********** ****** ** relevant ***** ** *** scene.

Dynamic *-***** ********

******, ***** ****** *** adjust *-***** ******** ***** on ******** ** ******** in * *****. ** long ** *** ***** has ****** ** ******, the ****** *** **** an *-***** ************ (*.*., every * ** ** or ** *******), *** as **** ** *********** activity ** ********, ** I-frame ** *********, **** the ******** **** ***** as **** ** ******** continues.

*** ***** ***** ***** analysis ** * ******** H.264 ****** ****** *** using ******* *-***** ******** (GOP). ***** *** ******** codec ******* ***** ** an ******** ** **, the ******* *** ******, increasing ** **** ** when ***** ** ** motion ** *** *****. Note **** **** ******* shown ***** **** ** FPS.

***** ******* *-***** ******** will *** ******* *******, quality ****** ****** *********** the ****, ***** ************* reducing *********. ** *** tests, ******* *** ** the ******* ****** ** bandwidth ******* ** ***** codecs.

Dynamic ***

****** **** *****/**** **** included ******* ***, ****** '****** ***** *********' *** ******* *****, its ************ ** ** cameras ** **** ******. Like *-***** ********, ******* FPS ******* ******* ** simply ******* ***** ****** when ***** ** ** activity ** *** *****.

***** **** *** *********** reduce ******* (********* ***** 10 **/* *** ******** in *** *****), ***** should ****** ** ******** frame **** ** **** moving ******* *** ** missed ** **** *****, such ** ******** ** highway *****, ******* ******** in ***** *****, ***. Additionally, ** **** ***** regulations *** ******** **** frame **** *********.

Not-So-Smart: ****** *********** *******

**** ******* ***** ***** to *** ***** ***** as ********** *** **********. This *** ****** ******* in **** ***** *** introduces ********** ***** ******** to ***** ******:

  • ************* **** ***********:** ******* *** *** carefully *** ***** ** actual *** ** *** area ***** ********, ****** objects *** **** **** higher *********** "**********" *****, potentially ****** ****** *******.
  • ******** ******** ** ********** change:** *** ***** *******, users **** ******** ****** their ****** ******* ** properly ******* *** ** the *****. ** ********** is ******** **** ***** smart ******.

Related ***** **********: ***** *********

****** ****** **** ******* with ******* *****, ****** in *** ***** ******. This ***** '*****' ****** the ****** *** ********* tricks ******** **** ******** it ** **** ********. Because *** ****** ******** it ** ********, ** takes **** ********* (***** a *** **** *********). See**** / *** *** Video ************ *****

************ ******* *** ****** intelligence ** *********** ******* real ******** (* ****** walking, * *** *******, etc.) *** ******* ***** which *** ****** ********* significantly. *** ****, *** our****** *** (******* ***** Reduction) *****.

Works **** ******** *****/****

******* ***** ****** **** within *** ******** ********* of *.***/*.***, ********** ******* is ********* *** ******** by ***** *** ****, in ******** ** **** specialized ****** ***** ***** to ****** ********* (**** as******* ************** ********' *******) *** ******* ****** integration.

**** ***** *** ********** issues **** ***** ******** or ******* *** *******, but **** *** ********** have ******** ******* ***** smart ******' ************ *** removed ***** ******.

Manufacturer ****** *******

******* *********, **** ******* a ****** ****** *** dynamic *********** ******, **** not **** ** ******* that ** ****** *** smart *-***** ********* ** dynamic ***. **** ******* only ******* *** ** the ***** (**** ******** dynamic ***********), ***** ****** support *** *****.

*** ***** ***** ******* which ************* ******* ***** smart ***** ********:

Manufacturer *********** ******

**** *** ****** * number ** ***** *************** including:

**** *****, ** **** found * *** *** points:

  • ***** * ***** ******** had *** ******* ******, with **%+ ******* ******, simply ******* **** ************ scenes *** ****** *** long **** *******, ******** great ******* **** **** I ******.
  • ******* ***** *********** *** the **** ******* ******, though ** **** ***** bandwidth *******.
  • ***** ***** *********** *** the ***** ******, ***** at **** **-**% *******, because ** ****** ** what ***** ** ******.

Bandwidth ***** ** **** ****** ******

****** ***** ****** *** greatly ****** ********** *******, ***** ****** ****** **** calculating ********* ***** ** high ****** ****** *** see ****** ** ** savings **** ***** ******** codecs. *** *******, ** a **** ****** ******* scene, ******** ** ****, Panasonic, *** ********* ******* were **** ***** **** with ***** ****** ******** during ******* ** **** motion, *.*., ***** *******:

*******, ** *******, ********** for **** ***** ******* and **** ******* ******* across ******* *******, ******* were ***** ** **% on *** *******.

******* ***** ****** *** have ****** ****** ** high ****** *******, ********* needs **** ** ********** for ***** **** ********,*** *******, ******** ***** ***** savings. ******* ** ** so ***** ************ *** drop ******** ** ***** links ** ******** *******.

Smart ***** *******

** ****, ****** *** major ************* ******* ***** codecs ** ** ***** some ** ***** *******, with **** ************ **** in *** ******** ** their ****. ***** ******* them, ** ***** ***** techniques (**** ** ********* DNR ** ******** ***** depth) **** ** ** a *********** ************ ****** forward.

******* ****** ********** ***** will ******** ** ********, and ******* *** ********* benefits *** ** ***********, we ****** ******** ** offer ***** ****** *** to ******* *** ************ of ***** ********* *** further *******, *** ******* them **** *.*** ** the ***** ***** ********** acceptance.

Comments (16)

What’s the impact of new smart CODECs on existing surveillance systems? Is the enhanced compression transparent to existing VMSs?

We have not seen any issues integrating with VMSes to date. The changes are primarily on the encoding / camera side with decoding remaining the same for the VMS.

Panasonic is now announcing 'smart coding technology'. Here is how they describe it:

"Smart Coding Technology that modifies the encoding compression algorithm in standard H.264 video streams, yielding up to 70 percent improvement in bandwidth reduction to reduce bandwidth has been released.
Available as a free firmware upgrade to all new Panasonic 3, 5 and 6 Series Models, the technology offers significant decreased overall bandwidth usage to effectively lessen the amount of storage needed for recorded images.
Smart Coding technology encoding deploys Group of Picture (GOP) Control; Frequency Divided Filter (FDF); and 3-D Multi-Process Noise Reduction (3D-MNR) to achieve a lower bit rate for recorded images without degrading the captured and transmitted video stream. Combined, these features can effectively provide a substantial bit rate reduction (the number of bits per second that can be transmitted along a digital network) in the recorded video."

We expect to see more and more manufacturers to do similar as the bandwidth benefits are obvious and significant.

Undiclosed Manufactuter brings up an interesting point here about switching between streams with a high GOP ratio:

To decode the current frame, the Client UI would have to decode the previous I-frame and all the subsequent p/b frames, and if the gap between I-frames is 5 to 8 seconds, this could be between 50 to 200 frames depending on the frame rate. I doubt the VMS would send these previous frames to reduce the delay, and will just expect the client to wait. Keep in mind that traditionally, I-frames are every second or two so the wait is not normally that long. Again, smart codecs can cause the delay to be much longer in some cases - it is the price you pay for increased storage...

When using a VMS to switch between streams have you noticed any unusually long delays? If UM is right, one might be waiting 20 seconds before seeing a live picture, which might be considered unacceptable by many.

Some Cameras & VMS allow for I-Frame insertion request to be sent to demand an I-Frame immediately. This can mitigate waiting 200+ frames for the next regularly scheduled I-Frame.

Is this an out-of-band request that operates on an existing RTSP stream, or is this made when creating a new socket?

We had a site where we installed a brand new Q6000 + Q60 PTZ and decided to try Dynamic GOP on the VMS. We leaned the hard way that VMD does not work when your I-frame interval is too high, we had an incident and no video because there where not enough frames to compare for VMD to kick off recording.

Dynamic GOP is great for continuous recording but be very careful on motion based recording.

That's a terrible side effect! What VMS were you using? Server side or camera side VMD?

its one of the Top 5 VMS's, Cam side VMD.

If its Cam side VMD then it's not the VMSes fault, right?

It's hard to say. Because the cam is doing the detection but the VMS is getting the metadata to tell it to records. It still needs to get enough frames to compare.

The more it's discussed the more questions arise on the technicalities.

I am trying bench test a similar cam but have. It had a chance to do so.

Its hard to say. Because the cam is doing the detection but the VMS is getting the metadata to tell it to records. It still needs to get enough frames to compare.

so maybe the I-frame associated with the P-frames that have motion in them has already been discarded by the VMS when the meta-data comes in? What was the pre-record amount set to?

Maybe you can set that to a large enough value to cover the GOP length.

We believe that is precisely what happened. GOP length was get to ~300.

I think pre/Post was set to 15 Seconds

Good write-up.

A great write-up.

Good to know about the CODEC guide.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Registration Closed - Spring 2019 IP Networking Course on May 02, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here - Closed. Last chance now.   This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Subnetting for Video Surveillance on Apr 30, 2019
This guide explains when subnetting is used on security networks, and how it works. We explain how to add or remove IP addresses to your range,...
LenelS2 Launches VRx Video Platform on Apr 29, 2019
For years, S2's video management platform, the NetVR, was based on Exacq. Now, after years of internal development, S2 has launched its own...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...

Most Recent Industry Reports

NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact