At 10:53 AM -0500 12/21/04, John Shutt wrote: >Perhaps. I've seen that effect mostly with LCD projectors, and it is truly >annoying. Yup. I agree that this is NOT the only problem, but it may be a contributing factor. > >However, That effect does not surround person's head as it moves across the >screen. But a person's head is usually covered (except in my case) with >hair, and the fine hair moving against a more or less stationary background >results in macroblocks with much detail and little correlation from frame to >frame, and so usually are the first to be DCT truncated by the encoder, >causing the cloud of bees. The "official" term for this MPEG artifact is "Mosquito Noise," however, I have heard the swarm or bees analogy many times. I wrote extensively about these issues a decade ago, as the MPEG-2 standard was being finalized. I have produced a number of examples (still images demonstrating this problem, that have been published in Videography and Digital Television magazines. An explanation of the EXACT CAUSE of this problem is in order. The problem is most acute when there is a high contrast transition within a DCT block. The DCT transform will produce a number of coefficient that are VERY CRITICAL, because of the contrast within the block; it will also produce a number of coefficients that are associated with the areas near the actual transition. The problem comes when we start to quantize the coefficients. As soon as we start to make the samples more "alike" we distort the samples with the highest contrast levels, followed by those will less contrast. If you look at something like a block that contains an edge of text, it will quickly become a buzz of distorted samples that contain information from the contrast extremes. This usually manifests itself as the buzz around the high contrast detail. Other less demanding scenes (like hair) may still exhibit the same problem when they are quantized too much. It's just another case where excessive quantization can cause MPEG-2 to introduce artifacts into the imagery. There are two potential solutions: 1. Provide an adequate channel for MPEG-2 content, so that excessive quantization is not necessary. 2. Use better compression tools that are not subject to this limitation of the DCT transform. Here there is some good news: The MPEG-4 AVC codec does a much better job in this area, as it does not use the DCT as the basis for block coding, and its replacement, allows for better control over the allocation of bits to areas of the image that are challenging. The nominal block size is 4 X 4 rather than 8X8, which further "localizes" the energy within a block. The transform is similar to the DCT but integer based, and there are special prediction modes for different kinds of energy (dominant H, dominant V, gradients, etc. And there are deblocking filters, which can be used when the encoder is forced to use excessive quantization. > >If you have access to an MPEG encoder, you can make the effect more and more >pronounced as you encode the same scene over and over with decreasing >bitrate. HD or SD, the only difference is the relative size of the >macroblocks to overall picture size, and the relative size of the 'bees.' >As I said, the effect is constant on MSNBC's ticker at the bottom of the >screen when viewed from DirecTV. The edge of each letter and number is >surrounded by a similar cloud of truncated macroblocks. Yup. Actually, Mosquito Noise is the FIRST MPEG-2 artifact to become apparent (other than the lousy 4:2:0 encoding of the color difference signals for interlaced source, which sucks even when there is little or NO QUANTIZATION. When the quantization becomes too sever, the entire DCT block takes the DC value, and we begin to see blocking artifacts. > >However, I suppose the only real way to tell for sure is to meet Tom at >***The Technology Retreat*** and view material together to discuss what is >being seen. ;^) Tom promises a very good demo. I assume and hope that there will be some comparisons specifically of the issues described here. Regards Craig ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.