Improved video compression approved


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If you’ve played a video on your iPad, you’ve enjoyed the benefit of the H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC video coding standard. It was once the underdog to Flash and other omnipresent formats, but has now become the most-used codec, currently accounting for more than 80 percent of all web video — and even winning a PrimeTime Emmy award.

And now it’s about to be replaced as well, by a new codec [compressor-decompressor] that promises even greater efficiency, enough so that higher-than-HD resolution video can stream over the Internet and to mobile devices. H.265 “will considerably ease the burden on global networks where, by some estimates, video accounts for more than half of bandwidth use,” says the ITU, the United Nations agency for information and communication technology.

The new standard, known informally as ‘High Efficiency Video Coding’ (HEVC) will need only half the bit rate of its predecessor. “HEVC will unleash a new phase of innovation in video production spanning the whole ICT spectrum, from mobile devices through to Ultra-High Definition TV,” ITU says.

Of course, we’re a long ways from seeing hardware built specifically to work with the new format on the shelves, but software-based encoders and players may debut later this year.


YouTube, Facebook lead in online video viewing

Market research comScore reports Google’s sites, primarily, ranked as the top online video content property in July with 157 million unique viewers, followed by with 53 million, Yahoo! Sites with 48.7 million, Vevo with 44.8 million, and Microsoft’s sites with 42.7 million.

The latest Video Metrix service also shows more than 184 million U.S. Internet users watched 36.9 billion online content videos in July. 85.5 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video. The duration of the average online content video was 6.7 minutes, comScore says.

Americans also viewed 9.6 billion video ads in July, with each of the top 4 video ad properties delivering more than 1 billion video ads. Google ranked first, followed by Hulu,,, SpotXchange, and TubeMogul.

The duration of the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes. Video ads accounted for 20.7 percent of all videos viewed and 1.6 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.


Autodesk to acquire Socialcam for $60 million

Imaging software developer Autodesk  says it will acquire Socialcam for approximately $60 million.

The mobile social video capture, editing and sharing app and service launched in 2011.

“Mobile computing, the cloud and social media are improving and changing the way people design, engineer and create projects,” Autodesk says. “Video is an ideal medium for professionals and consumers alike to communicate and share their design ideas.”

Autodesk will prioritize support for the existing Socialcam community, while investing in scaling the platform and developing a more comprehensive set of tools for Socialcam users. Autodesk also plans to use the Socialcam platform to help make its technology for professional film and video creators more accessible to a broader audience.

Justin.TV developed Socialcam, calling it at launch “the easiest way to share videos with friends. With a few clicks you’re able to record, tag and share videos as well as browse, like, and comment on your friends’ videos.” The app for iPhone and Android featured unlimited video length and storage, automatic streaming video upload that starts uploading when you start recording, tagging, and easy sharing to Facebook and Twitter.

Since then, the Socialcam app has been one of the most popular mobile video apps in the iOS App Store and Android marketplace, the company says, with more than 16 million downloads. It spun out of Justin.TV as a separate company with four employees in August 2011, and raised new angel funding, TechCrunch reports.

Automatically mixing video from multiple users at the same location

Vyclone says it has developed “the way to co-create, sync and share movies with people around you” — and the company this week reports it teamed with Nissan to create “the world’s first crowd-sourced racing lap.” At Le Mans 2012, thirty volunteers “armed themselves with iPhones and iPads to help chart the first ever racing lap of the Nissan DeltaWing.”

The company recently launched its iOS app in the UK. The Vyclone mobile video app lets you “create movies that mix your clips with footage taken by other people filming the same events. Instantly. Film an event together, upload your footage to Vyclone and receive a movie with all your combined perspectives,” the company says. “It collects and synchronizes any clips taken at the same time and place. Then it edits them together, cutting between shots to show the scene from every point of view.”

The system uses GPS location information tagged into the uploaded video files.

Technology Review reports that co-developer Joe Sumner, a singer-songwriter, “thought of the idea in 2010 while touring… He noticed that audience members spent much of  the show recording it with their cell phones and then posted their videos on YouTube. Sumner figured there must be a simple way to link all the phones at an event and create an automatically generated compilation of the different videos taken simultaneously. That way “people would be able to look at every single viewpoint and see everything,” he says.”

Vimeo partners with SmartSound to offer music for video makers

“You know it, I know it, and our ears know it,” online video service Vimeo says. “Videos and music go great together.”

In light of that, the company launched two features “that make it easier than ever to juxtapose audio with your visuals.”

“The Enhancer” feature on the site’s Internet-based video editor adds music to videos from Vimeo’s integrated music store, and lets users adjust the music and video volume levels “like a DJ working the crossfader at the club,” Vimeo adds.

The catalog now contains almost 4,000 tracks “which you can customize to perfectly match your video and creative vision. You can customize each track’s length, change the mood by adjusting the instrumentation, or select different variations of each track.”

The SmartSound tracks are $2 for a personal license or $20 for a commercial license.

Vimeo says it’s also improved its player, with better “jump-to-anywhere” functionality, and added other features to the site for video creators.


YouTube automating 3D video conversion

YouTube will now automatically convert standard flat 2D videos into simulated stereoscopic movies for 3D viewing.

Last year YouTube offered tools to convert videos into 3D with a click, and since then users have “converted hundreds of thousands of videos to 3D,” the site says. Now its expanding the beta test by adding automatic 3D conversion for short-form videos uploaded in 1080p.

Users can select “3D viewing” in the Quality settings on the YouTube player, don 3D glasses, “and see YouTube in another dimension.”

For the conversions, YouTube adds it looks at video characteristics such as color, spatial layout and motion to estimate a depth map for each frame of a monoscopic video sequence. Also, machine learning from the “true 3D” videos on YouTube understands video depth characteristics, and applies them in depth estimations. The generated depth map and the original monoscopic frame create a stereo 3D left-right pair, which a stereo display system needs to display a video as 3D. “With this broader knowledge of 3D conversion, we then apply cloud computing scalability to make conversion possible.”

More information is here.


Givit stores and sends Flip videos

Online sharing service Givit “allows anyone to instantly and securely share videos, personal messages, or special moments exclusively with the audience meant to see it” and the site says its now integrated with the soon-defunct FlipShare site for the Flip video cameras.

Cisco will discontinue the FlipShare service December 31, 2013, Givit says, and “as a way to permanently save their videos, users can now instantly transfer their full FlipShare library to Givit for permanent storage and instant sharing with one click.”

The service is private by default, “supporting users’ desire for security.” Social conversations around videos are exclusive to the audience of recipients, and viewers cannot re-share or forward videos without the creator’s consent. It’s “perfect for private social and family moments, confidential business projects, and personal messages.”

FlipShare could only be used with the Flip camera, Givit says, noting it allows users to also share videos they have captured from any digital camera or camcorder. Givit is offering Flip users double storage space with any premium upgrade: 2 gigabytes of storage are free; 10GB, 25GB and 50GB are $30, $50,  and $100 per year.

Givit launched in November 2011, and is based in San Diego, CA.





Video website creation for small businesses

“Video is by far the most powerful and persuasive method of sharing your story and providing interactive user experiences on the Web,” says developer Bizideo, adding “video production and digital bandwidth costs are falling, making video website building more accessible.”

The company says it allows small business owners who don’t know how to program and code to build fully functional video-based websites. “The software is as intuitive and user-friendly as word processing programs.”

Also, the company is launching a network for videographers and other visual arts professionals — signing them on as providers for customers needing visual arts support.

“Nobody knows your company or your customers like you do,” BizVideo adds. “So you’re the perfect person to create and produce your websites.  There’s no code to write.  Just drag and drop text, videos, photos, art, and much more wherever you’d like on the workspace.”

The company was founded in 2006 in Minneapolis, Minn.

More information is here.


Raystream streams live HD Video

Raystream announced a new live streaming solution enabling real-time compression of HD videos for streaming distribution of live broadcast over the Internet.

The first-of-a-kind software compresses HD video as it is generated, the company says. “The new live streaming solution is applicable to any event, such as live webinars, web-based shareholder meetings, concerts, and satellite broadcast sports and news.” Bandwidth requirements and costs are drastically reduced, with no decrease in the quality or clarity of the video.

Raystream says its video compression technology decreases bandwidth costs by reducing the file size of HD videos up to 90 percent, with an average of approximately 70 percent.







Raystream ends video buffering

Video technology developer Raystream claims it can make online HD videos load instantly and play smoothly, so viewers “get a crystal-clear, sharp video that begins instantly and streams smoothly, without stopping, buffering, or reloading.”

Raystream provides better video, faster.

The Dallas, Texas company says its new compression technology “drastically reduces HD video file sizes for instant streaming, with no loss in clarity.”

Today buffering is “the most frustrating problem in online video streaming, Raystream says, and can cause video to stop playing. Buffering is the result of limited bandwidth, meaning the video file is too big to travel smoothly over the Internet.

Raystream says its compression technology “works behind-the-scenes to drastically reduce the size of HD video files, decreasing bandwidth costs and ending bandwidth limitation issues — with no loss in quality or clarity of the video.” It shrinks the bandwidth requirement to stream HD video up to 90 percent, with an average compression of 70 percent, while maintaining the full quality and sharpness of the video.

“For content providers, this means a very significant decrease in bandwidth cost,” the company says. “For viewers, it creates a great video-watching experience, with no buffering, no annoying stops, and no long wait for a video to load.”

More information is here.