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.