Archive for January, 2014

A Glance at Mobiclip HD

Monday, January 27th, 2014

For no particular reason I’ve decided to look at it and the codec is quite interesting despite being of somewhat WTFy design.

First, it uses 6 buffers so motion compensation can reference any of them while decoding (except that buffer 0 is the current frame and it’s a skip block).

Second, it seems to operate on 16×16 macroblocks that can be split further into smaller subblocks or encoded as the whole. Yes, it’s essentially a quadtree. And motion coefficients seem to be read in the beginning for all macroblocks and then deltas from overall macroblock value are coded for all subblocks when they occur.

Third, it seems to have halfpel motion compensation and some very simple transform that depends on block size and number of coefficients coded. While it’s no DCT I’ve seen that it decodes (last, skip, level) triplets, unquantises them and calls transform function depending on the transform size and position of last nonzero coefficient. And I’m not completely sure but looks like some kind of spatial prediction like H.264 is invoked too.

Truly there are interesting codecs no-one cares about (including me).

Some Notes on Some Intermediate Codec Family

Monday, January 27th, 2014

A friend of mine Mario asked me to look at DNxHD 444. It turned out to be quite easy to support in libavcodec decoder (at least for CID 1256 for which I has sample) after I looked at the binary decoder. And I was curious what formats were there.

Here is the list of internal IDs supported by Avid decoder with a family they belong to, image parameters (width x height @ bitdepth) and other properties.

  • 1233: Avid_HD (1920×1080@10) interlaced (marked as debug format)
  • 1234: Avid_HD (1920×1080@10) interlaced (marked as debug format)
  • 1235: Avid_HD (1920×1080@10) progressive
  • 1236: Avid_HD (1920×1080@10) progressive (marked as debug format)
  • 1237: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) progressive
  • 1238: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) progressive
  • 1239: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) interlaced (marked as debug format)
  • 1240: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) interlaced (marked as debug format)
  • 1241: Avid_HD (1920×1080@10) interlaced
  • 1242: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) interlaced
  • 1243: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) interlaced
  • 1244: Avid_HD (1440×1080@8) interlaced
  • 1250: Avid_HD (1280×720@10) progressive
  • 1251: Avid_HD (1280×720@8) progressive
  • 1252: Avid_HD (1280×720@8) progressive
  • 1253: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) progressive
  • 1254: Avid_HD (1920×1080@8) interlaced
  • 1256: DNx444 (1920×1080@10) progressive
  • 1257: DNx444 (1920×1080@10) interlaced
  • 1258: DNx100 (960×720@8) progressive
  • 1259: DNx100 (1440×1080@8) progressive
  • 1260: DNx100 (1440×1080@8) interlaced
  • 32768: AHD-DBG-1 Avid_HD (64×32@8) interlaced
  • 32769: AHD-DBG-2 Avid_HD (128×128@8) interlaced
  • 32770: AHD-DBG-3 Avid_HD (480×320@8) interlaced
  • 32771: AHD-DBG-4 Avid_HD (64×32@10) interlaced
  • 32772: AHD-DBG-5 Avid_HD (128×128@10) interlaced
  • 32773: AHD-DBG-6 Avid_HD (480×320@10) interlaced
  • 36864: AHD-DBG-3 Avid_HD (720×512@8) interlaced

If you look at this table you can see more formats than supported by libavcodec currently. Unsupported formats being debug ones, interlaced ones and not belonging to Avid_HD family.

While I fully approve not having interlaced formats support, the rest can be supported (especially if samples are provided).

Sigh, too much intermediate codecs I had looked at.

Bink2: Inter Block Residue

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Inter block residue decoding is not different from intra block decoding except that DCs are expected to be in -1023…1023 range instead of 0…2047 and quantisation matrix for luma is different.

Posts about reconstruction process might follow.

Bink2: Intra Block — Chroma

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Chroma block coding is similar to luma but with some changes since there are only 4 blocks coded here.

Thus, CBP is coded as two nibbles (real CBP and VLC switch) and it does not try to reuse nibbles from last CBP in code.

There are only 4 DCs here but they are decoded the same way.

AC block decoding is completely the same.

Bink2: Intra Block — Luma

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Intra luma block in Bink2 contains the following elements: CBP, quantiser, DCs and ACs.

CBP is coded as 32-bit bitmask depending on the previous CBP value. Internally top half is coded depending on bottom one and the whole bitmask is coded in nibbles starting from LSB.
Lower half decoding depends on the control bits:

  • 11 — simply return last CBP
  • 10 — use low 16 bit from last CBP
  • 0 — decode 4 low nibbles of CBP. Initial nibble value is set to (last_cbp >> 4) & 0xF, if the next bit is 1 then don’t change it, otherwise read new value from the bitstream (4 bits of course).

Now we can use these low 16 bits of CBP to restore high 16 bits. This is also done by nibbles and decoding depends on them (why nibbles? Because blocks are coded in groups of four).

pat4 = (last_cbp >> 20) & 0xF;
ref = cbp;
for (i = 0; i < 4; i++) {   if (!ones_count[ref & 0xF]) {    pat4 = 0;   } else if (ones_count[ref & 0xF] || getbit()) {    pat4 = 0;    for (bit = 1; bit < 0x10; bit <<= 1)     if ((ref & bit) && getbit())      pat4 |= bit;   } else {    pat4 &= ref & 0xF;   }   cbp |= pat4 << 16 + i * 4;   ref >>= 4

Essentially it decides what set bits to copy from the first part. And top 16 bits are not really a coded block pattern, it just tells decoder to use an alternative set of VLC codes in AC decoding.

Quantiser is coded with static VLC (plus sign bit for nonzero value) as a difference to the previous quantiser.

Quantisation table for DC: 4 4 4 4 4 6 7 8 10 12 16 24 32 48 64 128

16 DCs (coded with the same scheme as motion vector described in the previous post)

16 blocks of AC coefficients coded in groups of four. Each AC block is coded as (value, skip) pair where value is coded with static VLC that gives small levels (0-3) or number of bits for raw value to read. Skips have one peculiarity too: value coded with static VLC defines either skip (for values 0-10), escape value (when you got you need to read 6 bits with real skip value), end of block value and that the following 8 AC coefficients won’t have skip values coded after them.

Scan order is strange, here are first 8 indices from it: 0, 2, 1, 8, 9, 17, 10, 16, 24, 3, 18, 25, 32, 11, 33

Bink2: Frame structure

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Frames consist of ordinary macroblocks in 420 format with optional alpha. Bitstream is packed into 32-bit little-endian words.

Every macroblock is prefixed by 2-bit code determining its type.

Type 0 (intra block). Decode intra block.

Type 1 (skip block). Simply skip block.

Type 2 (motion block). Decode motion vectors and copy block with ½-pel precision for luma and alpha and ¼-pel precision for chroma. There is no residue coding.

Type 3 (inter block). Decode motion vectors and copy block with ½-pel precision for luma and alpha and ¼-pel precision for chroma. Now decode and add residue.

Motion vector differences are coded this way: motion vector element size in bits (3 bits, if read value is 7 then read additional 2 bits, so total is up to 7+3=10 bits per MV element); four motion vector elements; sign bits for non-zero motion vector elements.

Side note: looks like this codec employs this scheme (bit size in 3+2 scheme, fixed-size values, signs for nonzero values) for other elements too, e.g. DCs.

Luma hpel filter looks something like (A - 4*B + 19*C - 4*D + E + 1) >> 5
Chroma qpel: ¼ — (6*A + 2*B + 1) >> 3, ½ — (A + B + 1) >> 1

Next: intra macroblock decoding — luma.

Bink2: RE Notes

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Since I obviously have nothing better to do with my time I looked at Bink2 again. In the (hopefully) following blog posts I’ll try to document bitstream format; general codec design was presented much earlier.

At least container format remains the same (except that it uses e.g. KB2f or KB2g instead of BIKi).

My Stomach’s Guide to Sweden

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Sweden is awesome country and its food is plain but decent and heart-warming. And everything gets even better in late December.

There’s no Christmas in Sweden, they have Jul — it’s less Christian in nature but significantly better. As an Ukrainian I totally approve Swedish version because the national Ukrainian animal and products from it are well celebrated.

IMG_3397Yes, that one

Sweden has really good dairy products (I’d especially recommend cheeses and filmjölk), surprisingly good selection of meat (including horse, deer, reindeer and elk), outstanding herring (really, nothing beats fried fresh strömming) and other fish products. And oh so many variations of candies everywhere. And drinks.


In jul it all gets even better since special food appears — traditional julskinka, sylta (and especially julpressylta), marzipan pigs, special versions of prästost and other cheese… And of course julmust.

One can try traditional game of mine — try different variations of everything. For example, drinks (Trocadero, julmust/påskmust or filmjölk), cheese or even köttbullar (I’ve finally found köttbullar made from deer meat for example). Or at least look at designs of marzipan pigs, every konditori makes their own.

Fun fact — in Gävle they like unofficial symbol of the city so much that they have marzipan goats along with pigs.

And another fun fact — there is a drink from Norrland called Portello and it has unlicensed clones. The real Portello is produced by The Norrland Brewery (aka Vasa Bryggeri) but some other breweries have drinks with similar taste but different name. Guttsta Källa produces Ortello and Mora Bryggeri produces Candelo, though it’s a trollish brewery that makes Rio Cola with familiar Cuba Cola design, too lazy to produce Julmust and Påskmust (see picture) and less popular drinks like Guldus or Haiwa are all renamed too.

IMG_3414Mora Bryggeri — no julmust or påskmust

IMG_4016The Reference Drinks

I’ll continue exploring the wonderful world of Swedish food at every possible occasion.

And some fun things to try:

  • julmust with semlor (they are always available in Norrland, it seems);
  • fried gravad lax;
  • filmjölk with berries (I mix lingon, blueberries and raspberries — they are available frozen all year round);
  • julskinka and Wastgöta Kloster cheese on tunnbröd;
  • Swedish apples;
  • chewing candies;
  • and of course Trocadero from any brewery in Norrland!