TM1 encoder: probably done

After some trial I decided to release what I’ve done and probably not return to it ever again.

Currently my encoder can encode 15-bit TrueMotion 1 format with different block sizes. It’s probably not very adjustable but there’s not that much to adjust really. I’ll talk why I gave up on 24-bit mode (again!) below, for the other options here’s a condensed version: it does not matter. I’ve tried encoding files with an alternative delta set and it resulted in significantly worse picture quality (but at least encoded frames were usually larger as well); as I mentioned in the previous post, only the first codebook makes sense for 15-bit data (as other two codebooks waste space on coding delta value 7 which is not used in 15-bit mode). Inter mode uses simple skip block as I didn’t bother to think about the possible threshold but it works good enough anyway. In theory I could calculate gradients to determine what sub-block sizes to use for each frame (as I did in Indeo 3 encoder) but again, I decided not to bother.

Now, here are the reasons why 24-bit mode is much harder. For 15-bit mode you can easily calculate deltas for each (decorrelated) component independently rather easily—and the coding method allows selecting deltas in fine-grained way too. In 24-bit mode you have chroma delta pair that updates red and blue components and luma delta pair that updates red component with one value and green and blue components together with another value. In theory decorrelating just green and blue components should help but there we hit another issue: the amount of possible deltas is good enough to represent different delta values occurring during the prediction stage. Essentially you can’t process each component independently and should rather apply deltas as 32-bit values to the 32-bit pixel value, then unpack it and see that the individual components aren’t far enough from the desired ones. It is not that hard to implement but it essentially means writing a second TrueMotion 1 encoder that processes 24-bit data in an entirely different way. Considering its limited use and the fact that it shrinks down horizontal resolution in two times—the coduck (that’s their very original name for it) always processes blocks of two 32-bit words but now those are two 24-bit pixels instead of four 15-bit ones. In either case, even if I see how it should be solved I’m not going to actually do it.

I need to find myself a better task to undertake.

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