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Old 9th June 2003, 19:23   #1  |  Link
karl_lillevold's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,584

[Edit Feb 2004: This post is a little dated by now, but I have not had time to update lately. Please see the thread on "The Real 10 Platform"] and RealVideo 10 'Elysian'.

The Helix Producer 9.2 June 4th build was the first Producer to include a RV9-EHQ. You can download the latest Milestone build from the Helix Community file sharing section.
Remember that after signing up, you have to agree to the RPSL (or RCSL) license and also the Binary EULA before you can download it. Note that most RV9 encoding tools [see below] already include a version of Producer with EHQ, and then you do not have to download a separate Producer from above.

In many cases a quality improvement corresponding to a 30% bitrate reduction can be seen compared with standard RV9, and this is with a fully backwards compatible bitstream.

As you may know, PSNR measurements are the most commonly used indication of compression efficiency for video codecs. Compared with for instance VSS H.264 codec in its best quality mode, RV9-EHQ has better compression efficiency, and still encodes 25X faster.

It would not help if I were to say it is the best available codec today, so you should try it out to see for yourself. It is really easy to get started, using one of the tools mentioned below.

Also, unless you have read it already, please see the first post in the sticky RealVideo 9 Information thread.


Very good so far. Some examples (hope you don't mind - can also be read further down in this thread)

Sagittaire's PSNR and visual comparison: "PSNR: RV9 EHQ is the most powerful codec in this test and by far. It's also the codec which most beautiful is visually compared with the others codecs."

iwod: "EHQ has proven to be extremely sucessful. Quality has been improve 10-30% across the board. And EHQ only sacrifices the encoding time without the need for more resources on decoder!"

Sirber: "Oh yeah! The image is sharper with complexity at 80, at the same bitrate. I think waiting 4 hours worth it "

zedude: "good news . i did some tests and got beautiful results . "my tests showed me i could now encode with a lower bits/(pix*frame) value (about 0.03 less [20%]) without losing any quality and at the same time i get a better quality in high action scenes."

31 Flavas: "450kbps (386kpbs video @634x344:24fps, 64 kpbs audio) was previously just outside of what I consider 10 out of 10 video (on Japanese cartoons). But it is now firmly inside. The "stuff going on" that is in the pre-EHQ encode is not in the EHQ (complexity = 80) encode."

DaWolf: "Now, with encoder complexity at 80, the results are really impressive: a clear, tight picture with hardly any "stuff going on". Karl really must be too much with his nose in it for him to say "I am really glad you notice a difference!" as only extremely visually impaired persons would not notice an difference :-) It's just like that: it's not a matter of bending over closely to your screen to try to figure out what, if anything, has changed - it is self evident. Well worth the extra encoding time."

wing1: "EHQ for RV9 is awesome for quality at low bitrate [...] I got sharp detail video (656x464 NTSC) for 1/2 the filesize (1min=4Mb) that I would have gotten if encoded normally (8.2Mb)"

How to enable RV9-EHQ

EDIT: 07/24: Producer Milestone 5 includes a change that accidentally removed the previous method to enable EHQ. Please see this thread for the new method to enable EHQ, and a corrected encoder DLL, that will work with the previous method and all existing tools, or preferably, use Milestone 6 instead.

Most RV9 encoding tools include support for EHQ, but it is rarely the default setting, so remember to change the setting to Extra High, or '80'. Three examples:

AutoRV9 1.3b4: Pull-down menu in codec tab "Select EHQ Mode : Very High". With 1.3b4 the corrected encoder DLL is not needed, since it uses the new method to enable EHQ.

rmfactory: Pull-down menu in final tab: "EHQ Level : higher (3X)".

Helix Producer GUI: check Enable EHQ in Audience Generator, select '80'

You can use registry over-rides for tools that do not yet support EHQ (see below) as well as for the GUI Helix Producer after having replaced the RV9 encoder DLL (instructions in next post)

or Edit Audience/Job file manually:

Include the following in the <videoStream> section of the audience:
<codecProperties type="bag">
	<encoderComplexity type="uint">80</encoderComplexity>
	<customPacketSize type="uint">16000</customPacketSize>
encoderComplexity sets the EHQ level:
65 = Default : improved efficiency for high action
75 = High : same as 65 + better mode decisions, better representation of high motion
85 = Extra High: same as 75 + best possible mode decisions, very high accuracy motion representation
50 = Fast : not recommended, use only for Live capture encoding

as you can see, there is some improvement even for the default mode.
The customPacketSize parameter increases compression efficiency for high action. Note that streams compressed with the customPacketSize parameter set to 16000 are not recommended for Internet streaming via Helix server. This parameter will be default for VBR over a certain bitrate, but is needed for now.

Encoding times:
65: same encoding time as before
75: will take about 2X - 2.5X encoding time compared to default
85: about 3X - 4X default

Can it be made any faster? Every CPU cycle is spent trying to find more optimal compression parameters, and every CPU intensive function is fully MMX/SSE/SSE2 optimized. I am looking into speeding up the 1st pass in a 2-pass encoding, but no results on this yet.

Is the improvement worth the slower encoding speed? Well, certainly for me it is, and based on the feedback, I think those who have tried it agree.

Registry over-rides


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



[copy and paste this to a new file, save as rv9-ehq.reg, double-click to enter in registry. Please remember that you have these these keys, otherwise the audience file settings will have no effect. These keys may change in the future]

These settings can be used after replacing the encoder DLL in the GUI Helix Producer, and any other tool which does not have the EHQ setting. Note that the encoder DLL needs to be replaced in all cases...

IMPORTANT: These values are in HEX so 0x50 = 80 decimal, and 0x3e80 = 16000 decimal. Remember to click the Decimal checkbox when entering new values in the registry editor.
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

Last edited by karl_lillevold; 12th March 2004 at 17:54.
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