MPEG-4 rate control for multiple video objects

Anthony Vetro, Huifang Sun, Yao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes an algorithm which can achieve a constant bit rate when coding multiple video objects. The implementation is a nontrivial extension of the MPEG-4 rate control algorithm for single video objects which employs a quadratic rate-quantizer model. The algorithm is organized into two stages: a pre- and a postencoding stage. In the preencoding stage, an initial target estimate is made for each object. Based on the buffer fullness, the total target is adjusted and then distributed proportional to the relative size, motion, and variance of each object. Based on the new individual targets and rate-quantizer relation for texture, appropriate quantization parameters are calculated. After each object is encoded, the model parameters for each object are updated, and if necessary, frames are skipped to ensure that the buffer does not overflow. A preframeskip control is exercised to avoid buffer overflow when the motion and shape information occupies a significant portion of the bit budget. The rate control algorithm switches between two operation modes so that the coder can reduce the spatial coding accuracy for an improved temporal resolution. A shape-coding control mechanism is also proposed, which provides a tradeoff between texture and shape coding accuracy. Overall, the algorithm is able to successfully achieve the target bit rate, effectively code arbitrarily shaped objects, and maintain a stable buffer level. These techniques have been adopted by the MPEG committee in July 1997 as part of the video Verification Model (VM8).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bit allocation
  • Buffering policy
  • Multiple video objects
  • Rate control
  • Shape coding control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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