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Infobank

EOS Movie: Compression

When recording HD Movies, the format in which the file is saved can have an effect on how easy it is to playback or edit. All of the EOS DSLR cameras capable of shooting HD Movies (before the launch of the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs), use a compressed stream of data where there is a key frame and subsequent frames are compressed relative to that. It is technically known as IPP compression.

The EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III cameras still record in the H.264 .MOV codec but improve on the compression options by offering two compression choices: IPB or ALL-I. When shooting movies, the frames that are captured are usually split into key frames or Intra-Frames and predicted frames. These Intra-frames are used as reference frames to help with compression.

The first type of compression available is IPB. The B in IPB stands for Bi-directional compression. With IPB differential compression is carried out by predicting the content of future frames, with reference to both previously captured frames and subsequent frames. Like the IPP compression method used in previous EOS DSLRs, some data is stored in a Group Of Pictures (GOP), meaning that frame-by-frame editing will result in lower image quality. When using IPB editing video in-camera to trim clips can only be done in one-second increments.

The second method of compression is designed for users working in high-end editing systems or those looking for the very highest quality. This compression is called ALL-I. ALL-I stands for ‘Intra-coded Frame' and it differs from IPB and IPP because all frames captured are treated as Intra-frames or key frames. Although each frame is still compressed, there is no further compression as each frame is seen as an individual image.

When filming with ALL-I, file sizes will be around three times larger than with IPB, and it is easier to edit to an individual frame without degrading the image quality. Despite the extra file size, ALL-I compressed footage actually requires less computer processing power than IPB or IPP and consequently will playback more smoothly on lower specification computers because there is no need to uncompress the stream first.

 

EOS 5D Mark III menu screen showing the movie recording frame rate options and the ALL-I compression option.