Compression Methods for HD Webcams
As if having super high definition video wasn't enough for us to consider for our home entertainment needs, now we can take advantage of the same amazing picture quality through our Internet connection, too. There are countless benefits of 1080p HD webcams, and we will explore a few below. If you have looked at any websites, you know that many feature video streams that seem as if they came from the movie theater right down the street. These video streams capture the exact scene as if you were in the exact location of the camera. There is no distortion, no video lag, and you can clearly see the action just as if you were watching it in person.
One of the top benefits of using webcams, (and camcorders in general) comes from their compression capabilities. Most camcorders come with on-board compression techniques. These compression techniques ensure your video is as clear as it can be, and the quality is typically good for a wide range of viewing. With today's computer technology though, computer processors are not able to compress video signals into mere packets of data that can fit onto a tiny bit of the disc. This means that the video streams produced by camcorders must go through a more complicated compression process.
Compression techniques must work within the limitations of the camcorder's chip and memory. Generally, the best way to compress video streams is to do so using the smallest amount of bandwidth possible. Modern computer processors have plenty of resources available to them to do just that, though. The smaller the file the smaller the compression size. You can tell a lot just from the word "compression" itself that there are multiple ways to compress a given file, and this leads to the many compression techniques commonly used.
Some of the more common compression techniques include the use of zipping, which is when data from one stream is divided into pieces and put together into a larger file. Peeling is when only part of the data stream is decompressed and this is the method that most of us are familiar with - we use this when we download things online. Lossless compression, also known as progressive compression, is essentially a tradeoff between compression methods. For example, while progressive compression reduces the file size, it will also reduce the number of compression cycles needed to create the final product. Since fewer compression cycles are used, the final video will be a little bit larger, but since all images are in the same file, the file size will be smaller overall.
There is another option available to you though - progressive streaming. In this type of compression method, compression occurs on both sides of the compression. Although there is a slight difference in the final image, this is usually not noticed. The downside to using this method is that some webcams may not support this kind of compression method due to the size of the compression blocks - if this is the case with your camera, you may have to downgrade the quality of the video before it can be played on your site.
Another compression method that is used often on HD webcams is the alpha-numeric code transfer method. This technique involves dividing the video stream into seven small blocks and then compressing each block into its own independent binary code. After each compression phase, the resulting image will be compressed into the range suitable for beaming onto other HD televisions. It is important to note that this method produces much lower quality files than the other techniques, but it is generally easy to compress the required range with a series of smaller compression stages.
The last compression method we will discuss is known as the combined transfer method, which combines the best parts of the previous two. In this process, data is first split into chunks of four. The chunks are then transferred individually over a connection. Because of the small size of the transfers, this method is very cheap - even cheaper than the alpha-numeric code method.
When you are deciding on which compression method to use on your site, think about not just the quality of the video, but also the ease of implementation. Choose a method that allows you to rapidly apply the changes on the fly, rather than having to wait to implement the change on an ongoing basis. You will also want to choose a method that can handle the large file sizes associated with many HD clips.