Fall Tech

SMPTE Publishes New VC-6 Video Production Codec Standard

After a comprehensive peer review process, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has fully ratified and published the VC-6 video codec.

Published as SMPTE ST-2117, VC-6 is the first video codec to leverage AI as part of its innovative approach to compression, which is not based on transforms such as DCT or wavelet. VC-6 employs a hierarchical series of S-Trees and achieves its compression by reusing the same structures at different resolutions – a capability that makes the codec extremely fast when implemented in software.

The novel AI-powered hierarchical approach means that full-resolution full-quality proxies are intrinsically available as part of the format as is region of interest decoding. This reduces the demands placed upon data transfer and decode processing, while VC-6’s compatibility with all major industry container formats like MXF and QuickTime means it can be seamlessly incorporated into any workflow.

The codec’s efficiency means that it is ideally suited to 4K and 8K production. In particular, the emerging 8K format brings with it significant production challenges, which can be overcome with the new codec. VC-6 allows the user to capture in 8K from RAW and never have to cross-convert to other resolutions. Instead, VC-6 can provide proxies automatically and enable editing at multiple resolutions all from a single file.

Initial use cases for the technology show dramatic reductions in 8K processing by requiring a mere 12.5% of the full resolution to be demosaiced, up to 60% reduction of disc access for 4K files, and 2-4x faster decoding than existing ProRes-based solutions.

“With 4K and 8K production becoming the norm, the demand for intelligent and scalable video compression technology has never been more acute,” says Guido Meardi, CEO and co-founder of V-Nova. “Standardization by SMPTE confirms that VC-6 is the most innovative solution to these new production challenges. We look forward to introducing the capabilities of VC-6 to this important market.”

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