Pixels – those little dots that make up all our video images – are hard to encode and push down pipelines, even with ever-increasing encoding efficiency. On the other hand, vectors are small and very efficient, but so far have proved difficult to apply to video content.
The team behind a new project – University of Bath, Root6 Technology, Smoke & Mirrors and Ovation Data Services – have launched a new vector-based video codec and are claiming that the pixel will be dead within five years. That’s a very bold claim.
The difficulty is defining vectors to represent the intricacies of the image. Imaging trying to create a photo-real image in Illustrator, versus in Photoshop? That’s the challenge. But the pay-off is huge:
The researchers at Bath have developed a new, highly sophisticated codec which is able to create and fill between contours, overcoming the problems preventing their widespread use. The result is a resolution-independent form of movie or image, capable of the highest visual quality but without a pixel in sight.
One encode, a small file size, and plays back sharp at all sizes from very tiny to huge. I can’t wait to see if this plays out. If it does it will solve those distribution problems that Dan Rayburn was talking about the other day – the Internet has plenty of bandwidth for vectors!