An Industry Leader in Video Compression Products and Solutions

Exponential increase of commercial and personal video continues with over 75% penetration of smart phones and tablets.  The PixelTools team predicts that 82% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021.  Digital Storage is being consumed by video at an exponential rate. Clients of YouTube alone are uploading 500 hours of new video every second. Live video is expected to grow 15-fold, from 3% of internet video traffic to 13% by 2021. Higher resolution video of 8K and 16K resolutions will be sent over high speed and 5G networks for large screen and dome projections.

The entire industry needs to solve the problem of network congestion by compressing video files.

PixelTools has been developing compression systems and tools in support of broadcast and file based digital video since the conception of MPEG in the 1990s. The PixelTools process, our magic, our secret sauce, is that we have developed a quality measure that is able to, on a frame-by-frame basis, drive the encoder to the lowest bitrate possible before it introduces artifacts.

Video compression is basically the act of taking a video file and making it smaller. Imagine all of the elements in a video file as layers. The audio, the colors, the resolution, the frame rate and all of these elements make that stack of layers taller. And when each element is of a higher quality — when the sound is crisper, when the number of colors reach into the millions, when the video’s resolution is HD or higher — that makes each layer that much taller.

Industry specific support

PixelTools continues to support the latest video compression standards utilizing its analysis tools to provide the highest quality encoding.  PixelTools encoders employ the full suite of encoding enhancements defined in each of the specifications.

For production companies, this could happen simply at the point of video capture. The company’s videographer could shoot footage on site somewhere and need to compress that video down for easy local storage on an SD card.

For creative agencies, it might be necessary to compress video so the file can be ingested into cloud storage and sent over as a proof for client review.

For major broadcasters who have to handle thousands of hours of video every day from a variety of sources, video compression makes it possible to broadcast video on its own network and also deliver it to syndication partners. Currently we are working on a project in which we are capturing 8K LIVE and streaming inside a dome for 4096x4096 projections. We also need a solution for LIVE streaming the full 8K uncropped via encoders.

Compression video formats

To add an additional layer of complexity, a wide variety of formats exist for compressed video. Here are a few common examples:
RAW – Historically due to large file sizes, transmission of RAW files was limited to physical devices being shared via couriers or mail. Production professionals requested these files to guarantee that the full spectrum of colors and available capture meta data was present in the files. Cinema RAW output is a key feature that distinguishes prosumer equipment from professional options.

MPEG-1 — The first significant international digital video compression specification that is targeted at 352x240 pixel sized frames (VHS resolutions) but can be used for super high resolutions including 8K x 8K

MPEG-2 — A slight enhancement to MPEG-1 that is targeted for 720x480 standard broadcast resolution.  MPEG-2 is currently the most popular broadcast format and has been incorporated into terrestrial broadcast, terrestrial cable, satellite repeaters as well as consumer receivers. The format is used for DVDs, HD DVD and Blu-ray discs and can be used as an acquisition format, and/or a storage and delivery format.

DV — An adaptation/subset of MPEG-2 that defines very specific compression parameters that enhances device playability and compatibly and supports video editing.

MPEG-4 — Chapter 2 of the MPEG-4 specification defines a slight update to MPEG-2 video compression that was adapted by Apple Corporation into their QuickTime format suite and is frequently used by professionals in acquisition and delivery. The 25% reduction in bandwidth compared with MPEG-4 video compression was not enough to drive broadcasters to update their deployed MPEG-2 equipment.

H.264 (Advanced Video Coding-AVC)  – A large improvement to MPEG-2 that provides a 50% to 75% reduction in bandwidth and is rapidly overtaking MPEG-2 as the predominant broadcast video compression standard.  AVC is targeted at 1920x1080 HD video.   H.264 has been adopted by MPEG-4 as chapter 10 video compression.  AVC commonly used on Blu-ray discs as well as on streaming video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo.

H.265 (High Efficiency Video Codec)  –  – An improvement to H.265 that provides an additional 25% reduction in bandwidth.  AVC is targeted at UHD video for 4K monitors.   

Our first video encoders

In the early days of MPEG-1 compression, typical multi-computer compression systems would take five days to compress a feature length feature of 352 x 240 sized frames, if the processors did not crash.  And once the compression was “finished” the process of getting the video to properly play on the user’s decoder was often another large task; sometimes involving re-compressing the entire video all over again.

PixelTools’ first software encoders were optimized for speed and quality and reliably produced high quality MPEG streams. Our objectives have always been to provide tools that help our users to optimize their encoding quality and verify their content.  We introduced our MPEGReparHD encoder that would (and still does) enable users to re-encode and repair problematic sections of their video and re-insert the video into their stream… without re-compressing their entire video.

Pushing boundaries

We are still pushing boundaries in providing tools that provide solutions needed by video professionals. 
We have helped out thousands of wonderful customers who have had fun pushing compression to its boundaries, integrating our code into their beta video processing systems, and adapting our code to very unusual special applications..

Some of the projects that we can publicly talk about include:

  • 3 D encoding systems
  • Closed Captioning Insertion, Extraction, and Correction
  • Encoding support for 8K dome projection systems
  • TIVO meta data verification
  • Geospatial monitoring and analysis
  • Implementation of compression spread over a 1024 CPU system
  • Fast forward and fast rewind trick mode pre-processing
  • High quality ultra-low still image menu encoding
  • Video compression and transmission from UAVs
  • Special processing tools for Netflix content preparation
  • Integration with Nielsen Commercial Watermarking

Where we are headed? 

As technology continues its progress in increasing processing power and bandwidth, PixelTools continues to exploit these capabilities to enhance the user’s video experience.

  • 8 K Encoding
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) encoding
  • Wide Color Gamut (WCG) encoding
  • IP processing modules and workflows
  • Closed captioning translations and format support

Contact us if you would like to chat about a new idea or requirements you have.  We are happy to solve your video compression issues.

Let us know if we can help or request a free demo of our products. View our products features at a glance.
Visit our products page and check out at our PixelTools Store to purchase any of our products

Thank you for your interest in PixelTools


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