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Error Concealment for Video Communication Presentation: Guo Li 04/11/2002 Introduction Various channel/network errors can result in damage to or loss of compressed video information during transmission or storage.

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error concealment for video communication

Error Concealment for Video Communication

Presentation: Guo Li


  • Various channel/network errors can result in damage to or loss of compressed video information during transmission or storage.
  • The distortion can range from momentary degradation to a completely unusable image or video signal. Hence it is necessary for the decoder to perform error concealment to minimize the observed distortion.
  • Owing to various constraints such as coding delay, implementation complexity, and need for availability of a good source model,a compressed video bitstream still possesses a certain degree of statistical redundancy. In addition, the human perception system can tolerate a limited degree of signal distortion. These factors can be exploited for error concealment at the decoder.
  • It is both necessary and possible to perform error concealment at the decoder when transmission error occurs.
Spatial domain:
  • A lost packet may damage only part of a macroblock or several adjacent macroblocks, a damaged block is typically surrounded by multiple undamaged blocks in the same frame, rely on the undamaged neighbors for concealing the damaged block.
  • Temporal domain:
  • The loss of a packet may damage a big portion or even the entire picture, the previous video frame can be used for concealment of the damaged image part.
  • In practice, error is typically implemented as a combination of techniques of these 2 kinds.
coding modes
Video frame is divided into macroblocks which consists of several blocks.

Intra frame coding : each block is transformed by using block DCT .

Inter frame coding: a motion vector is found, which specifies its corresponding prediction macroblock in its previous frame.

Coding Modes:
Error Detection in Video Decoder
  • At the VLC decoding level, the VLC being used is not a complete code, once the decoder finds a codeword not in its decoding table, a transmission error is declared.
  • In pixel domain, after decoding, the difference between adjacent blocks can be computed. When a difference exceeds a certain threshold, a transmission error has been detected. [Mitchell & Tabatabai]
  • Synchronization codewords are inserted at certain predefined spatial locations within a picture. In H.261 and H.263, they are located at the beginning of groups of blocks(GOBs)
Error Detection at Transport level
  • Packet-based network:add a header to each transport packet with a sequence number field.
  • Circuit switched: using forward error control(FEC)
  • FEC frame structure
Significant spatial redundancy in nature image and video signals
  • Interpixel difference is defined as the average of the absolute difference between a pixel and its four neighboring pixels.
  • Figure 6.3—histogram of pixel difference for a natural science image.
spatial domain interpolation
Spatial domain interpolation
  • Interpolate pixel values within a damaged macroblock from its four 1-pixel-wide boundaries [Aign & Fazel]
  • First variation:

Each pixel within a block is interpolated from 2 pixels in its two nearest boundaries outside the damaged macroblock.

  • Second variation:

whole macroblock is treated as 1 entity, a pixel is interpolated from the 4 macroblock boundaries.

maximally smooth recovery
Maximally Smooth Recovery
  • Open question: how to reconstruct a DCT coded image when some of the dct coefficients are lost?
  • An effective approach: hierarchical or layered transmission, segments the transform coefficients into a few bands and transmit them with different priorities. I.e., in a two layer system , one band consists of the DC and certain low frequency coefficients, with higher transmission priority. Another band encompasses the rest coefficients and can be discarded in the case of channel congestion.
  • Advantage: even if the fine details of an image may be lost, a coarse resolution rendition is always guaranteed.
  • Potentialproblem: very costly, error-free transport channel has to be allocated to the most important subsignal.
maximally smooth recovery15
Maximally Smooth Recovery
  • A transmission error loss in one band will only result in the loss of a partial set of coefficients in the damaged block.
  • Proposed method: minimizing the intersample differences wihin each damaged block and between adjacent blocks. The boundary information is propagated into the damaged blocks such that the transition along block boundaries are as smooth as possible.
maximally smooth reconstruction criterion
Maximally Smooth Reconstruction Criterion
  • Because of the luminance level in most images does not changely, we can require that samples in a recovered block be smoothlynconnected with each other and with the Smples in adjacent blocks. This idea has been successfully used for solving the surface reconstruction problem.
  • Using a similar approach, it is possible to recover a damaged block such that , among all the blocks with the same transform coefficients received, the reconstructed one is the most smooth one in terms of a chosen smoothness measure. A complete image is obtained by first reconstructing all undamaged blocks and then damaged block individually. The reconstruction of the undamaged blocks in advance provides the necessary boundary information for the recovery of the damaged one.
maximally smooth reconstruction criterion17
Maximally Smooth Reconstruction Criterion
  • Let B represent a block composed of N samples and f(m,n) the original value of sample (m,n) in B. m refers to the row index, n the column index.
  • An arbitrary unitary transform given:
  • (1),
  • (2)
maximally smooth reconstruction criterion18
Maximally Smooth Reconstruction Criterion

An appropriate smoothness measure:


The constants are called smoothing weights, either 9 or 1 depending on whether or not the variations at the point (m,n) in the corresponding directions should be suppressed.

smoothing constraints should be imposed between every 2 adjacent samples across the border of the block in order to propagate the boundary information into the block.

the measure function involves samples in the one-pixel wide boundary outside the block, referred to as external boundary samples.

f(m,n) = b(m,n) for (m,n) Not in B. (4)

The reconstruction is to find ak for all k such that when combined with (2), they minimize the error in (3) among all those solutions that satisfy the boundary condition defined by (4).


When the Dc coefficient alone is lost, the smoothing constraint need be enforced only between the boundary samples, as illustrated in (a); when additional coefficients are lost, necessary to suppress the variation at each point in the direction to towars its nearest boundary, as shown in (b).

Optimal Solution under the Smoothing Criterion

Let frepresent the vector composed of the original sample values f(m,n) in B, and a

The vector composed of the transform coefficients ak, k=0,1…..N-1. then the unitary transform defined in (1) becomes:

Here,T=[t0,t1,…tN-1],in which tk is the kth transform basis vector consisting of


Let ar represent the subvector containing the correctly received coefficients and al the subvector including the estimates of the lost coefficients. Let Tr and Tl be the submatrices composed of the column of T corresponding to the entries of ar and al respectively. Then:


The measure function can now be written as :


The matrices

depend on the weights for a smoothing constraints in 4 direction

(7) Is a quadratic function of al since f is linearly related to al according (6), minimal point aopt is obtained by:


choose the smoothing constraints properly, guarantee non-singular,



The proposed procedure is effective only for the lost DC and some low-frequency coefficients. Substituting aopt from (9) into (6), we obtain the maximally smooth solution of the damaged block: (10)

The matrices C and D can be considered as the interpolation filters for estimating f from the boundary values b and the received coefficients ar

concealment of damaged block transform coded images using projections onto convex sets
Concealment of damaged Block transform coded Images using projections onto Convex sets

Utilize spatially correlated information more thoroughly by performing interpolation based on a large local neighborhood of surrounding pels and to restore edges that are continuous with those present in the neighborhood. [Ramamurthi and Gersho have demonstrated that edges play an important role in the subjective quality of images]

proposed method
Proposed Method
  • Space variant restoration is a method of adaptively filtering a degraded image to suit the local image characteristics.
  • First to estimate: whether the missing block to be restored belongs to a monotone or edge area of the image.
  • For an edge portion of the image, orientation of the edge should be estimated, surrounding valid decoded blocks are used as an aid in determining edge angle.
block classifier and edge orientation detector
Block Classifier and edge Orientation Detector
  • Restore lost image blocks by extending edges present in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • If no edges are present in the surrounding neighborhood, the lost block is restored by a smoothing process.
  • Gradient measures in the spatial domain can be used for estimating edge orientation.

Sobel mask operators:

Sx=[-1 0 1; -2 0 2; -1 0 1], Sy=[1 2 1; 0 0 0; -1 –2 -1]

Magnitude and angular direction of the gradient at coordinate (i,j) are

G=Sqrt (gx^2+gy^2) e=inv(tan(gy/gx))

The gradient measure is computed for every (i,j) coordinate in the neighborhood surrounding the missing macroblock. Gradient angle value is rounded to the nearest 22.5. Corresponding to one of the 8 directional categories.


Each direction has a counter, a voting machine is used that involves incrementing the selected category counter by the magnitude of the gradient if a line is drawn through the pixel at (i,j) with orientation e passes through the missing block.

  • Do [over all (i,j) pixel coordinates in neighbourhood N]{
  • Compute G and from equation (7)
  • K=[round(/) +8] mod 8
  • If [line drawn through (i,j) with angle intersects M]{
  • Dk=Dk+G
  • }
  • } (8)
  • Kmax=argmax(Dk) (9)
  • if [Dkmax < T] {
  • M  monotone area
  • } else {
  • M  edge area with orientation given
  • by index kmax
  • }-----------------------(10)
projections onto convex sets
Projections onto convex sets
  • Pocs have been applied to various image restoration problems where a priori information can be used to constrain the size of the feasible solution set
  • Nice properties of typical video images:
    • Smoothness
    • Edge continuity
    • Consistency with known values
  • Formulate the properties as convex constraints.make use of the following constraints and projection operators:
the class of signals that takes on a prescribed set of known values
The class of signals that takes on a prescribed set of known values
  • Xi is the ith components of vector x and ki are known constants. Projection operator P1 onto convex set C1 is given by:
class of signals that takes on a prescribed set of transform coefficients
Class of signals that takes on a prescribed set of transform coefficients:
  • T is a linear transform operator, [Tx]I is the ith transform coefficient, Zi are known constants. Projection P2 onto convex set C2 is:
P2,smooth acts as a lowpass filter that sets high frequency coefficients located outside the bandwidth radius specifiled by Rth to zero and leaves low-frequency coefficients unchanged. Fig 5(a) illustrates the filter corresponding to this projection. The shaded regions denote the passband of the filter with unity gain and the unshaded regions denote the stopband of the filter with zero gain.
  • In edge area of the image,the spectrum has a bandpass characteristic in which energy is localized in transform coefficients that lie in a direction orthogonal to the edge; the other coefficients are very small. Projection P2 then becomes
  • 0, |m-n*tan(+)| > Bth
  • [TP2,edgex] m,n={
  • [Tx]m,n , otherwise. (19)
Transformed coefficients are filtered by the adaptive filter according to the type of the large block(monotone or edge area)
  • The filtered coefficients are used to reconstruct the image using inverse transform, the portion of the reconstructed image at the location of the damaged part is sent back to the input for next iteration.
  • The signal to be restored, f , can be found through:


temporal estimation of blocks with missing motion vectors
Temporal estimation of Blocks with Missing Motion vectors
  • Motion vectors are estimated over quite large macroblocks(16*16 for most video coding standards and algorithms ), MV of adjacent macroblocks may not produce a reliable estimate . Consider four 8*8 blocks u1,u2,l1,l2 in the macroblocks adjacent to the damaged macroblock,
First, for each of these blocks, a motion vector is estimated and its corresponding 8*8 block in the previous frame is determined. The motion vector is found by means of an exhaustive search in an area to the siz eof a macroblock around the center of its motion-compensated block in the previous frame.
  • For each corresponding block, a surrounding macroblock is determined, labeled U1,U2,L2,L2, the final estimated macroblock is a weighted average of these macroblocks:
  • P=wu1U1+ wu2U2 +wl1L1 +wl2L2
  • Where wu1 , wu2U2 , wl1L1 ,wl2L2 are chosen so that the sum of the squares of interpixel differences along the left and upper boundaries of the macroblock is minimized.
using motion field interpolation for error concealment
Using motion field interpolation for error concealment
  • Motion field interpolation(MFI) uses different motion vectors for each pixel to model nontranslational motion such as rotation and scaling. The MV for each pixel is interpolated from the Mv at several control points, the motion compensation is applied to each pixel separately.Mv from adjacent blocks are used in error concealment. A bilinear MFI is performed as:
Where VL, VR, and VB are the MVs of the blocks to the left, to the right, to the above, and below of the current block, xn and yn are defined as:
multiframe based error concealment
Multiframe-Based Error Concealment
  • the use of motion compensation causes error produced during concealment of a block to still propagate into the following frames.
  • Error concealment can be achieved by employing information from multiple frames.
  • An overlapping block transform can also be used, where 9*9 blocks are used for DCT with one pixel overlapping along the edges.
recovery of motion vectors and coding modes
Recovery of motion vectors and coding Modes
  • If the coding mode and MVs are damaged, they can be similarly interpolated from those in spatially and temporally adjacent blocks.
  • Code mode can take 3 different values:
    • Intra;
    • Skipped;
    • Nonzero Motion vector

Simplest way to estimate the coding mode:

Use intra mode and estimated DCT coefficients of the damaged block.

A better way: interpolate from adjacent blocks.

Estimating lost MVs:
    • Simply setting the MVs a s zero, well for video sequences with relatively small motion.
    • Using the Mvs of the corresponding blocks in the previous frame
    • Using the avg of th Mvs from spatially adjacent blocks
    • Using the avg of th Mvs from spatially adjacent blocks
    • Using the median of th Mvs from spatially adjacent blocks
error recovery with out of order decoding
Error recovery with out-of-order decoding
  • Decode video packets that arrive at the receiver out of the order, and merge the newly decoded info with previously decoded but corrupted video sequence, so that lossless recovery is achieved.
  • The idea is shown with a simply one-dim signal:
  • Figure 6.14
  • All error concealment techniques recover lost info by using priori knowledges about the image/Video signals, primarily tempotal and spatial smoothness property.
  • In the maximally smooth recovery, isotropic smoothness measure is used everywhere, this is not appropriate near image edges.
  • To over come this, POCS are introduced, which is more computationally intensive because of many iterations.
  • The interpolation method can be considered to be a special case ofthe optimization method iff boundary pixels in adjacent blocks are used, and if the interpolation coefficients are derived by maximizing thesmoothness measure.
  • Because of the heavy use of motion compensated prediction, coding mode and motion vectors also play a very important role.
  • Simple interpolation and out-of-order decoding are applied for the estimation of them.
  • The end

Thank s for your time!