Title of Invention

A MOVING PICTURE CODING METHOD, FOR CODING EACH OF PLURAL PICTURES CONSTITUTING A MOVING PICTURE

Abstract A moving picture coding apparatus (10) is adapted for performing inter- picture predictive coding on pictures constituting a moving picture is provided with a coding unit (103) for performing predictive error coding on image data; a decoding unit (105) for performing predictive error decoding on an output from the coding unit (103); a reference picture memory (117) for holding output data from the decoding unit (105); and a motion vector detection unit (108) for detecting forward and backward motion vectors on the basis of decoded image data stored in the memory (117) when coding a B picture, a picture that is timewise closest to the target picture is used as a candidate picture for forward reference, and an I or P picture that is timewise closest to the target picture is used as a candidate picture for backward reference. The moving picture coding apparatus (10) so constructed can improve coding efficiency of a B picture to be subjected to bi-directional predictive coding.
Full Text DESCRIPTION
TECHNICAL FIELD
The present invention relates to a moving picture coding
method and a moving picture decoding method and, more
particularly, to a method for coding or decoding pictures
constituting a moving picture with reference to other pictures of
the moving picture.
BACKGROUND ART
Generally, in coding of pictures constituting a moving
picture, each picture is divided into plural blocks, and
compressive coding (hereinafter, also referred to simply as
"coding") of image information possessed by each picture is
carried out for every block, utilizing redundancies in the space
direction and time direction of the moving picture. As a coding
process utilizing redundancy in the space direction, there is
intra-picture coding utilizing correlation of pixel values in a
picture. As a coding process utilizing redundancy in the time
direction, there is inter-picture predictive coding utilizing
correlation of pixel values between pictures. The inter-picture
predictive coding is a process of coding a target picture to be
coded, with reference to a picture that is positioned timewise
forward the target picture (forward picture), or a picture that
is petioned timewise backward the target picture (backward
picture).
The forward picture is a picture whose display time is
earlier that that of the target picture, and it is positioned
forward the target picture on a time axis indicating the display
times of the respective pictures (hereinafter, referred to as
"display time axis"). The backward picture is a picture whose
display time is lator than that of the target picture, and it is
positioned backward the target picture on the display time axis.
Further, in the following description, a picture to be referred
to in coding the target picture is called a reference picture.
In the inter-picture predictive coding, specifically, a
motion vector of the target picture with respect to the reference
picture is detected, and prediction data for image data of the
target picture is obtained by motion compensation based on the
motion vector. Then, redundancy of difference data between the
prediction data and the image data of the target picture in the
space direction of the picture is removed, thereby to perform
compressive coding for the amount of data of the target picture.
On the other hand, as a process for decoding a coded picture,
there are intra-picture decoding corresponding to the intra-
picture coding, and inter-picture decoding corresponding to the
inter-picture coding. In the inter-picture decoding, the same
picture as a picture that is referred to in the inter-picture
coding is referred to. That is, a picture Xtg that is coded with
reference to pictures Xra and Xrb is decoded with reference to
the pictures Xra and Xrb.
Figures 43(a)-43(c) are diagrams illustrating plural
pictures constituting a moving picture.
In figure 43(a), part of plural pictures constituting one
moving picture Mpt, i.e., pictures F(k) ~F(k+2n-l) [k,n:
integers], are shown. Display times t (k) ~t (k+2n-l) are set on
the respective pictures F(k) ~F(k+2n-l) . As shown in figure
43(a), the respective pictures are successively arranged from one
having earlier display time on a display time axis X indicating
display times Tdis of the respective pictures, and these pictures
are grouped for every predetermined number (n) of pictures. Each
of these picture groups is called a GOP (Group of Pictures), and
this is a minimum unit of random access to coded data of a moving
picture. In the following description, a picture group is
sometimes abbreviated as a GOP.
For example, an (i)th picture group Gp(i) is constituted by
pictures F(k) ~F(k+n-l) . An (i+l)th picture group Gp(i+1) is
constituted by pictures F(n+k) ~F(k+2n-l) .
Each picture is divided into plural slices each comprising
plural macroblocks. For example, a macroblock is a rectangle
area having 16 pixels in the vertical direction and 16 pixels in
the horizontal direction. Further, as shown in figure 43(b), a
picture F(k+1) is divided into plural slices SLl~SLm [m: natural
number] . A slice SL2 is constituted by plural macro-blocks MB1~
MBr [r: natural number] as shown in figure 43(c).
Figure 44 is a diagram for explaining coded data of a moving
picture, illustrating a structure of a stream obtained by coding
the respective pictures constituting the moving picture.
A stream Smp is coded data corresponding to one image
sequence (e.g., one moving picture). The stream Smp is composed
of an area (common information area) Cstr wherein bit streams
corresponding to common information such as a header are arranged,
and an area (GOP area) Dgop wherein bit streams corresponding to
the respective GOPs are arranged. The common information area
Cstr includes sync data Sstr and a header Hstr corresponding to
the stream. The GOP area Dgop includes bit streams Bg(l)~Bg(i-
1), Bg(i), Bg(i+1) ~Bg(I) corresponding to picture groups (GOP)
Gp(l)~Gp(i-l), Gp(i), Gp(i+l)~Gp(I) [i,I: integers].
Each bit stream corresponding to each GOP is composed of an
area (common information area) Cgop wherein bit streams
corresponding to common information such as a header are arranged,
and an area (picture area) Dpct wherein bit streams corresponding
to the respective pictures are arranged. The common information
area Cgop includes sync data Sgop and a header Hgop corresponding
to the GOP. A picture area Dpct of the bit stream Bg(i)
corresponding to the picture group G(i) includes bit streams
Bf(k'), Bf(k'+1), Bf(k'+2), Bf(k'+3), ..., Bf(k'+s) corresponding
to pictures F(k'), F(k' + 1), F(k'+2) , F(k'+3), ..., F(k*+s) [k',s:
integers]. The pictures F(k'), F(k,+1)/ F(k'+2), F(k'+3), ...,
F(k'+s) are obt? ned by rearranging, in coding order, the
pictures F(k) ~F(k+n-l) arranged in order of display times.
Each bit stream corresponding to each picture is composed of
an area (common information area) Cpct wherein bit streams
corresponding to common information such as a header are arranged,
and an area (slice area) Dslc wherein bit streams corresponding
to the respective slices are arranged. The common information
area Cpct includes sync data Spct and a header Hpct corresponding
to the picture. For example, when the picture F(k' + 1) in the
arrangement in order of coding times (coding order arrangement)
is the picture F(k+1) in the arrangement in order of display
times (display order arrangement), the slice area Dslc in the bit
stream Bf(k'+l) corresponding to the picture F(k'+1) includes bit
streams Bsl~Bsm corresponding to the respective slices SLl~SLm.
Each bit stream corresponding to each slice is composed of
an area (common information area) Cslc wherein bit streams
corresponding to common information such as a header are arranged,
and an area (macroblock area) Drab wherein bit streams
corresponding to the respective macroblocks are arranged. The
common information area Cslc includes sync data Sslc and a header
Hslc corresponding to the slice. For example, when the picture
F(k'+1) in the coding order arrangement is the picture F(k+1) in
the display order arrangement, the macroblock area Dmb in the bit
stream Bs2 corresponding to the slice SL2 includes bit streams
Bml~Bmr corresponding to the respective macroblocks MBl~MBr.
As described above, coded data corresponding to one moving
picture (i.e., one image sequence) has a hierarchical structure
comprising a stream layer corresponding to a stream Smp as the
coded data, GOP layers corresponding to GOPs constituting the
stream, picture layers corresponding to pictures constituting
each of the GOPs, and slice layers corresponding to slices
constituting each of the pictures.
By the way, in moving picture coding methods such as MPEG
(Moving Picture Experts Group)-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, ITU-T
recommendation H.263, H.26L, and the like, a picture to be
subjected to intra-picture coding is called an I picture, and a
picture to be subjected to inter-picture predictive coding is
called a P picture or a B picture.
Hereinafter, definitions of an I picture, a P picture, and a
B picture will be described.
An I picture is a picture to be coded without referring to
another picture. A P picture or B picture is a picture to be
coded with reference to another picture. To be exact, a P
picture is a picture for which either I mode coding or P mode
coding can be selected when coding each block in the picture. A
B picture is a picture for which one of I mode coding, P mode
coding, and B mode coding can be selected when coding each block
in the picture.
The I mode coding is a process of performing intra-picture
coding for a target block in a target picture without referring
to another picture. The P mode coding is a process of performing
inter-picture predictive coding for a target block in a target
picture with reference to an already-coded picture. The B mode
coding is a process of performing inter-picture predictive coding
for a target block in a target picture with reference to two
already-coded pictures.
A picture to be referred to during the P mode coding or B
mode coding is an I picture or a P picture other than the target
picture, and it may be either a forward picture positioned
forward the target picture or a backward picture positioned
backward the target picture.
However, there are three ways of combining two pictures to
be referred to during the B mode coding. That is, there are
three cases of B mode coding as follows: a case where two forward
pictures are referred to, a case where two backward pictures are
referred to, and a case where one forward picture and one
backward picture are referred to.
Figure 45 is a diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding method such as MPEG described above. Figure 45
illustrates relationships between target pictures and the
corresponding reference pictures (pictures to be referred to when
coding the respective target pictures).
Coding of the respective pictures F(k)~F(k+7), ..., F(k+17)
~~F(k+21) constituting the moving picture is carried out with
reference to other pictures as shown by arrows Z. To be specific,
a picture at the end of one arrow Z is coded y inter-picture
predictive coding with reference to a picture at the beginning of
the same arrow Z. In figure 45, the pictures F(k)~F(k+7), ...,
F(k+17)~F(k+21) are identical to the pictures F(k)~F(k+4), ...,
F(k+n-2) ~F(k+n+4) , .'.., F(k+2n-2) , F(k+2n-l) shown in figure
43(a). These pictures are successively arranged from one having
earlier display time on the display time axis X. The display
times of the pictures F(k)~F(k+7), . .., F(k+17) ~F(k+21) are
times t(k)~t(k+7), __, t (k+17) ~t (k+21) . The picture types of
the pictures F(k)~F(k+7) are I, B, B, P, B, B, P, B, and the
picture types of the pictures F(k+17) ~F(k+21) are B, P, B, B, P.
For example, when performing B mode coding for the second B
picture F(k+1) shown in figure 45, the first I picture F(k) and
the fourth P picture F(k+3) are referred to. Further, when
performing P mode coding for the fourth P picture F(k+3) shown in
figure 45, the first I picture F(k) is referred to.
Although a forward picture is referred to in P mode coding
of a P picture in figure 45, a backward picture may be referred
to. Further, although a forward picture and a backward picture
are referred to in B mode coding of a B picture in figure 45, two
forward pictures or two backward pictures may be referred to.
Furthermore, in a moving picture coding method such as MPEG-
4 or H.26L, a coding mode called "direct mode" may be selected
when coding a B picture.
Figures 46(a) and 46(b) are diagrams for explaining inter-
picture predictive coding to be performed with the direct mode.
Figure 46(a) shows motion vectors to be used in the direct mode.
In figure 46(a), pictures P1, B2, B3, and P4 correspond to
the pictures F(k+3) ~F(k+6) [k=-2] shown in figure 45, and times
t(l), t(2), t(3), and t(4) (t(1) times of the pictures P1, B2, B3, and P4, respectively. Further,
X is a display time axis indicating display times Tdis.
Hereinafter, a case where a block BL3 in the picture B3 is
coded in the direct mode will be specifically described.
In this case, a target picture to be coded is the picture B3,
and a target block to be coded is a block BL3.
In predictive coding of the block BL3 in the picture B3, a
motion vector MV4 of a block BL4 in the picture P4, which block
has been most-recently coded and is positioned backward the
picture B3, is used. The relative position of the block BL4 to
the picture P4 is equal to the relative position of the block BL3
to the picture B3. That is, as shown in figure 46(b),
coordinates (x4,y4) of an origin 0b4 of the block BL4 with
respect to an origin 04 of the picture P4 are equal to
coordinates (x3,y3) of an origin 0b3 of the block BL3 with
respect to an origin 03 of the picture P3. Further, the motion
vector MV4 of the block BL4 is the motion vector that is used in
predictive coding of the block BL4. The motion vector MV4 of the
block BL4 is obtained by motion detection of the block BL4 with
reference to the forward picture P1, and it shows a region R4f
corresponding to the block BL4, of the forward picture P1.
Then, the block BL3 in the picture B3 is subjected to
bidirectional predictive coding with reference to the forward
picture P1 and the backward picture P4, by using motion vectors
MV3f and MV3b which are parallel to the motion vector MV4. The
motion vector MV3f indicates a region R3f corresponding to the
block BL3, of the forward picture P1 to be referred to when
coding the block BL3. The motion vector MV3b indicates a region
R3b corresponding to the block BL3, of the backward picture P4 to
be referred to when coding the block BL3.
By the way, the ITU-T recommendation (H.263++ Annex U)
describes about a framework in a case where plural pictures are
used as candidates for a reference picture. In this description,
a reference picture memory for holding image data of pictures to
be candidates for a reference picture (candidate pictures) is
sorted into a short-term picture memory and a long-term picture
memory. The short-term picture memory is a memory area for
holding data of candidate pictures which are timewise close to a
target picture (neighboring candidate pictures). The long-term
picture memory is a memory area for holding candidate pictures
which are timewise far from the target picture (distant candidate
pictures). To be specific, a distant candidate picture is apart
from the target picture by such a distance that the number of
candidate pictures from the target picture to the distant
candidate picture exceeds the number of candidate pictures which
can be stored in the short-term picture memory.
Further, the ITU-T recommendation (H.263++ Annex U)
describes about a method of utilizing the short-term picture
memory and the long-term picture memory, and further, it also
describes a method of designating reference picture indices
(hereinafter, also referred to simply as reference indices) to
pictures.
Initially, the method of designating reference indices to
pictures will be briefly described.
Figures 47(a) and 47(b) are diagrams for explaining the
method of designating reference indices to plural pictures
constituting a moving picture. Figure 47(a) shows candidates
(candidate pictures) for a picture to be referred to when coding
a picture P16. Figure 47(b) shows candidates (candidate
pictures) for a picture to be referred to when coding a picture
B15.
In figure 47(a), pictures P4, B2, B3, P7, B5, B6, Plo, B8,
B9, P13, Bll, B12, P16, B14, B15, P19, B17, and P18 are obtained
by rearranging the pictures F(k+1) ~F(k+17) [k=l] shown in figure
45 in cording order. The arrangement of plural pictures shown in
figure 47(a) is an arrangement of pictures on a time axis (coding
time axis) Y indicating times (coding times) Tenc for coding the
respective pictures.
A description will be given of a case where, as shown in
figure 47(a), a block in the P picture P16 is subjected to P mode
coding.
In this case, among four forward P pictures (pictures P4, P7,
Plo, and P13), a picture suited for coding is referred to. That
is, the forward P pictures P4, P7, Plo, and P13 are candidate
pictures which can be designated as a reference picture in
performing P mode coding of the picture P16. These candidate
pictures P4, p7, Plo, and P13 are assigned reference indices,
respectively.
When assigning reference indices to these candidate pictures,
a reference index having a smaller value is assigned to a
candidate picture closer to the target picture P16 to be coded.
To be specific, as shown in figure 47(a), reference indices [0],
[1], [2], and [3] are assigned to the pictures P13, Plo, P7, and
P4, respectively. Further, information indicating the reference
indices assigned to the respective candidate pictures is
described as a parameter of motion compensation in a bit stream
corresponding to a target block in the picture p16.
Next, a description will be given of a case where, as shown
in figure 47(b), a block in the B picture B15 is subjected to B
mode coding.
In this case, among four forward pictures (pictures P4, P7,
Plo, and P13) and one backward picture (picture P16), two
pictures suited for coding are referred to. That is, the forward
pictures P4, P7, Plo, and P13 and the backward picture P16 are
candidate pictures which can be designated as reference pictures
in B mode coding for the B picture B15. When four forward
pictures and one backward picture are candidate pictures, the
forward pictures P4, P7, Plo, and P13 are assigned reference
indices, and the backward picture P16 is assigned a code [b]
indicating that this picture is a candidate picture to be
referred to backward.
In assigning reference indices to the candidate pictures, as
for forward pictures as candidate pictures, a smaller reference
index is assigned to a forward picture (candidate picture) closer
to the target picture B15 to be coded on the coding time axis Y.
To be specific, as shown in figure 47(b), reference indices [0],
[1], [2], and [3] are assigned to the pictures P13, Plo, P7, and
P4, respectively. Further, information indicating the reference
index assigned to each candidate picture is described, as a
parameter of motion picture, in a bit stream corresponding to a
target block in the picture B15.
Next, the method of assigning reference indices, which is
described in the ITU-T recommendation (H.263++ Annex U), will be
described in association with the method of utilizing the short-
term picture memory and the long-term picture memory.
In the short-term picture memory, candidate pictures which
can be designated as a reference picture for a target picture are
successively stored, and the stored candidate pictures are
assigned reference index in order of storage into the memory
(i.e., in decoding order, or in order of bit streams). Further,
when decoding a B picture, a picture that has most-recently been
stored in the memory is treated as a backward reference picture
while the other pictures are assigned reference indices in ord-.r
of storage into the memory.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where
four forward pictures can be used as candidates for a reference
picture for a target picture.
Figures 48(a) and 48(b) are diagrams illustrating part of
plural pictures constituting a moving picture, wherein pictures
are arranged in display order (48(a)), and pictures are arranged
in coding order (48(b)). Pictures P1, B2, B3, P4, B5, B6, P7, B8,
B9, Plo, Bll, B12, P13, B14, B15, P16, B17, B18, and P19 shown in
figure 48(a) correspond to the pictures F(k+3) ~F(k+21) [k=-2]
shown in figure 45.
Figure 49 is a diagram for explaining management of a memory
for reference pictures for the pictures arranged as described
above.
In figure 49, already-coded pictures which are stored in the
reference picture memory when coding target pictures are shown in
association with logical memory numbers corresponding to memory
areas where the already-coded pictures are stored, and reference
indices assigned to the already-coded pictures.
In figure 49, pictures P16, B14, and B15 are target pictures.
logical memory numbers (0)~(4) indicate logical positions
(memory areas) in the reference picture memory. The later the
time of coding (or decoding) an already-processed picture stored
in a memory area is, the smaller the logical memory number
corresponding to the memory arsa is.
Hereinafter, management of the reference picture memory will
be described more specifically.
When coding (decoding) the picture P16, the pictures P13,
Plo, P7, and P4 are stored in the memory areas indicated by the
logical memory numbers (0), (1), (2), and (3) in the reference
picture memory, respectively. The pictures P13, Plo, P7, and P4
are assigned reference indices [0], [1], [2], and [3],
respectively.
When coding (decoding) the pictures B14 and B15, the
pictures P16, P13, Plo, P7, and P4 are stored in the memory areas
indicated by the logical memory numbers (0), (1), (2), (3), and
(4) in the reference picture memory, respectively. At this time,
the picture P16 is assigned a code [b] indicating that this
picture is a candidate picture to be backward referred to, and
the remaining candidate pictures pl3, Plo, P7, and P4 to be
forward referred to are assigned reference indices [0], [1], [2],
and [3], respectively.
Information indicating the reference indices assigned to the
respective candidate pictures is a parameter of motion
compensation and, when coding a block in a target picture, it is
described in a bit stream corresponding to the block as
information indicating which one of the plural candidate pictures
should be used as a reference picture. At this time, a shorter
code is assigned to a smaller reference index.
In the conventional coding method described above, however,
since an I picture or a P picture is designated as a reference
picture when performing predictive coding for a block in a B
picture, a distance (hereinafter, also referred to as a time-
basis distance) between the target picture and the reference
picture on the display time axis might be increased.
For example, in predictive coding on a block in the B
picture B15 shown in figure 48(b), when the forward picture P13
and the backward picture P16 are designated as reference pictures,
the time-basis distance Ltd (=t(15)-t(13)) between the B picture
B15 (target picture) and the forward picture P13 (reference
picture) becomes a two-picture interval (2Pitv) as shown in
figure 50(a).
Furthermore, in predictive coding for a block in the B
picture B15 shown in figure 48(b), when the forward pictures P13
and Plo are designated as reference pictures, the time-basis
distance Ltd (=t picture) and the forward picture Plo (reference picture) becomes
a five-picture interval (5Pitv) as shown in figure 50(b).
Especially when the number of B pictures inserted between an
I picture and a P picture or between adjacent two P pictures is
increased, the time-basis distance Ltd between the target picture
and the reference picture is increased, resulting in a
considerable reduction in coding efficiency.
Further, in the conventional coding method, when performing
B mode coding in which plural backward pictures can be referred
to, there are cases where a neighboring picture which is timewise
close to a target picture is assigned a reference index larger
than a reference index assigned to a distant picture which is
timewise far from the target picture.
In this case, in motion detection for a block in the target
picture, a candidate picture that is timewise closer to the
target picture is likely to be referred to, in other words, a
candidate picture that is timewise closer to the target picture
is likely to be designated as a reference picture, resulting in
degradation of coding efficiency.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where two
backward pictures P16 and pl9 are referred to in B mode coding
for a block in a B picture B15 shown in figure 51(a).
In this case, pictures B2, B3, P4, B5, B6, P7, B8, B9, Plo,
Bll, B12, P13, B14, B15, P16, B17, B18, and P19 which are
arranged in display order as shown in figure 51(a) are rearranged
in coding order, resulting in P7, B2, B3, Plo, B5, B6, P13, B8,
B9, P16, Bll, B12, P19, B14, and B15 as shown in figure 51(b).
Further, in this case, among three forward pictures
(pictures P7, Plo, and P13) and two backward pictures (pictures
P16 and P19), two pictures suited to coding are referred to. To
be specific, the forward pictures p7, Plo, and P13 and the
backward pictures P16 and P19 are candidate pictures which can be
designated as a reference picture when coding a block in the
picture B15. When three forward pictures and two backward
pictures are candidate pictures as described above, reference
indices are assigned to the forward pictures P7, Plo, and P13 and
the backward pictures P16 and PI9.
In assigning reference indices to the candidate pictures, a
smaller reference index is assigned to a candidate picture that
is closer to the target picture B15 to be coded on the coding
time axis Y. To be specific, as shown in figure 51 (b), reference
indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4] are assigned to the pictures
P19, P16, P13, Plo, and P7, respectively.
In this case, however, the reference index [1] assigned to
the P picture P16 that is closer to the target picture (B picture
B15) on the display time axis X becomes larger than the reference
index [0] assigned to the P picture P19 that is far from the B
picture B15, resulting in degradation of coding efficiency.
The present invention is made to solve the above-described
problems and has for its object to provide a moving picture
coding method which can prevent a reduction in coding efficiency
due to an increase in a time-basis distance between a target
picture and a reference picture, and a moving picture decoding
method corresponding to the moving picture coding method which
can prevent a reduction in coding efficiency.
Further, it is another object of the present invention to
provide a moving picture coding method which can assign reference
indices to candidate pictures that can be referred to in
predictive coding, without degrading coding efficiency, and a
moving picture decoding method corresponding to the moving
picture coding method which can avoid degradation in coding
efficiency.
DISCloSURE OF THE INVENTION
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for dividing each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture into plural blocks, and coding each
picture for every block, which method includes a coding step of
performing predictive coding for a block of a target picture to
be coded, with reference to an already-coded picture; and, in the
coding step, when the target picture is a B picture whose block
is to be predictive-coded with reference to two already-coded
pictures, a block of the target picture is predictive-coded with
reference to an already-coded B picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when the target
picture is a B picture, a block of the target picture is
predictive-coded with reference to an already-coded B picture,
and when the target picture is a P picture whose block is to be
predictive-coded with reference to one already-coded picture,
each block of the target picture is predictive-coded without
referring to any already-coded B picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, each of the plural pictures
constituting the moving picture is, in the coding step, coded as
one of the following pictures: an I picture whose block is to be
coded without referring to an already-coded picture, a P picture
whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference to one
already-coded picture, and a B picture whose block is to be
predictive-coded with reference to two already-coded pictures;
and, in the coding step, when the target picture is a B picture,
a block of the target picture is predictive-coded with reference
to an already-coded B picture, and when the number of candidate
pictures for a reference picture to be referred to when coding
the target picture as a B picture is equal to or smaller than the
number of candidate pictures for a reference picture to be
referred to when coding the target picture as a P picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, each of the plural pictures
constituting the moving picture is, in the coding step, coded as
one of the following pictures: an I picture whose block is to be
coded without referring to an already-coded picture, a P picture
whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference to one
already-coded picture, and a B picture whose block is to be
predictive-coded with reference to two already-coded pictures;
and, in the coding step, when the target picture is a B picture,
a B picture to be referred to in predictive-coding a block of the
target picture is only a B picture which is inserted between the
target picture and an I or a P picture that is closest to the
target picture on the display time axis.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when the target
picture is a B picture, a block of the target picture is
predictive-coded with reference to an already-coded B picture,
and picture position information indicating the position of the
referred already-coded B picture on the display time axis, is
included in a bit stream that is obtained by coding the pictures
constituting the moving picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, the picture position information is
expressed with a shorter length code as the distance on the
display time axis from the target picture to the already-coded B
picture that is referred to in coding the target picture is
shorter.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when the target
picture is a B picture, a block of the target picture is
predictive-coded with reference to an already-coded B picture;
and information indicating that the already-coded B picture is
referred to when coding the target B picture, is included as
header information in a bit stream that is obtained by coding the
pictures constituting the moving picture.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for dividing each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture into plural blocks, and coding each
picture for every block, which method includes a coding step of
coding a target picture to be ceded, with reference to, at least,
a P picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference
to one already-coded picture, and a B picture whose block is to
be predictive-coded with reference to two already-coded pictures;
and, in the coding step, an already-coded picture determined
according to a certain rule is referred to when coding a target
block of a B picture as a target picture in a direct mode which
uses a motion vector of a base block that is located at spatially
the same position as the target block, in an already-coded base
picture that is positioned close to the target picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when coding the
target block in the direct mode, a first already-coded picture
which is positioned immediaTcly before the target picture and is
earlier in display order than the target picture, is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, the already-coded base picture
including the base block is a backward base P picture which is
later in display order than the target picture; and, in the
coding step, a forward motion vector (MVRXTRF/TRD) and a
backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the target block
are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of the motion
vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the backward
base P picture and a second picture which is referred to in
coding the base block, on the display time axis, a distance TRF
between the target picture and the first picture on the display
time axis, and a distance TRB between the target picture and the
second picture on the display time axis, and bidirectional
prediction is carried out using the forward motion vector and the
backward motion vector.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when coding the
target block in the direct mode, bidirectional prediction with
the motion vector of the target block being zero is carried out,
with reference to an already-coded forward picture which is
positioned closest to the target picture and is earlier in
display order than the target picture, and an already-coded
backward picture which is positioned closest to the target
picture and is later in display order than the target picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when coding the
target block in the direct mode, no image information of the
target block whose prediction error information becomes zero,
into the bit stream corresponding to the moving picture, is
inserted.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when the
prediction error information of the target block becomes zero,
insertion of the image information of the target block into the
bit stream corresponding to the moving picture, is omitted.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, reference
picture indices are assigned to candidate pictures for a
reference picture to be referred to when coding the target
picture, and when coding the target block in the direct mode, a
candidate picture to which a specific reference picture index is
assigned is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when a picture
immediaTcly before the target picture is a picture to be used as
a candidate picture for a reference picture only when coding the
target picture, the specific reference picture index is assigned
to a picture which is positioned forward the target picture,
except the picture immediaTcly before the target picture, among
the candidate pictures to be referred to in coding the target
picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, the specific
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture which
is earlier in display order than the target picture and is
closest to the target picture, except the picture immediaTcly
before the target picture, among the candidate pictures to be
referred to in decoding the target picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, the already-coded base picture
including the base block is a backward base P picture which is
later in display order than the target picture; and, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode, a
first forward picture which is earlier in display order than the
target block, which is referred to in coding the base block, is
referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when coding the
target block in the direct mode, a second forward picture which
is positioned immediaTcly before the target picture and is
earlier in display order than the target picture, is referred to;
and a forward motion vector (MVRXTRF/TRD) and a backward motion
vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the target block are obtained, on
the basis of a magnitude MVR of the motion vector of the base
block, a distance TRD between the backward base P picture and the
first forward picture on the display time axis, a distance TRF
between the target picture and the second forward picture on the
display time axis, and a distance TRB between the target picture
and the first forward picture on the display time axis.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture coding method, in the coding step, when coding the
target block in the direct mode, if a forward picture to be
referred to, which is earlier in display order than the target
picture, does not exist in a memory for holding reference
pictures, a picture which is closest to the target picture and is
earlier in display order than the target picture, is referred to.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for coding each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream
corresponding to each picture, which method includes a coding
step of coding a target picture to be coded, with reference to an
already-coded picture; and the coding step includes: an index
assignment step of assigning reference picture indices to plural
reference candidate pictures which are candidates for a reference
picture to be referred to in coding the target picture, in such a
manner that a smaller reference picture index is assigned to a
candidate picture which is closer in display order to the target
picture to be coded, and an index addition step of adding the
reference picture index which is assigned to a picture that is
referred to in coding the target picture, to the bit stream.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for coding each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream
corresponding to each picture, which method includes a coding
step of coding a target picture to be coded with reference to an
already-coded picture and, in the coding step, a flag indicating
whether or not the target picture should be used as a candidate
for a reference picture when coding another picture that follows
the target picture, is described in the bit stream.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture, for every block that is a
processing unit of each picture, thereby converting a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of performing predictive decoding for a
block of a target picture to be decoded, with reference to an
already-decoded picture; and, in the decoding step, when the
target picture is a B picture whose block is to be predictive-
decoded with reference to two already-decoded pictures, a block
of the target picture is predictive-decoded with reference to an
already-decoded B picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when the
target picture is a B picture, a block of the target picture is
predictive-decoded with reference to an already-decoded B picture,
and when the target picture is a P picture whose block is to be
predictive-decoded with reference to one already-decoded picture,
each block of the target picture is predictive-decoded without
referring to any already-decoded B picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, each of the plural pictures
constituting the moving picture is, in the decoding step, decoded
as one of the following pictures: an I picture whose blcck is to
be decoded without referring to an already-decoded picture, a P
picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with reference to
one already-decoded picture, and a B picture whose block is to be
predictive-decoded with reference to two already-decoded
pictures; and, in the decoding step, when the target picture is a
B picture, a block of the target picture is predictive-decoded
with reference to an already-decoded B picture, and the number of
candidate pictures for a forward reference picture to be referred
to when decoding the target picture as a B picture is equal to or
smaller than the number of candidate pictures for a reference
picture to be referred to when decoding target picture as a P
picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, each of the plural pictures
constituting the moving picture is, in the decoding step, decoded
as one of the following pictures: an I picture whose block is to
be decoded without referring to an already-decoded picture, a P
picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with reference to
one already-decoded picture, and a B picture whose block is to be
predictive-decoded with reference to two already-decoded
pictures; and, in the decoding step, when the target picture is a
B picture, a B picture to be referred to in predictive-decoding a
block of the target picture is only a B picture which is inserted
between the target picture and an I or a P picture that is
closest to the target picture in display order.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when the
target picture is a B picture, a process of predictive-decoding a
block of the target picture with reference to an already-decoded
B picture, is carried out on the basis of picture position
information indicating the position of the already-decoded B
picture on the display time axis, which information is included
in the bit stream.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, the picture position information
is expressed with a shorter length code as the distance on the
display time axis from the target picture to the already-decoded
forward B picture that is referred to in decoding the target
picture is shorter.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when the
target picture is a B picture, a process of predictive-decoding a
block of the target picture with reference to an already-decoded
B picture, is carried out with reference to header information
indicating that an already-coded B picture is referred to when
coding the target B picture, which header information is included
in the bit stream corresponding to the picture as a component of
the moving picture.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture, for every block that is a
processing unit of each picture, thereby converting a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
decoded, with reference to, at least, a P picture whose block is
to be predictive-decoded with reference to one already-decoded
picture, and a B picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded
with reference to two already-decoded pictures; and, in the
decoding step, an already-decoded picture determined according to
a certain rule is referred to when decoding a target block of a B
picture as a target picture in a direct mode which uses a motion
vector of a base block that is located at spatially the same
position as the target block, in an already-decoded base picture
that is positioned close to the target picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, a first already-
coded picture which is positioned immediaTcly before the target
picture and is earlier in display order than the target picture,
is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, the already-decoded base picture
including the base block is a backward base P picture which is
later in display order than the target picture; and, in the
decoding step, a forward motion vector (MVRXTRF/TRD) and a
backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the target block
are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of the motion
vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the backward
base P picture and a second picture which is referred to in
decoding the base block, on the display time axis, a distance TRF
between the target picture and the first picture on the display
time axis, and a distance TRB between the target picture and the
second picture on the display time axis.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, bidirectional
prediction with the motion vector of the target block being zero
is carried out, with reference to an already-decoded forward
picture which is positioned closest to the target picture and is
earlier in display order than the target picture, and an already-
decoded backward picture which is positioned closest to the
target picture and is later in display order than the target
picture.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, image information
-of-the target block whose—prediction error information is zero
which image information is not included in the bit stream, is
restored using the motion vector of the base block.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, image
information of the target block whose prediction error
information is zero, which image information is not included in
the bit stream, is restored using the motion vector of the base
block.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, reference picture indices are
assigned to candidate pictures for a reference picture to be
referred to when decoding the target picture; and, in the
decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct mode,
a candidate picture to which a specific reference picture index
is assigned is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, when a picture immediaTcly before
the target picture is a picture to be used as a candidate picture
for a reference picture only when decoding the target picture,
the specific reference picture index is assigned to a target
picture which is positioned forward the target picture, except
the picture immediaTcly before the target picture, among the
candidate pictures to be referred to in decoding the target
picture; and, in the decoding step, when decoding the target
block in the direct mode, the picture to which the specific
reference picture index is assigned is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, the specific reference picture
index is assigned to a candidate picture which is earlier in
display order than the target picture and is closest to the
target picture, except the picture immediaTcly before the target
picture, among the candidate pictures to be referred to in
decoding the target picture; and, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, the picture to
which the specific reference picture index is assigned is
referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, the already-decoded base picture
including the base block is a backward base P picture which is
later in display order than the target picture; and, in the
decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct mode,
a first forward picture which is earlier in display order than
the target block, which is referred to in decoding the base block,
is referred to.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, a second forward
picture which is positioned immediaTcly before the target picture
and is earlier in display order than the target picture, is
-referred to; and a-forward motion vector (MVxTRE/TRD> and a.
backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the target block
are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of the motion
vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the backward
base P picture and the first forward picture on the display time
axis, a distance TRF between the target picture and the second
forward picture on the display time axis, and a distance TRB
between the target picture and the first forward picture on the
display time axis.
According to the present invention, in the above-described
moving picture decoding method, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, if a forward
picture to be referred to, which is earlier in display order than
the target picture, does not exist in a memory for holding
reference pictures, a picture which is closest to the target
picture and is earlier in display order than the target picture
is referred to.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture to convert a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
decoded, with reference to an already-decoded picture; and the
decoding step includes: an index assignment step of assigning
reference picture indices to plural reference candidate pictures
which are candidates for a reference picture -to- be- -referred-'-to- -in-
decoding the target picture, in such a manner that a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture which
is closer in display order to the target picture to be decoded,
and a reference picture determination step of determining a
picture to be referred to in decoding the target picture, on the
basis of a reference picture index assigned to a picture that is
referred to in coding the target picture, which index is added to
the bit stream of the target picture, and the reference picture
indices assigned to the reference candidate pictures in the index
assignment step.
According to the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture to convert a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
decoded with reference to an already-decoded picture, wherein a
flag indicating whether or not the target picture should be used
as a candidate for a reference picture when decoding another
picture that follows the target picture, is described in the bit
stream and, in the decoding step, management of the decoded
target picture is carried out on the basis of the flag.
As described above, in the present invention, there is
provided a moving picture coding method for dividing each of
plural pictures constituting a moving picture into plural blocks,
and coding each picture for every block, which method includes a.
coding step of performing predictive coding for a block of a
target picture to be coded, with reference to an already-coded
picture; and, in the coding step, when the target picture is a B
picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference to
two already-coded pictures, a block of the target picture is
predictive-coded with reference to an already-coded B picture.
Therefore, when coding a B picture, a forward reference picture
that is closest to the B picture can be used. Thereby,
prediction accuracy in motion compensation for the B picture can
be improved, resulting in improved coding efficiency.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a block of
the target picture is predictive-coded with reference to an
already-coded B picture, and when the target picture is a P
picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference to
one already-coded picture, each block of the target picture is
predictive-coded without referring to any already-coded B picture.
Therefore, in a memory where pictures to be candidates for a
reference picture are stored, management of the candidate
pictures is facilitated.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, each of
the plural pictures constituting the moving picture is, in the
coding step, coded as one of the following pictures: an I picture
whose block is to be coded without referring to an already-coded
picture, a P picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with
reference to one already-coded picture, and a B picture whose
block is to be predictive-coded with reference to two already-
coded pictures; and, in the coding step, when the target picture
is a B picture, a block of the target picture is predictive-coded
with reference to an already-coded B picture, and when the number
of candidate pictures for a reference picture to be referred to
when coding the target picture as a B picture is equal to or
smaller than the number of candidate pictures for a reference
picture to be referred to when coding the target picture as a P
picture. Therefore, it is possible to avoid an increase in
capacity of the memory holding the reference candidate pictures,
which is caused by that another B picture is referred to when
coding a B picture.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, each of
the plural pictures constituting the moving picture is, in the
coding step, coded as one of the following pictures: an I picture
whose block is to be coded without referring to an already-coded
picture, a P picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with
reference to one already-coded picture, and a B picture whose
block is to be predictive-coded with reference to two already-
coded pictures; and, in the coding step, when the target picture
is a B picture, a B picture to be referred to in predictive-
coding a block of the target picture is only a B picture which is
inserted between the target picture and an I or a P picture that
is closest to the target picture on the display time axis.
Therefore, prediction accuracy in motion compensation for a B
picture can be improved, resulting in improved coding efficiency.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a block of
the target picture is predictive-coded with reference to an
already-coded B picture, and picture position information
indicating the position of the referred already-coded B picture
on the display time axis, is included in a bit stream that is
obtained by coding the pictures constituting the moving picture.
Therefore, the decoding end can ea-sily detect a- reference
candidate B picture that is used as a reference picture when
coding a B picture.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, the
picture position information is expressed with a shorter length
code as the distance on the display time axis from the target
picture to the already-coded B picture that is referred to in
coding the target picture is shorter. Therefore, it is possible
to reduce the amount of codes required for expressing information
for identifying, at the decoding end, a candidate picture that
has been forward referred to when coding a B picture.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a block of
the target picture is predictive-coded with reference to an
already-coded B picture; and information indicating that the
already-coded B picture is referred to when coding the target B
picture, is included as header information in a bit stream that
is obtained by coding the pictures constituting the moving
picture. Therefore, it is easily detected at the decoding end
that another B picture is forward referred to when coding a B
picture.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for dividing each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture into plural blocks, and coding each
picture for every block, which method includes a coding step of
coding a-target picture to be coded, with reference to, at least,
a P picture whose block is to be predictive-coded with reference
to one already-coded picture, and a B picture whose block is to
be predictive-coded with reference to two already-coded pictures;
and, in the coding step, an already-coded picture determined
according to a certain rule is referred to when coding a target
block of a B picture as a target picture in a direct mode which
uses a motion vector of a base block that is located at spatially
the same position as the target block, in an already-coded base
picture that is positioned close to the target picture.
Therefore, prediction efficiency can be optimized according to
the coding status.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode, a
first already-coded picture which is positioned immediaTcly
before the target picture and is earlier in display order than
the target picture, is referred to. Therefore, prediction
efficiency in coding a B picture in direct mode can.be improved.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, the
already-coded base picture including the base block is a backward
base P picture which is later in display order than the target
picture; and, in the coding step, a forward motion vector (MVRX
TRF/TRD) and a backward motion vector ((TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the
target block are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of the
motion vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the
backward base P picture and a second picture which is referred to
in coding the base block, on the display time axis, a distance
TRF between the target picture and the first picture on the
display time axis, and a distance TRB between the target picture
and the second picture on the display time axis, and
bidirectional prediction is carried out using the forward motion
vector and the backward motion vector. Therefore, a motion
vector of a target block to be used in direct mode can be
accuraTcly generated from a motion vector of a block other than
the target block.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode,
bidirectional prediction with the motion vector of the target
block being zero is carried out, with reference to an already-
coded forward picture which is positioned closest to the target
picture and is earlier in display order than the target picture,
and an already-coded backward picture which is positioned closest
to the target picture and is later in display order than the
target picture. Therefore, when coding a B picture in direct
mode, scaling of a motion vector becomes unnecessary, resulting
in a reduction in processing amount.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode, no
image information of the target block whose prediction error
information becomes zero, into the bit stream corresponding to
the moving picture, is inserted. Therefore, the amount of codes
can be reduced.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when the prediction error information of the target
block becomes zero, insertion of the image information of the
target block into the bit stream corresponding to the moving
picture, is omitted. Therefore, the amount of codes can be
reduced.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, reference picture indices are assigned to candidate
pictures for a reference picture to be referred to when coding
the target picture, and when coding the target block in the
direct mode, a candidate picture to which a specific reference
picture index is assigned is referred to. Therefore, prediction
efficiency can be optimized according to the coding status;
In the above-described moving picture coding method,, in the
coding step, when a picture immediaTcly before the target picture
is a picture to be used as a candidate picture for a reference
picture only when coding the target picture, the specific
reference picture index is assigned to a picture which is
positioned forward the target picture, except the picture
immediaTcly before the target: picture, among the candidate
pictures to be referred to in coding the target picture.
Therefore, prediction efficiency in coding a B picture in direct
mode can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, the specific reference picture index is assigned to
a candidate picture which is earlier in display order than the
target picture and is closest to the target picture, except the
picture immediaTcly before the target picture, among the
candidate pictures to be referred to in decoding the target
picture. Therefore, prediction efficiency in coding a B picture
in direct mode can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, the
already-coded base picture including the base block is a backward
base P picture which is later in display order than the target
picture; and, in the coding step, when coding the target block in
the direct mode, a first forward picture which is earlier in
display order than the target block, which is referred to in
coding the base block, is referred to. Therefore, prediction
efficiency in coding a B picture in direct mode can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode, a
second forward picture which is positioned immediaTcly before the
target picture and is earlier in display order than the target
picture, is referred to; and a forward motion vector (MVRX
TRF/TRD) and a backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of the
target block are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of the
motion vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the
backward base P picture and the first forward picture on the
display time axis, a distance TRF between the target picture and
the second forward picture on the display time axis, and a
distance TRB between the target picture and the first forward
picture on the display time axis. Therefore, a motion vector of
a target block to be used in direct mode can be accuraTcly
generated from a motion vector of a block other than the target
block.
In the above-described moving picture coding method, in the
coding step, when coding the target block in the direct mode, if
a forward picture to be referred to, which is earlier in display
order than the target picture, does not exist in a memory for
holding reference pictures, a picture which is closest to the
target picture and is earlier in display order than the target
picture, is referred to. Therefore, it is possible to prevent
prediction efficiency in coding a B picture in direct mode from
being significantly degraded.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for coding each af plural pictures ..
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream
corresponding to each picture, which method includes a coding
step of coding a target picture to be coded, with reference to an
already-coded picture; and the ceding step includes: an index
assignment step of assigning reference picture indices to plural
reference candidate pictures which are candidates for a reference
picture to be referred to in coding the target picture, in such a
manner that a smaller-reference- picture index- is assigned to a
candidate picture which is closer in display order to the target
picture to be coded, and an index addition step of adding the
reference picture index which is assigned to a picture that is
referred to in coding the target picture, to the bit stream.
Therefore, a smaller reference picture index can be assigned to a
picture which is timewise closer to the target picture and is
more likely to be selected as a reference picture, whereby the
amount of codes for the reference picture indices can be
minimized, resulting in improved coding efficiency.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture coding method for coding each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream
corresponding to each picture, which method includes a coding
step of coding a target picture to be coded with reference to an
already-coded picture and, in the coding step, a flag indicating
whether or not the target picture should be used as a candidate
for a reference picture when coding another picture that follows
the target picture, is described in the bit stream. Therefore,
when coding a B picture to be subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, a forward picture that is closest to this B
picture can be used as a reference picture, whereby prediction
accuracy in motion compensation for the B picture can be
increased, resulting in improved coding efficiency.
In the present invention, there is provided a moving picture
decoding method for decoding each of plural pictures constituting
a moving picture, for every block that is a processing unit of
each picture, thereby converting a bit stream corresponding to
each picture into image data, which method includes a decoding
step of performing predictive decoding for a block of a target
picture to be decoded, with reference to an already-decoded
picture; and, in the decoding step, when the target picture is a
B picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with reference
to two already-decoded pictures, a block of the target picture is
predictive-decoded with reference to an already-decoded B picture.
Therefore, a block of a B picture, which has been coded using a B
picture as a candidate picture for forward reference, can be
correctly decoded.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a
block of the target picture is predictive-decoded with reference
to an already-decoded B picture, and when the target picture is a
P picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with reference
to one already-decoded picture, each block of the target picture
is predictive-decoded without referring to any already-decoded B
picture. Therefore, in a memory where pictures to be candidates
for a reference picture are stored, management of the candidate
pictures is facilitated.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, each
of the plural pictures constituting the moving picture is, in the
decoding step, decoded as one of the following pictures: an I
picture whose block is to be decoded without referring to an
already-decoded picture, a P picture whose block is to be
predictive-decoded with reference to one already-decoded picture,
and a B picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with
reference to two already-decoded pictures; and, in the decoding
step, when the target picture is a B picture, a block of the
target picture is predictive-decoded with reference to an
already-decoded B picture, and the number of candidate pictures
for a forward reference picture to be referred to when decoding
the target picture as a B picture is equal to or smaller than the
number of candidate pictures for a reference picture to be
referred to when decoding target picture as a P picture.
Therefore, it is possible to avoid an increase in capacity of the
memory holding the reference candidate pictures, which is caused
by that another B picture is referred to when decoding a B
picture.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method/ each.
of the plural pictures constituting the moving picture is, in the
decoding step, decoded as one of the following pictures: an I
picture whose block is to be decoded without referring to an
already-decoded picture, a P picture whose block-is te be-
predictive-decoded with reference to one already-decoded picture,
and a B picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded with
reference to two already-decoded pictures; and, in the decoding
step, when the target picture is a B picture, a B picture to-be-
referred to in predictive-decoding a block of the target picture
is only a B picture which is inserted between the target picture
and an I or a P picture that is closest to the target picture in
display order. Therefore, prediction accuracy in motion
compensation for a B picture can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a
process of predictive-decoding a block of the target picture with
reference to an already-decoded B picture, is carried out on the
basis of picture position information indicating the position of
the already-decoded B picture on the display time axis, which
information is included in the bit stream. Therefore, the
decoding end can correctly detect a reference candidate B picture
that has been used as a reference picture when coding a B picture.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, the
picture position information is expressed with a shorter length
code as the distance on the display time axis from the target
picture to the already-decoded forward B picture that is referred
to in decoding the target picture is shorter. Therefore, it is
possible to reduce the amount of codes required for expressing
information for identifying, at the decoding end, a candidate
picture that has been forward referred to when coding a B picture.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when the target picture is a B picture, a
process-of predictive-decoding a block of the target picture with-
reference to an already-decoded B picture, is carried out with
reference to header information indicating that an already-coded
B picture is referred to when coding the target B picture, which
header information is included in the bit stream corresponding to
the picture as a component of the moving picture. Therefore, in
predictive decoding for a target block, it can be reliably and
speedily detected that another B picture is forward referred to
when coding a B picture.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture, for every block that is a
processing unit of each picture, thereby converting a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
decoded, with reference to, at least, a P picture whose block is
to be predictive-decoded with reference to one already-decoded
picture, and a B picture whose block is to be predictive-decoded
with reference to two already-decoded pictures; and, in the
decoding step, an already-decoded picture determined according to
a certain rule is referred to when decoding a target block of a B
picture as a target picture in a direct mode which uses a motion
vector of a base block that is located at spatially the same
position as the target block, in an already-decoded base picture
that is positioned close to the target picture. Therefore, it is
possible to realize a decoding method corresponding to a coding
method that can optimize prediction efficiency according to the
coding status.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct
mode, a first already-coded picture which is positioned
immediaTcly before the target picture and is earlier in display
order than the target picture, is referred to. Therefore,
prediction efficiency in decoding a B picture in direct mode can
be improved.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, the
already-decoded base picture including the base block is a
backward base P picture which is later in display order than the
target picture; and, in the decoding step, a forward motion
vector (MVRXTRF/TRD) and a backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) X
MVR/TRD) of the target block are obtained, on the basis of a
magnitude MVR of the motion vector of the base block, a distance
TRD between the backward base P picture and a second picture
which is referred to in decoding the base block, on the display
time axis, a distance TRF between the target picture and the
first picture on the display time axis, and a distance TRB
between the target picture and the second picture on the display
time axis. Therefore, a motion vector of a target block to be
A
used in direct mode can be accuraTcly generated from a motion
vector of a block other than the target block.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct
mode, bidirectional prediction with the motion vector of the
target block being zero is carried out, referring to an already-
decoded forward picture which is positioned closest to the target
picture and is earlier in display order than the target picture
as well as referring to an already-decoded backward picture which
is positioned closest to the target picture and is later in
display order than the target picture. Therefore, when decoding
a B picture in direct mode, scaling of a motion vector becomes
unnecessary, resulting in reduced processing amount.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct
mode, image information of the target block having prediction
error information of zero, which image information is not
included in the bit stream, is restored using the motion vector
of the base block. Therefore, a target block which is not
included in the bit stream and has prediction error information
being zero, can be predictive-decoded using a motion vector of
another block.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, image information of the target block having
prediction error information of zero, which image information is
not included in the bit stream, is restored using the motion
vector of the base block. Therefore, a target block which is not
included in the bit stream and has prediction error information
of zero, can be predictive-decoded using a motion vector of
another block.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method,
reference picture indices are assigned to candidate pictures for
a reference picture to be referred to when decoding the target
picture; and, in the decoding step, when decoding the target
block in the direct mode, a candidate picture to which a specific
reference picture index is assigned is referred to. Therefore,
it is possible to realize a decoding method corresponding to a
coding method that can optimize prediction efficiency according
to the coding status.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, when
a picture immediaTcly before the target picture is a picture to
be used as a candidate picture for a reference picture only when
decoding the target picture, the specific reference picture index
is assigned to a target picture which is positioned -forward the
target picture, except the picture immediaTcly before the target
picture, among the candidate pictures to be referred to in
decoding the target picture; and, in the decoding step, when
decoding the target block in the direct mode, the picture to
which the specific reference picture index is assigned is
referred to. Therefore, prediction efficiency in decoding a B
picture in direct mode can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, the
specific reference picture index is assigned to a candidate
picture which is earlier in display order than the target picture
and is closest to the target picture, except the picture
immediaTcly before the target picture, among the candidate
pictures to be referred to in decoding the target picture; and,
in the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the
direct mode, the picture to which the specific reference picture
index is assigned is referred to. Therefore, prediction
efficiency in decoding a B picture in direct mode can be improved.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, the
already-decoded base picture including the base block is a
backward base P picture which is later in display order than the
target picture; and, in the decoding step, when decoding the
target block in the direct mode, a first forward picture which is
earlier in display order than the target block, which is referred
to in decoding the base block, is referred to. Therefore,
prediction efficiency in decoding a B picture in direct mode can
be improved.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct
mode, a second forward picture which is positioned immediaTcly
before the target picture and is earlier in display order than
the target picture, is referred to; and a forward motion vector
(MVXTRF/TRD) and a backward motion vector ( (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD) of
the target block are obtained, on the basis of a magnitude MVR of
the motion vector of the base block, a distance TRD between the
backward base P picture and the first forward picture on the
display time axis, a distance TRF between the target picture and
the second forward picture on the display time axis, and a
distance TRB between the target picture and the first forward
picture on the display time axis. Therefore, a motion vector of
a target block to be used in direct mode can be accuraTcly
generated from a motion vector of a block other than the target
block.
In the above-described moving picture decoding method, in
the decoding step, when decoding the target block in the direct
mode, if a forward picture to be referred to, which is earlier in
display order than the target picture, does not exist in a memory
for holding reference pictures, a picture which is closest to the
target picture and is earlier in display order than the target
picture is referred to. Therefore, it is possible- to prevent
prediction efficiency in decoding a B picture in direct mode from
being significantly degraded.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture to convert a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
A
decoded, with reference to an already-decoded picture; and the
decoding step includes: an index assignment step of assigning
reference picture indices to plural reference- candidate pictures
which are candidates for a reference picture to be referred to in
decoding the target picture, in such a manner that a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture which
is closer in display order to the target picture to be decoded,
and a reference picture determination step of determining a
picture to be referred to in decoding the target picture, on the
basis of a reference picture index assigned to a picture that is
referred to in coding the target picture, which index is added to
the bit stream of the target picture, and the reference picture
indices assigned to the reference candidate pictures in the index
assignment step. Therefore, it is possible to correctly decode a
bit stream which has been generated by a highly efficient coding
method in which a smaller reference picture index can be assigned
to a picture that is timewise closer to the target picture and is
more likely to be selected.
Further, in the present invention, there is provided a
moving picture decoding method for decoding each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture to convert a bit stream
corresponding to each picture into image data, which method
includes a decoding step of decoding a target picture to be
decoded with reference to an already-decoded picture, wherein a
flag indicating whether or not the target picture should be used
as a candidate for a reference picture when decoding another
picture that follows the target picture, is described in the bit
stream, and in the decoding step/ management of the decoded
target picture is carried out on the basis of the flag.
Therefore, it is possible to correctly decode a bit stream
corresponding to a B picture, which is generated by using, as
forward reference pictures, a B picture subjected to
bidirectional predictive coding as well as a P picture subjected
to forward predictive coding.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Figure 1 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present
invention.
Figures 2(a) and 2(b) are schematic diagrams for explaining
a moving picture coding method according to the first embodiment,
wherein figure 2(a) shows pictures arranged in display order, and
figure 2(b) shows pictures arranged in coding order.
Figure 3 is a schematic diagram for explaining the moving
picture coding apparatus according to the first embodiment and a
moving picture decoding apparatus according to a second
embodiment, illustrating a method for collectively managing P and
B pictures in a memory.
Figures 4(a) and 4(b) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a first example (4(a)) and a second
example (4(b)) of direct mode coding (for picture Bll).
Figures 5(a) and 5(b) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a third example (5(a)) and a fourth
example (5(b)) of direct mode coding (for picture Bll).
Figures 6(a)-6(c) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a fifth example (6(a)) of direct mode
coding (for picture Bll), a skip block (6(b)), and a skip
identifier (6(c)).
Figures 7(a) and 7(b) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a first example (7(a)) and a second
example (7(b)) of direct mode coding (for picture B12).
Figures 8(a) and 8(b) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a third example (8(a)) and a fourth
example (8(b).) of direct mode coding (for picture B12) .
Figures 9(a) and 9(b) are diagrams for explaining the first
embodiment, illustrating a first example (9(a)) and a second
example (9(b)) of coding wherein a B picture positioned forward a
closest forward P picture is referred to.
Figures lo(a) and lo(b) are diagrams for explaining the
first embodiment, illustrating a first example (10(a)) and a
second example (10(b)) of coding wherein a B picture positioned
forward a closest forward I or P picture is not referred to.
Figure 11 is a diagram for explaining the first and second
embodiments, illustrating a first method for managing F pictures
and B pictures in a memory, separaTcly from each other.
Figure 12 is a diagram for explaining the first and second
embodiments, illustrating a second method for managing P pictures
and B pictures in a memory, separaTcly from each other.
Figure 13 is a diagram for explaining the first and second
embodiments, illustrating a third method for managing P pictures
and B pictures in a memory, separaTcly from each other.
Figure 14 is a diagram for explaining the first anc second
embodiments, illustrating a fourth method for managing P pictures
and B pictures in a memory, separaTcly from each other.
Figure 15 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus according to the second embodiment of the
invention.
Figures 16(a) and 16(b) are schematic diagrams for
explaining a moving picture decoding method according to the
second embodiment, wherein figure 16(a) shows pictures arranged
in decoding order, and figure 16(b) shows pictures arranged in
display order.
Figure 17 is a diagram for explaining the second embodiment,
illustrating bidirectional predictive decoding (for picture Bll).
Figures 18(a) and 18(b) are diagrams for explaining the
second embodiment, illustrating a first example (18(a)) and a
second example (18(b)) of direct mode decoding (for picture Bll).
Figures 19(a) and 19(b) are diagrams for explaining the
second embodiment, illustrating a third example (19(a)) ar.i a
fourth example (19(b)) of direct mode decoding (for picture Bll).
Figure 20 is a diagram for explaining the second embodiment,
illustrating bidirectional predictive decoding (for picture B12).
Figures 21(a) and 21(b) are diagrams for explaining the
second embodiment, illustrating a first example (21(a)) and a
second example (21(b)) of direct mode decoding (for picture B12).
Figures 22(a) and 22(b) are diagrams for explaining the
second embodiment, illustrating a third example (22(a)) and a
fourth example (22(b)) of direct mode decoding (for picture B12).
Figure 23 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus according to a third embodiment of the invention.
Figure 24 is a schematic diagram for explaining the moving
picture coding apparatus according to the third embodiment,
illustrating a method for collectively managing P and B pictures
in a memory.
Figures 25(a) and 25(b) are diagrams for explaining the
third embodiment, illustrating a case where decoding of a B
picture immediaTcly after a P picture is not carried out (25(a)),
and a case where a predetermined picture is not decoded.
Figure 26 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus according to a fourth embodiment of the
invention.
Figure 27 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus according to a fifth embodiment of the invention.
Figure 28 is a diagram for explaining the fifth embodiment,
illustrating a method for managing a picture memory, and a method
for assigning reference picture indices.
Figures 29(a) and 29(b) are diagrams for explaining the
fifth embodiment, illustrating pictures arranged in display order
(29(a)), and pictures arranged in coding order.
Figure 30 is a diagram for explaining the fifth embodiment,
illustrating a method for managing a picture memory, and a method
for assigning reference picture indices.
Figure 31 is a diagram for explaining the fifth embodiment,
illustrating a data structure of a bit stream corresponding to a
block in a case where two systems of reference picture indices
are used.
Figure 32 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus according to a sixth embodiment of the present
invention.
Figure 33 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus according to a seventh embodiment of the
invention.
Figures 34(a) and 34(b) are schematic diagrams for
explaining a moving picture coding method according to the
seventh embodiment/ illustrating pictures arranged in display
orcer (34(a)), and pictures arranged in coding order (34(b)).
Figure 35 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus according to an eighth embodiment of the
invention.
Figures 36(a) and 36(b) are schematic diagrams for
explaining a moving picture decoding method according to the
eighth embodiment, illustrating pictures arranged in decoding
order (36(a)), and pictures arranged in display order (36(b)).
Figure 37 is a diagram for explaining the eighth embodiment,
illustrating a method for managing a picture memory.
Figures 38(a) and 38(b) are diagrams illustrating a storage
medium which contains a program for implementxng the apparatuses
according to the respective embodiments with software, and figure
38(c) is a diagram illustrating a computer system using the
storage medium.
Figure 39 is a diagram for explaining applications of the
moving picture coding methods and decoding methods according to
the respective embodiments, illustrating a contents supply system
which realizes contents distribution services.
Figure 40 is a diagram for explaining a portable phone
utilizing the moving picture coding methods and decoding methods
according to the respective embodiments.
Figure 41 is a block diagram illustrating a specific
construction of the portable phone shown in figure 40.
Figure 42 is a conceptual diagram illustrating a system for
digital broadcasting that utilizes the moving picture coding
methods and decoding methods according to the respective
embodiments.
Figures 43(a)-43(c) are diagrams for explaining a
conventional moving picture coding method, illustrating an
arrangement of pictures constituting a moving picture (43(a)), a
slice obtained by dividing a picture (43(b)), and a macroblock
(43(c)).
Figure 44 is a diagram for explaining coded data of an
ordinary moving picture, illustrating structures of streams which
are obtained by coding pictures constituting a moving picture.
Figure 45 is a diagram for explaining a conventional moving
picture coding method such as MPEG, illustrating the
relationships between target pictures and pictures to be referred
to when coding the target pictures.
Figures 46(a) and 46(b) are diagrams for explaining
conventional direct mode coding, illustrating motion vectors used
in the direct mode (46(a)), and relative positions of pictures to
blocks (46(b)).
Figures 47(a) and 47(b) are diagrams for explaining a
conventional method for assigning reference picture indices,
illustrating reference indices to be assigned to candidate
pictures which are referred to when coding P pictures and B
pictures, respectively.
Figures 48(a) and 48(b) are diagrams for explaining a
conventional moving picture coding method, illustrating pictures
constituting a moving picture which are arranged in display order
(48(a)), and those pictures arranged in coding order (48(b)).
Figure 49 is a diagram for explaining a conventional movinc
picture coding method, illustrating an example of management of a
frame memory for the pictures arranged in coding order.
Figures 50(a) and 50(b) are diagram for explaining problems
of the conventional inter-picture predictive coding method, "
illustrating a case where bidirectional reference is carried out
(50(a)), and a case where two pictures are backward referred to
(50(b)).
Figures 51(a) and 51(b) are diagrams for explaining problems
of the conventional method of assigning reference picture indices,
illustrating pictures arranged in display order (51(a)), and
pictures arranged in coding order (51(b)).
BEST MODE TO EXECUTE THE INVENTION
[Embodiment 1]
Figure 1 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus lo according to a first embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture coding apparatus lo according to this
first embodiment divides each of plural pictures constituting a
moving picture into predetermined data processing units (blocks) ,
and encodes image data of each picture for every block.
To be specific, the moving picture coding apparatus lo
includes an input picture memory (hereinafter also referred to as
a frame memory) lo1 for holding image data (input data) Id of
inputted pictures, and outputting the stored data Id for every
block; a difference calculation unit lo2 for calculating
difference data between image data Md of a target block to be
coded, which is outputted from the frame memory lo1, and
prediction data Pd of the target block, as prediction error data
PEd of the target block; and a prediction error coding unit lo3
for compressively coding the image data Md of the target block or
the prediction error data PEd. In the frame memory lo1, a
process of rearranging the image data of the respective pictures
inputted in display order to those in picture coding order is
carried out on the basis of the relationship between each target
picture and a picture to be referred to (reference picture) in
predictive coding of the target picture.
The moving picture coding apparatus lo further includes a
prediction error decoding unit lo5 for expandingly decoding the
output data (coded data) Ed from the prediction error coding unit
lo3 to output decoded difference data PDd of the target block; an
addition unit lo6 for adding the decoded difference data PDd of
the target block and the prediction data Pd of the target block
to output decoded data Dd of the target block; and a reference
picture memory (hereinafter also referred to as a frame memory)
117 for holding the decoded data Dd according to a memory control
signal Cd2, and outputting the stored decoded data Dd as data Rd
of candidates (candidate pictures) of pictures to be referred to
when coding the target block.
The moving picture coding apparatus lo further includes a
motion vector detection unit lo8 for detecting a motion vector MV
of the target block on the basis of the output data (image data
of the target block) Md from the frame memory lo1 and the output
data (candidate picture data) Rf from the frame memory 11.7; and a
mode selection unit lo9 for determining a coding mode suited to
the target block on the basis of the motion vector MV of the
target block and the output data Md and Rd from the respective
frame memories lo1 and 117, and outputting a switch control
signal Cs2. The motion vector detection unit lo8 performs motion
detection for detecting the above-mentioned motion vector with
reference to plural candidate pictures that can be referred to in
predictive coding for the target block. Further, the mode
selection unit lo9 selects one coding mode for the target block
from among plural coding modes, which coding mode provides
optimum coding efficiency. When inter-picture predictive coding
is selected, an optimum picture is selected from among the plural
candidate pictures that can be referred to.
In the moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the
first embodiment, for a P picture (i.e., a picture for which one
already-coded picture is referred to when one block in this
picture is subjected to predictive-coding), one of the following
coding modes is sexected: intra-picture coding mode, inter-
picture predictive coding mode using a motion vector, and inter-
picture predictive coding mode using no motion vector (i.e.,
motion vector is regarded as 0). Further, for a B picture (i.e.,
a picture for which two already-coded pictures are referred to
when one block in this picture is subjected to predictive coding),
one of the following coding modes is selected: intra-picture
coding mode, inter-picture predictive coding mode using a forward
motion vector, inter-picture predictive coding mode using a
backward motion picture, inter-picture predictive coding mode
using bidirectional motion vectors, and direct mode. Further, in
this first embodiment, when a block in the B picture is coded in
the direct mode, an already coded picture that is positioned just
previous to the target picture on the display time axis is
referred to.
Furthermore, the moving picture coding apparatus lo includes
a selection switch 111 placed between the frame memory lo1 and
the difference calculation unit lo2; a selection switch 112
placed between the difference calculation unit lo2 and the
prediction error coding unit lo3; an ON/OFF switch 113 placed
between the frame memory lo1, and the mode selection unit lo9 and
the motion vector detection unit lo8; an ON/OFF switch 114 placed
between the mode selection unit lo9 and the addition unit lo6;
and an ON/OFF switch 115 placed between the prediction error
coding unit lo3 and the prediction error decoding unit lo5.
Moreover, the moving picture coding apparatus lo includes a
coding control unit 1lo for controlling ON/OFF operations of the
switches 113~115 according to a switch control signal Csl, and
outputting a code generation control signal Cdl and a memory
control signal Cd2; and a bit stream generation unit lo4 for
performing variable-length coding for the output data (coded
data) Ed from the prediction error coding unit lo3 on the basis
of the code generation control signal Cdl to output a bit stream
Bs corresponding to the target block. The bit stream generation
unit lo4 is supplied with the motion vector MV detected by the
motion vector detection unit lo8 and information indicating the
coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection unit lo9. The
bit stream Bs corresponding to the target bock includes the
motion vector MV corresponding to the target block, and the
information indicating the coding mode Ms.
The selection switch 111 has an input terminal Ta and two
output terminals Tbl and Tb2, and the input terminal Ta is
connected to one of the output terminals Tbl and Tb2 according to
the switch control signal Cs2. The selection switch—112-has -two
input terminals Tcl and Tc2 and an output terminal Td, and the
output terminal Td is connected to one of the input terminals Tcl
and Tc2 according to the switch control signal Cs2. Further, in
the selection switch 111, the image data Md outputted from, the
frame memory lo1 is applied to the input terminal Ta1, and the
image data Md is output through one output terminal Tbl to the
input terminal Tcl of the selection switch 1 2 while the image
data Md is output through the other output terminal Tb2 to the
difference calculation unit lo2. In the selection switch 112,
the image data Md from the frame memory lo1 is applied to one
input terminal Tcl while the difference data PEd obtained in the
difference calculation unit lo2 is applied to the other input
terminal Tc2, and either the image data Md or the difference data
PEd is output through the output terminal Td to the prediction
error coding unit lo3.
Next, the operation will be described.
In the following descriptions of the respective embodiments,
a picture (forward picture) whose display time is earlier than
that of a picture to be coded (target picture) is referred to as
a picture which is positioned timewise forward the target picture,
or simply as a picture which is positioned forward the target
picture. Further, a picture (backward picture) whose display
time is later than that of the target picture is referred to as a
picture which is positioned timewise backward the target picture,
or simply as a picture which is positioned backward the target
picture. Furthermore, in the following descriptions of the
respective embodiments, "timewise" means "in order of display
times" unless otherwise specified.
In the moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the
first embodiment, the input image data Id is input to the frame
memory lo1 in units of pictures according to order of display
times.
Figure 2(a) is a diagram for explaining the order in which
the image data of the respective pictures are stored in the frame
memory lo1. In figure 2(a), vertical lines indicate pictures.
As for a symbol at the lower right side of each picture, the
first letter of alphabet indicates a picture type (I, P, or B),
and the following numeral indicates a picture number in time
order. That is, pictures PI1, B2, B3, P4, B5, B6, P7, B8, B9, Pl0,
Bll, B12, P13, B14, B15, and P16 shown in figure 2(a) correspond
to the pictures F(k+3) ~F(k+18) [k=-2] shown in figure 45, and
these pictures are arranged in display order, i.e., from one
having earlier display time along the display time axis X.
The image data of the pictures are stored in the frame
memory lo1 in order of picture display. The image data of the
pictures stored in che frame memory lo1, which are arranged in
order of picture display, are rearranged in order of picture
coding. Hereinafter, for simplification, the image data of each
picture is simply referred to as a picture.
To be specific, the process of rearranging the pictures
stored in the frame memory lo1 from input order (display order)
to coding order is carried out on the basis of the relationships
between target pictures and reference pictures in inter-picture
-predictive coding-. That is, this, rearrangement, process.-is.
carried out such that a second picture to be used as a reference
picture when coding a first picture is coded prior to the first
picture.
When coding a P picture, three pictures (I or P pictures)
which are positioned close to and timewise forward the target
picture to be coded (P picture) are used as candidate pictures
for a reference picture. In predictive coding for a block in the
P picture, one of the three candidate pictures at maximum is
referred to.
- Further, when coding a B picture, two pictures (I or P
pictures) which are positioned close to and timewise forward the
target picture (B picture), a B picture which is positioned
closest to and timewise forward the target picture, and an I or P
picture which is positioned timewise backward the target picture,
are used as candidate pictures for a reference picture. In
predictive coding for a block in the B picture, two of the four
candidate pictures at maximum is referred to.
To be specific, the correspondences between the pictures Plo,
Bll, B12, and P13, and the candidate pictures for reference
pictures corresponding to the respective pictures are shown by
arrows in figure 2(a), That is, when coding the P picture Plo,
the pictures P1, P4, and P7 are used as candidate pictures for a
reference picture. When coding the P picture P13, the pictures
P4, P7, and Plo are used as candidate pictures for a reference
picture. Further, when coding the B picture Bll, the pictures P7,
B9, Plo, and P13 are used as candidate pictures for a reference
picture. When coding the B picture B12, the pictures P7, Plo,
Bll, and P13 are used as candidate pictures for a reference
picture.
Figure 2(b) shows the pictures in coding order, which are
obtained by rearranging the pictures Pl~P16 shown in figure 2(a)
from display order to coding order. After the rearrangement, as
shown in figure 2(b), the pictures shown in figure 2(a) are
arranged from one having earlier coding time on the time axis Y
indicating the coding times (coding time axis), i.e., the
pictures are arranged in order of P4, B2, B3, P7, B5, B6, Plo, B8,
B9, P13, Bll, B12, and P16.
The data of the pictures rearranged in the frame memory lo1
are successively read out, for each predetermined data processing
unit, from one having earlier coding time. In this first
embodiment, the predetermined data processing unit is a data unit
for which motion compensation is carried out and, more
specifically, it is a rectangle image space (macroblock) in which
16 pixels are arranged in both the horizontal direction and the
vertical direction. In the following description, a macroblock
is also referred to simply as a block.
Hereinafter, the coding processes for the pictures P13, Bll,
and B12 will be described in this order.

Initially, the coding process for the picture P13..will be.
described.
Since the picture P13 to be coded (target picture) is a P
picture, as inter-picture predictive coding for a target block in
the picture P13, one-directional inter-picture predictive coding
in which one already-coded picture that is positioned timewise
forward or backward the target picture is referred to is carried
out.
In the following description, a P picture that is positioned
forward the target picture is used as a reference picture.
In this case, inter-picture predictive coding using forward
reference is carried out as a coding process for the picture P13.
Further, B pictures are not used as reference pictures in coding
P pictures. Accordingly, three forward I or P pictures are used
as candidate pictures for a reference picture, more specifically,
the pictures P4, P7, and Plo are used. Coding of these candidate
pictures has already been completed when the target picture is
coded, and the data (decoded data) Dd corresponding to the
candidate pictures are stored in the frame memory lo1.
When coding a P picture, the coding control unit 1lo
controls the respective switches with the switch control signal
Csl so that the switches 113, 114, and 115 are in their ON states.
The image data Md corresponding to the macroblock in the picture
P13, which is read from the frame memory lo1, is input to the
motion vector detection unit lo8, the mode selection unit lo9,
and the difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects the motion
vector MV of the macroblock in the picture P13, using the coded
image data Rd of the pictures P4, P7, and Plo stored in the frame
memory 117. Then, the detected motion vector MV is output to the
mode selection unit lo9. The mode selection unit lo9 determines
a coding mode for the block in the picture P13, using the motion
vector detected by the motion vector detection unit lo8. The
coding mode indicates a method for coding the block. For example,
in the case of coding a P picture, as described above, a coding
mode is selected from among the intra-picture coding, the inter-
picture predictive coding using a motion vector, and the inter-
picture predictive coding using no motion vector (i.e., motion is
regarded as 0) . In determining a coding mode, generally, a
coding mode which minimizes coding error when a predetermined
amount of bits is given to the block as an amount of codes, is
selected. In this case, when inter-picture predictive coding is
selected, a most suitable picture is selected as a reference
picture from among the pictures P4, P7, and Plo.
The coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection unit lo9
is output to the bit stream generation unit lo4. Further, when
the determined coding mode Ms is the coding mode which refers to
a forward picture, a vector (forward motion vector) MVp that is
obtained by motion detection with reference to the forward
picture as well as information Rp indicating which one of the
pictures -P4, P7, and Plo. is referred to when detecting the motion,
vector, are also output to the bit stream generation unit lo4.
When the coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection
unit lo9 is the inter-picture predictive coding mode, the motion
vector MVp to be used in the inter-picture predictive coding, and
information Rp indicating which one of the pictures P4, P7, and
Plo is referred to when detecting the motion vector, are stored
in the motion vector storage unit 116.
Further, the mode selection unit lo9 performs motion
compensation according to the coding mode determined for the
target block, using the motion vectors corresponding to the
reference picture and the target block. Then, prediction data Pd
for the target block, which is obtained by the motion
compensation, is output to the difference calculation unit lo2
and the addition unit lo6.
However, when the intra-picture coding mode is selected, the
mode selection unit lo9 does not generate prediction data Pd.
Further, when the intra-picture coding mode is selected, the
switch 111 is controlled so that the input terminal Ta is
connected to the output terminal Tbl, and the switch 112 is
controlled so that the output terminal Td is connected to the
input terminal Tcl. On the other hand, when the inter-picture
predictive coding is selected, the switch 111 is controlled so
that the -input terminal Ta is connected to the output terminal
Tb2, and the switch 112 is controlled so that the output terminal
Td is connected to. the input terminal Tc2.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where the
inter-picture predictive coding mode is selected as the coding
mode Ms.
The difference calculation unit lo2 is supplied with the
image data Md of the target block in the picture P13, and the
corresponding prediction data Pd from the mode selection unit lo9.
The difference calculation unit lo2 calculates difference data
between the image data of the block in the picture P13 and the
corresponding predictive data Pd, and outputs the difference data
as prediction error data PEd.
The prediction error data PEd is input to the prediction
error coding unit lo3. The prediction error coding unit lo3
subjects the inputted prediction error data PEd to coding
processes such as frequency conversion and quantization to
generate coded data Ed. The processes such as frequency
conversion and quantization are carried out in units of data
corresponding to a rectangle image space (sub-block) in which
eight pixels are arranged in both the horizontal direction and
the vertical direction.
The coded data Ed outputted from the prediction error coding
unit lo3 is input to the bit stream generation unit lo4 and the
prediction error decoding unit lo5.
The bit stream generation unit lo4 generates a bit stream by
subjecting the inputted coded data Ed to variable-length coding.
Further/ the bit stream generation-unit lo4 adds, to the hit
stream, information such as the motion vector MVp and the coding
mode Ms, header information supplied from the coding control unit
1lo, and the like, thereby generating a bit stream Bs.
When the coding mode is one performing forward reference,
information (reference picture information) Rp indicating which
one of the pictures P4, P7, and Plo is referred to when detecting
the forward motion vector is also added to the bit stream.
A
Next, a description will be given of a method for managing
the frame memory, and information indicating a reference picture
among candidate pictures (reference picture information).
Figure 3 is a diagram illustrating how the pictures stored
in the reference picture memory (frame memory) 117 change with
time. Management of this frame memory 117 is carried out
according to the memory control signal Cd2 from the coding
control unit 1lo. Further, the frame memory 117 has memory areas
(#1)~(#5) for five pictures. Each memory area can hold image
data corresponding to one picture. However, each memory area is
not necessarily an area in one frame memory, it may be one memory.
Initially, a method for managing the frame memory (reference
picture memory) will be described.
When coding of a picture P13 is started, pictures B8, P4, P7,
Plo, and B9 are stored in the respective memory areas (#1)~(#5)
in the frame memory 117, respectively. Although the picture B9
is not used for coding of the picture P13, the picture B9 is
stored in the frame memory 117 because it is used for coding of
the picture Bll. The picture P13 is coded using the pictures P4,
P7, and Plo as candidate pictures for a reference picture. The
coded picture P13 is stored in the memory area. (#1) where the
picture P8 had been stored. The reason is as follows. Although
the pictures P4, P7, Plo, and B9 are used as candidate pictures
for a reference picture when coding the picture P13 and the
following pictures, the picture B8 is not used as a reference
picture when coding these pictures. In figure 3, each circled
picture is a picture (target picture) which is finally stored in
the frame memory 117 when coding of the target picture has
completed.
Next, a description will be given of a method for assigning
a specific reference picture index as reference picture
information, to each candidate picture.
The reference picture index is information indicating which
one of plural candidate pictures for a reference picture is used
as a reference picture when coding each block. In other words,
the reference picture index is information indicating which one
of the candidate pictures P4, P7, and Plo for a reference picture
is used when detecting the motion vector of the target block in
the target picture (picture P13). As for assignment of reference
picture indices, a method of successively assigning the indices
to the respective candidate pictures, starting from a candidate
picture that is timewise closest to the target picture.
To be specific, when the picture Plo is designated as a
reference picture in coding the target block in the target
picture pl3, information indicating that a candidate picture just
previous to the target picture P13 is designated as a reference
picture (reference picture index [0]) is added into the bit
stream of the target picture P13. When the picture P7 is
referred to in coding the block in the target picture P13,
information indicating that a candidate picture two-pictures
previous to the target picture P13 is designated as a reference
picture (reference picture index [1]) is added into the bit
stream of the target picture P13. When the picture P4 is
referred to in coding the block in the target picture P13,
information indicating that a candidate picture three-pictures
previous to the target picture P13 is designated as a reference
picture (reference picture index [2]) is added into the bit
stream of the target picture P13.
In figure 3, a picture that is assigned a code [b] as
reference picture information will be a candidate for a backward
reference picture when coding the target picture.
(Coding Process for Picture Bll)
Next, the coding process for the picture Bll will be
described.
Since the picture to be coded (target picture) is the
picture Bll, inter-picture predictive coding to be performed for
a target block in the picture Bll is bidirectional inter-picture
predictive coding in which two already-coded pictures that are
timewise forward or backward the target picture are referred to.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where one
picture (I picture, P picture or B picture) ositioned forward
the target picture and one picture (I picture or P picture)
positioned backward the target picture are used as reference
pictures.
That is, in this case, as forward reference pictures, two
pictures (I or P pictures) positioned timewise close to the
target picture (picture Bll) and a B picture positioned timewise
closest to the target picture are used. Further, as a backward
reference picture, an I or P picture positioned timewise closest
to the target picture is used. Accordingly, in this case,
candidate pictures for a reference picture for the picture Bll
are the pictures P7, B9, and Plo (forward pictures) and the
picture P 13 (backward picture).
In coding a B picture to be used as a reference picture when
coding another picture, the coding control unit 1lo controls the
respective switches with the switch control signal Csl so that
the switches 113, 114, and 115 are turned ON. Since the picture
Bll is to be used as a reference picture when coding another
picture, the coding control unit 1lo controls the respective
switches with the switch control signal Cs2 so that the switches
113, 114, and 115 are turned ON. The image data Md corresponding
to the block in the picture Bll, which is read from the frame
memory lo1, is input to the motion vector detection unit lo8, the
mode selection unit lo9, and the difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector of the target block in
the picture Bll. In detecting these motion vectors, the pictures
P7, B9, and Plo stored in the frame memory 117 are used as
forward reference pictures, and the picture P13 is used as a
backward reference picture. Detection of a backward motion
vector is carried out based on the picture P13 as a backward
reference picture. The motion vectors detected by the motion
vector detection unit lo8 are output to the mode selection unit
lo9.
The mode selection unit lo9 determines a coding mode for the
target block in the picture Bll, using the motion vectors
detected by the motion vector detection unit lo8. For example, a
coding mode for the B picture Bll is selected from among the
intra-picture coding mode, the inter-picture predictive coding
mode using a forward motion vector, the inter-picture predictive
coding mode using a backward motion picture, the inter-picture
predictive coding mode using bidirectional motion vectors, and
the direct mode. When the coding mode is inter-picture
predictive coding using a forward motion vector, a most suitable
picture is selected as a reference picture from among the
pictures P7, B9, and Plo.
Hereinafter, a process of coding the blocks in the picture
Bll by the direct mode will be described.
[First Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Figure 4(a) shows a first example of direct mode coding for
a block (target block) BLal in the picture (target picture) Bll.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base motion
vector) MVcl of a block (base block) BLbl which is included in
the picture (base picture) P3 3 as a reference picture positioned
backward the picture Bll and is located in the same position as
the target block BLal. The motion vector MVcl is a motion vector
which is used when coding the block BLbl in the picture P13, and
it is stored in the motion vector storage unit 116. This motion
vector MVcl is detected with reference to the picture Plo, and
indicates an area CRcl in the picture Plo, which area corresponds
to the block BLbl. The block BLal is subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, using motion vectors MVdl and MVel which are
parallel to the motion vector MVcl, and the pictures Plo and P13
which are selected as reference pictures. The motion vectors
MVdl and MVel which are used in coding the block BLal are a
forward motion vector indicating an area CRdl in the picture Plo,
corresponding to the block BLal, and a backward motion vector
indicating an area CRel in the picture P13, corresponding to the
block BLal, respectively.
In this case, the magnitude MVF of the forward motion vector
MVdl and the magnitude MVB of the backward motion vector MVel are
obtained by formulae (1) and (2) as follows.
MVF = MVRXTRF/TRD ...(1)
MVB = (TRB-TRD) XMVR/TRD ...(2)
where MVF and MVB represent the horizontal component and the
vertical component of the motion victors, respectively.
Further, MVR is the magnitude of the motion vector MVcl (a
direction on a two-dimensional space is expressed by a sign), and
TRD is the time-basis distance between the backward reference
picture (picture P13) for the target picture (picture Bll) and
the picture Plo which is referred to when coding the block BLbl
in the backward reference picture (picture P13). Further, TRF is
the time-basis distance between the target picture (picture Bll)
and the just-previous reference picture (picture Plo), and TRB is
the time-basis distance between the target picture (picture Bll)
and the picture Plo which is referred to when coding the block
BLbl in the backward reference picture (picture P13).
[Second Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a second example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 4(b) shows a second example of a process for coding a
block (target block) BLa2 in the picture (target picture) Bll by
the direct mode.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base
motion vector) MVf2 of a block (base block) BLb2 which is
included in the picture (base picture) P13 as a reference picture
positioned backward the picture Bll and is located in the same
position as the target block BLa2. The motion vector MVf2 is a
motion vector which is used when coding the block BLb2, and it is
stored in the motion vector storage unit 116. This motion vector
MVf2 is detected with reference to the picture P7, and indicates
an area CRf2 in the picture P7, which area corresponds to the
block BLb2. The block BLa2 is subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, using motion vectors MVg2 and MVh2 which are
parallel to the motion vector MVf2, and the pictures Plo and P13
which are selected as reference pictures. The motion vectors
MVg2 and MVh2 which are used in coding the block BLa2 are a
forward motion vector indicating an area CRg2 in the picture Plo,
corresponding to the block BLa2, and a backward motion vector
indicating an area CRh2 in the picture P13, corresponding to the
block BLa2, respectively.
In this case, the magnitudes MVF and MVB of the motion
vectors MVg2 and MVh2 are obtained by the above-described
formulae (1) and (2), respectively.
As described above, in the direct mode, the motion vector
MVf2 of the block BLb2, which is included in the picture to be
used as a backward reference picture when coding the target block
BLa2 and is located in relatively the same position as the target
block, is scaled, thereby obtaining the forward motion vector
MVg2 and the backward motion vector MVh2 for the target block.
Therefore, when the direct mode is selected, it is not necessary
to send information of the motion vector of the target block.
Furthermore, since the already-coded picture which is positioned
timewise closest to the target picture is used as a forward
reference picture, prediction efficiency can be improved.
[Third Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a third example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 5(a) shows a third example of a process of coding a
block (target block) BLa3 in the picture (target picture) Bll by
the direct mode.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base
motion vector) MVc3 of a block (base block) BLb3 which is
included in the picture (base picture) P13 that is a backward
reference picture for the picture Bll and is located in the same
position as the target block BLa3. The motion vector MVc3 is a
motion vector which is used when coding the block BLb3, and it is
stored in the motion vector storage unit 116. This motion vector
MVc3 is detected with reference to the picture P7, and indicates
an area CRc3 in the picture P7, which area corresponds to the
block BLb3. The block BLa3 is subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, on the basis of motion vectors MVd3 and MVe3
which are parallel to the motion vector MVc3, the picture which
is referred to when coding the block BLb3 (the picture P7
selected as a forward reference picture), and the picture P13 as
a backward reference picture. In this case, the motion vectors
MVd3 and MVe3 which are used in coding the block BLa3 are a
forward motion vector indicating an area CRd3 in the picture P7,
corresponding to the block BLa3, and a backward motion vector
indicating an area CRe3 in the picture P13, corresponding to the
block BLa3, respectivel;, .
The magnitudes MVF and MVB of the motion vectors MVd3 and
MVe3 are obtained by the following formula (3) and the above-
described formula (2), respectively.
MVF = MVRXTRB/TRD ...(3)
where MVR is the magnitude of the motion vector MVc3.
As described above, in the direct mode coding shown in
figure 5(a), the motion vector MVc3 of the block BLb3, which is
included in the picture to be used as a backward reference
picture when coding the target block and is located in relatively
the same position as the target block, is scaled, thereby
obtaining the forward motion vector MVd3 and the backward motion
vector MVe4 for the target block. Therefore, when the direct
mode is selected, it is not necessary to send information of the
motion vector of the target block.
When the picture P13 to be referred to in coding the block
BLb3 has already been deleted from the frame memory 117, the
forward reference picture Plo that is timewise closest to the
target picture is used as a forward reference picture in the
direct mode. The direct mode coding in this case is identical to
that shown in figure 4(a) (first example).
[Fourth Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a fourth example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 5(b) shows a fourth example of a process of coding a
block (target block) BLa4 in the picture (target picture) Bll by
the direct mode.
In this case, the target block BLa4 is subjected to
bidirectional predictive coding with a motion vector being 0, on
the basis of the closest picture Plo that is selected as a
forward reference picture, and the picture P13 as a backward
reference picture. That is, motion vectors MVf4 and MVh4 to be
used for coding the block BLa4 are a motion vector indicating an
area (block) CRf4 that is included in the picture Plo and is
located in relatively the same position as the target block BLa4,
and a motion vector indicating an area (block) CRh4 that is
included in the picture P13 and is located in relatively the same
position as the target block BLa4, respectively.
As described above, in the direct mode coding shown in
figure 5(b), since the motion vector of the target block is
forcefully set to 0, when the direct mode is selected, it is not
necessary to send information of the motion vector of the target
block, and scaling of the motion vector becomes unnecessary,
resulting in a reduction in complexity of signal processing.
This method is applicable to, for example, a case where a block
which is included in the picture P13 as a backward reference
picture of the picture Bll and is located in the same position as
the block BLa4 is a block having no motion vector like an intra-
frame-coded block. Accordingly, even when a block which is
included in the backward reference picture and is located in the
same position as the target block is coded without a motion
vector, coding efficiency can be enhanced using the direct mode.
The above-mentioned direct mode processing (first to fourth
examples) is applicable not only when the interval of picture
display times is constant but also when the interval of picture
display times is variable.
[Fifth Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, direct mode predictive coding to be performed when the
interval of picture display times is variable will be described
as a fifth example of direct mode coding.
Figure 6(a) is a diagram for explaining a fifth example of a
direct mode coding, wherein the direct mode predictive coding
(second example) is applied to the case where the picture display
interval is variable.
In this case, bidirectional predictive coding for a targst
block BLa5 in the target picture Bll is carried out by using a
motion vector (base motion vector) MVf5 of a block (base block)
BLb5 which is included in the picture (base picture) P13 as a
reference picture positioned backward the picture Bll and is
located in the same position as the target block BLa5, in the
same manner as the direct mode predictive coding (second example)
shown in figure 4(b). The motion vector MVf5 is a motion vector
which is used when coding the block BLb5 in the picture P13, and
it indicates an area CRf5 in the picture P7, which area
corresponds to the block BLb5. Further, motion vectors MVg5 and
MVh5 corresponding to the target block are parallel to the motion
vector MVf5. Further, these motion vectors MVg5 and MVh5 are a
forward motion vector indicating an area CRg5 in the picture Plo,
corresponding to the block BLa5, and a backward motion vector
indicating an area CRh5 in the picture P13, corresponding to the
block BLa5, respectively.
Also in this case, the magnitudes MVF and MVB of the motion
vectors MVg5 and MVh5 can be obtained by the above-described
formulae (1) and (2), respectively, as in the direct mode
processing of the second example.
[Process of Skipping Specific Block]
Next, a description will be given of direct mode coding
where a specific block is treated as a skip block.
When difference data corresponding to a target block becomes
zero in direct mode coding, the prediction error coding unit lo3
does not generate coded data corresponding to the target block,
and the bit stream generation unit lo4 does not output a bit
stream corresponding to the target block. Thus, a block whose
difference data becomes zero is treated as a skip block.
Hereinafter, a case where a specific block is treated as a
skip block will be described.
Figure 6(b) shows a specific picture F as a component of a
moving picture.
In this picture F, among adjacent blocks MB (r-1) ~MB(r+3) ,
the values of difference data (prediction error data)
corresponding to blocks MB(r-l), MB(r), and MB(r+3) are non-zero,
but the values of difference data (prediction error data)
corresponding to blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) which are positioned
between the block MB(r) and the block MB(r+3), are zero.
In this case, the blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) are treated as
skip blocks in the direct mode, and a bit stream Bs corresponding
to a moving picture does not include bit streams corresponding to
the blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) .
Figure 6(c) is a diagram for explaining a stream structure
in the case where the blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) are treated as
skip blocks, in which portions of the bit stream Bs corresponding
to the blocks MB(r) and MB(r+3) are shown.
Between a bit stream Bmb(r) corresponding to the block MB(r)
and a bit stream Bmb(r+3) corresponding to the block MB(r+3), a
skip identifier Sf(Sk:2) indicating that there are two blocks
regarded as skip blocks between these blocks is placed. Further,
between a bit stream Bmb(r-l) corresponding to the block MB(r-1)
and the bit stream Bmb(r) corresponding to the block MB(r), a
skip identifier Sf(Sk:0) indicating that there is no block
regarded as a skip block between these blocks is placed.
The bit stream Bmb(r) corresponding to the block MB(r) is
composed of a header section Hmb and a data section Dmb, and the
data section Drab includes coded image data corresponding to this
block. Further, the header section Hmb includes a mode flag Fm
indicating a macroblock type, i.e., a coding mode in which this
block is coded, reference picture information Rp indicating a
picture which is referred to in coding this block, and
information Bmvf and Bmvb indicating motion vectors which are
used in coding this block. This block MB(r) is coded by
bidirectional predictive coding, and information Bmvf and Bmvb of
the motion vectors indicate the values of a forward motion vector
and a backward motion vector which are used in the bidirectional
predictive coding, respectively. Further, bit streams
corresponding to other blocks, such as a bit stream Bmb(r+3)
corresponding to the block MB(r+3), have the same structure as
that of the bit stream Bmb(r) corresponding to the block MB(r) .
As described above, in the direct more, the amount of codes
can be reduced by treating a block whose difference data becomes
zero, as a skip block, i.e., by skipping, in the bit stream, the
information corresponding to this block together with the mode
information.
Whether a block is skipped or not can be detected from the
skip identifier Sf that is placed just before the bit stream of
each block. Further, whether a block is skipped or not can be
known from block number information or the like, that is
described in the bit stream corresponding to each block.
Furthermore, in the direct mode processing shown in figure
4(a) (first example), the direct mode processing shown in figure
4(b) (second example), and the direction mode processing shown in
figure 5(a) (third example), all of blocks whose difference data
become zero are not necessarily treated as skip blocks. That is,
a target block is subjected to bidirectional prediction using a
picture that is positioned just previous to the target picture as
a forward reference picture, and a motion vector whose magnitude
is zero, and only when the difference data of the target block
becomes zero, this target block may be treated as a skip block.
By the way, selection of a coding mode for a target block is
generally carried out so as to minimize a coding error
corresponding to a predetermined amount of bits. The coding mode
determined by the mode selection unit lo9 is output to the bit
stream generation unit lo4. Further, prediction data that is
obtained from the reference picture according to the coding mode
determined in the mode selection unit lo9 is output to the
difference calculation unit lo2 and the addition unit lo6.
However, when intra-picture coding is selected, no prediction
data is outputted. Further, when the mode selection unit lo9
selects intra-picture coding, the switch 111 is controlled such
that the input terminal Ta is connected to the output terminal
Tbl, and the switch 112 is controlled such that the output
terminal Td is connected to the input terminal Tcl. When inter-
picture predictive coding is selected, the switch 111 is
controlled such that the input terminal Ta is connected to the
output terminal Tb2, and the switch 112 is controlled such that
the output terminal Td is connected to the input terminal Tc2.
Hereinafter/ a description will be given of the operation of
the moving picture coding apparatus lo in the case where the mode
selection unit lo9 selects inter-picture predictive coding.
The difference calculation unit lo2 receives the prediction
data Pd outputted from the mode selection unit lo9. The
difference calculation unit lo2 calculates difference data
between image data corresponding to a target block in the picture
Bll and the prediction data, and outputs the difference data as
prediction error data PEd. The prediction error data PEd is
input to the prediction error coding unit lo3. The prediction
error coding unit lo3 subjects the inputted prediction error data
PEd to coding processes/ such as frequency conversion and
quantization, thereby generating coded data Ed. The coded data
Ed outputted from the prediction error coding unit lo3 is input
to the bit stream generation unit lo4 and the prediction error
decoding unit lo4.
The bit stream generation unit lo4 subjects the inputted
coded data Ed to variable-length coding, and adds information
such as a motion vector and a coding mode to the coded data Ed to
generate a bit stream Bs, and outputs this bit stream Bs. When
the coding mode is one performing forward reference, information
(reference picture information) Rp indicating which one of the
pictures P7, B9, and Plo is referred to when detecting the
forward motion vector is also added to the bit stream Bs.
Next, a description will be given of a method for managing
the frame memory, and a method for assigning reference picture
information, in coding of the picture Bll, with reference to
figure 3.
When coding of the picture Bll is started, pictures P4, P7,
Plo, P13, and B9 are stored in the frame memory 117. The picture
Bll is subjected to bidirectional predictive coding, using the
pictures P7, B9, and Plo as candidate pictures for a forward
reference, and the picture P13 as a candidate picture for a
backward reference picture. The already-coded picture Bll is
stored in the memory area (#2) where the picture P4 had been
stored, because the picture P4 is not used as a reference picture
in coding the pictures from the picture Bll onward.
In coding the picture Bll, as a method for adding
information indicating which one of the pictures P7, B9, and Plo
is referred to in detecting the forward motion vector for the
target block (reference picture information;, there is employed a
method of successively assigning indices to the reference
candidate pictures, starting from one that is timewise closest to
the target picture (picture Bll). The reference candidate
pictures are pictures which can be selected as a reference
picture in coding the target picture.
To be specific, the picture Plo is assigned a reference
picture index [0], the picture B9 is assigned a reference picture
index [1], and the picture 7 is assigned a reference picture
index [2].
Accordingly, when the picture Plo is referred to in coding
the target picture, the reference picture index [0] is described
in the bit stream corresponding to the target block, as
information indicating that a candidate picture just previous to
the target picture is referred to. Likewise, when the picture B9
is referred to, the reference picture index [1] is described in
the bit stream corresponding to the target block, as information
indicating that a candidate picture two-pictures previous to the
target picture is referred to. Further, when the picture P7 is
referred to, the reference picture index [2] is described in the
bit stream corresponding to the target block, as information
indicating that a candidate picture three-pictures previous to
the target picture is referred to.
Assignment of codes to the reference picture indices [0],
[1], and [2] is carried out such that a code of a shorter length
is assigned to a smaller index.
Generally, a candidate picture that is timewise closer to a
target picture is more likely to be used as a reference picture.
Accordingly, by assigning the codes as described above, the total
amount of codes, each indicating which one of plural candidate
pictures is referred to in detecting the motion vector of the
target block, can be reduced.
The prediction error decoding unit lo5 subjects the inputted
coded data corresponding to the target block to decoding
processes such as inverse quantization and inverse frequency
conversion to generate decoded difference data PDd of the target
block. The decoded difference data PDd is added to the
prediction data Pd in the addition unit lo6, and decoded data Dd
of the target picture which is obtained by the addition is stored
in the frame memory 117.
The remaining blocks in the picture Bll are coded in like
manner as described above. When all of the blocks in the picture
Bll have been processed, coding of the picture B12 takes place.
(Coding Process for Picture B12>
Next, the coding process for the picture B12 will be
described.
Since the picture B12 is a B picture, inter-picture
predictive coding to be performed for a target block in the
picture B12 is bidirectional inter-picture predictive coding in
which two already-coded pictures that are positioned timewise
forward or backward the target picture are referred to.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where
inter-picture predictive coding using bidirectional reference is
performed as a coding process for the picture B12. Accordingly,
in this case, as candidates for a forward reference picture, two
I or P pictures positioned close to the target picture in order
of display times or a B picture positioned closest to the target
picture in order of display times are/is used. Further, as a
backward reference picture, an I or P picture positioned closest
to the target picture in order of display times is used.
Accordingly, reference candidate pictures for the picture B12 are
the pictures P7, Plo, and B11 (forward pictures) and the picture
P 13 (backward picture).
In coding a B picture to be used as a reference picture when
coding another picture, the coding control unit 1lo controls the
respective switches so that the switches 113, 114, and 115 are
turned ON. Since the picture B12 is to be used as a reference
picture in coding another picture, the coding control unit 1lo
controls the respective switches so that the switches 113, 114,
and 115 are turned ON. Accordingly, the image data corresponding
to the block in the picture B12, which is read from the frame
memory lo1, is input to the motion vector detection unit lo8, the
mode selection unit lo9, and the difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector corresponding to the
target block in the picture B12, using the pictures P7, Plo, and
Bll stored in the frame memory 117 as forward reference candidate
pictures, and the picture P13 stored in the frame memory 117 as a
backward reference picture.
The detected motion vectors are output to the mode selection
unit lo9.
The mode selection unit lo9 determines a coding mode for the
target block in the picture B12, using the motion vectors
detected by the motion vector detection unit lo8. For example, a
coding mode for the B picture B12 is selected from among the
intra-picture coding mode, the inter-picture predictive coding
mode using a forward motion vector, the inter-picture predict ve
coding mode using a backward motion picture, the inter-picture
predictive coding mode using bidirectional motion vectors, and
the direct mode. When the coding mode is inter-picture
predictive coding using a forward motion vector, a most suitable
picture is selected as a reference picture from among the
pictures P7, Plo, and Bll.
Hereinafter, a process of coding the blocks in the picture
B12 by the direct mode will be described.
[First Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Figure 7(a) shows a case where a block (target block) BLa5
in the picture (target picture) B12 is coded in the direct mode.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base motion
vector) MVc5 of a block (base block) BLb5 which is included in
the picture (base picture) P13 as a reference picture positioned
backward the picture B12 and is located in the same position as
the target block BLa5. The motion vector MVc5 is a motion vector
which is used when coding the block BLb5, and it is stored in the
motion vector storage unit 116. This motion vector MVc5
indicates an area CRc5 in the picture Plo, which area corresponds
to the block BLb5. The block BLa5 is subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, using motion vectors parallel to the motion
vector MVc5, on the basis of the pictures Bll and P13 as
reference pictures for the block BLa5. The motion vectors to be
used in coding the block BLa5 are a motion vector MVe5 indicating
an area CRd5 in the picture Bll, corresponding to the block BLa5,
and a motion vector MVe5 indicating an area CRe5 in the picture
P13, corresponding to the block BLa5. The magnitudes MVF and MVB
of the motion vectors MVd5 and MVe5 can be obtained by the above-
mentioned formulae (1) and (2), respectively.
[Second Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a second example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 7(b) shows a case where a block (target block) BLa6
in the picture (target picture) B12 is coded in the direct mode.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base motion
vector) MVc6 of a block (base block) BLb6 which is included in
the picture (base picture) P13 as a reference picture positioned
backward the picture B12 and is located in the same position as
the target block BLa6. The motion vector MVc6 is a motion vector
which is used when coding the block BLb6, and it is stored in the
motion vector storage unit 116. This motion vector MVc6
indicates an area CRc6 in the picture P7, which area corresponds
to the block BLb6. The block BLa6 is subjected to bidirectional
predictive coding, using motion vectors parallel to the motion
vector MVc6, on the basis of the pictures Bll and P13 as
reference pictures. The motion vectors to be used in coding the
block BLa6 are a motion vector MVg6 indicating an area CRg6 in
the picture Bll, corresponding to the block BLa6, and a motion
vector MVh6 indicating an area CRh6 in the picture P13,
corresponding to the block BLa6. The magnitudes MVF and MVB of
the motion vectors MVg6 and MVh6 can be obtained by the above-
mentioned formulae (1) and (2), respectively.
As described above, • in the direct mode, the motion vector
MVf6 of the block BLb6, which is included in the picture to be
referred to as a backward reference picture when coding the
target block BLa6 and is located in relatively the same position
as the target block, is scaled, thereby obtaining the forward
motion vector MVg6 and the backward motion vector MVh6
corresponding to the target block. Therefore, when the direct
mode is selected, it is not necessary to send information of the
motion vector of the target block. Furthermore, since the
already-coded picture which is positioned closest to the target
picture in order of display times is used as a forward reference
picture, prediction efficiency can be improved.
[Third Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a third example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 8(a) shows a third example of a process for coding a
block (target block) BLa7 in the picture (target picture) B12 by
the direct mode.
This direct mode coding utilizes a motion vector (base
motion vector) MVc7 of a block (base block) BLb7 which is
included in the picture (base picture)" P13 as a reference picture
positioned backward the picture B12 and is located in the same
position as the target block BLa7. The motion vectvjr MVc7 is a
motion vector which is used when coding the block BLb7, and it is
stored in the motion vector storage unit 116. This motion vector
MVc7 indicates an area CRc7 in the picture P7, which area
corresponds to the block BLb7. The block BLa7 is subjected to
bidirectional predictive coding, using motion vectors parallel to
the motion vector MVc7, the same picture as that referred to in
coding the block BLb7 (i.e., the picture P7) as a forward
reference picture), and the picture P13 as a backward reference
picture. The motion vectors to be used in coding the block BLa7
are a motion vector MVd7 indicating an area CRd7 in the picture
P7, corresponding to the block BLa7, and a motion vector MVe7
indicating an area CRe7 in the picture P13, corresponding to the
block BLa7.
The magnitudes MVF and MVB of the motion vectors MVd7 and
MVe7 can be obtained by the above-mentioned formulae (2) and (3),
respectively.
When the picture which is referred to when coding the block
BLb7 has already been deleted from the frame memory 117, a
forward reference picture that is timewise closest to the target
picture may be used as a forward reference picture in the direct
mode. The direct mode coding in this case is identical to that
described as the first example of direct mode coding.
As described above, in the direct mode coding shown in
figure 8(a), the motion vector MVf7 of the block BLb7, which is
included in the picture to be used as a backward reference
picture when coding the target block and is located in relatively
the same position as the target block, is scaled, thereby
obtaining the forward motion vector MVd7 and the backward motion
vector MVe7 corresponding to the target block. Therefore, when
the direct mode is selected, it is not necessary to send
information of the motion vector of the target block.
[Fourth Example of Direct Mode Coding]
Next, a fourth example of direct mode coding will be
described.
Figure 8(b) shows a fourth example of a process of coding a
block (target block) BLa8 in the picture (target picture) B12 by
the direct mode.
In this case, the target block BLa8 is subjected to
bidirectional predictive coding with a motion vector being zero,
on the basis of the closest picture Plo that is selected as a
forward reference picture, and the picture P13 as a backward
reference picture. That is, motion vectors MVf8 and MVh8 to be
used for coding the block BLa8 are a motion vector indicating an
area (block) CRf8 that is included in the picture Bll and is
located in relatively the same position as the target block BLa8,
and a motion vector indicating an area (block) CRh8 that is
included in the picture P13 and is located in relatively the_ same
position as the target block BLa8, respectively.
As described above, in the direct mode coding shown in
figure 8(b), the motion vector of the target block is forcefully
set to zero. Therefore, when the direct mode is selected, it is
not necessary to send information of the motion vector of the
target block, and scaling of the motion vector becomes
unnecessary, resulting in a reduction in complexity of signal
processing. This method is applicable to, for example, a case
where a block which is included in the picture P13 as a backward
reference picture of the picture B12 and is located in the same
position as the block BLa8 is a block having no motion vector
like an intra-frame-coded block. Accordingly, even when a block
which is included in the backward reference picture and is
located in the same position as the target block is coded without
a motion vector, coding efficiency can be enhanced using the
direct mode.
The above-mentioned direct mode processing for the picture
B12 (first to fourth examples) is applicable not only when the
interval of picture display times is constant but also when the
interval of picture display times is variable, as in the case of
the picture Bll shown in figure 6(a).
Furthermore, in direct mode coding for the picture B12, like
the direct mode coding for the picture Bll, when the difference
data corresponding to the target block becomes zero, the
prediction error coding unit lo3 does not generate coded data
corresponding to the target block, and the bit stream generation
unit lo4 does not output a bit stream corresponding to the target
block. Thus, a block whose difference data, becomes zero is
treated as a skip block, as in the case of the picture Bll shown
in figures 6(b) and 6(c).
Furthermore, in the direct mode processing shown in figure
7(a) (first example), the direct mode processing shown in figure
7(b) (second example), and the direction mode processing shown in
figure 8 (a) (third example), all of blocks whose difference data
become zero are not necessarily treated as skip blocks. That is,
a target block is subjected to bidirectional prediction using a
picture that is positioned just previous to the target picture as
a forward reference picture, and a motion vector whose magnitude
is zero, and only when the difference data of the target block
becomes zero, this target block may be treated as a skip block.
When the coding mode for the target block in the picture B12
is determined by the mode selection unit lo9, prediction data PEd
for the target block is generated and outputted to the difference
calculation unit lo2 and the addition unit lo6, as in the coding
process for the target block in the picture Bll. However, when
intra-picture coding is selected, no prediction data is output
from the mode selection unit lo9. Further, the switches 111 and
112 are controlled in like manner as described for coding of the
picture Bll, according to that either intra-picture coding or
inter-picture coding is selected as a coding mode by the -mode
selection unit lo9.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of the operation of
the moving picture coding apparatus lo in the case where the mode
selection unit lo9 selects inter-picture predictive coding when
coding the picture P12.
In -this case, the difference calculation unit lo2, the
prediction error coding unit lo3, the bit stream generation unit
lo4, the prediction error decoding unit lo5, the addition unit
lo6, and the frame memory 117 are operated in like manner as
described for the case where the mode selection unit lo9 selects
inter-picture predictive coding for coding the picture Pll.
In this case, however, since the candidate pictures for a
forward reference picture are different from those for coding the
picture Pll, when the coding mode for the target block is one
performing forward reference, reference picture information to be
added to the bit stream of the target block becomes information
indicating which one of the pictures P7, Plo, and Bll is referred
to in detecting the forward motion vector.
Further, a frame memory management method and a reference
picture information assignment method which are to be employed in
coding the picture B12 are identical to those employed in coding
the picture Bll shown in figure 3.
As described above, according to the first embodiment of the
invention, when coding a B picture (target picture), a B picture
is used as a candidate picture for a forward reference picture as
well as P pictures. Therefore, a forward picture positioned
closest to the target B picture can be used as a reference
picture for the target B picture, whereby prediction accuracy of
motion compensation for the B picture can be increased, resulting
in an increase in coding efficiency.
In this first embodiment, no B picture is used as a
reference picture in coding a P picture. Therefore, even when an
error occurs in a picture during decoding, recovery from the
error can be perfectly performed by resuming decoding from an I
or P picture next to the picture where the decoding error occurs.
However, the other effects obtained by the first embodiment are
not changed even when a B picture is used as a reference picture
in coding a P picture.
Further, since two P pictures and one B picture are used as
candidate pictures for a forward reference picture in coding a B
picture, the number of candidate pictures for a forward reference
picture for a B picture is not changed in comparison with the
conventional case where three P pictures are used as candidate
pictures for a forward reference picture for a B picture.
Therefore, it is possible to avoid an increase in the capacity of
the frame memory for holding reference candidate pictures and an
increase in processing amount for motion detection, which
increases are caused by the inclusion of the B picture in the
candidate pictures for a forward reference picture for a B
picture.
Further, in this first embodiment, information indicating
that a B picture is subjected to inter-picture prediction coding
with reference to a forward B picture, and information indicating
how many I or P pictures and how many B pictures are used as
candidate pictures for forward reference, are described as header
information of a bit stream to be generated. Therefore, it is
possible to know the capacity of a frame memory that is needed
when decoding the bit stream generated in the moving picture
coding apparatus.
Furthermore, when information such as a motion vector, a
coding mode, and the like is added to a bit stream, if the coding
mode is one performing forward reference, reference picture
information for identifying reference pictures, which is assigned
to candidate pictures to be referred to, is added to the bit
stream, and further, reference picture information assigned to a
candidate picture that is timewise closest to the target picture
is expressed with a code of a shorter code length, according to a
method of managing the frame memory for reference pictures.
Therefore, the total amount of codes expressing the reference
picture information can be reduced. Further, in managing the
frame memory, since the frame memory is managed regardless of the
picture type, the capacity of the frame memory can be minimized.
Moreover, in this first embodiment, when the frame memory
for reference pictures is managed with an area for P pictures and
an area for B pictures being separated from each other,
management of the frame memory is facilitated.
Further, when a block in a B picture is coded in the direct
mode, a picture that is positioned closest to this B picture in
order of display times is used as a forward reference picture,
whereby prediction efficiency in the direct mode for the B
picture car be improved.
Furthermore, when a block in a B picture is to be coded in
the direct mode, a picture that is forward referred to in coding
a backward reference picture is used as a forward reference
picture, whereby prediction efficiency in the direct mode for the
B picture can be improved.
Furthermore, when a block in a B picture is to be coded in
the direct mode, bidirectional prediction with a motion vector
being zero is carried out on the basis of a forward reference
picture and a backward reference picture, whereby scaling of the
motion vector in the direct mode becomes unnecessary, resulting
in a reduction in complexity of information processing. In this
case, even when a block which is included in the backward
reference picture and is located in the same position as the
target block is coded without a motion vector, coding efficiency
can be enhanced using the direct mode.
Furthermore, when a block in a B picture is to be coded in
the direct mode, if a prediction error with respect to the target
block becomes zero, information relating to the target block is
not described in the bit stream, whereby the amount of codes can
be reduced.
In this first embodiment, motion compensation is performed
in units of image spaces (macroblocks) each comprising 16 pixels
in the horizontal direction X 16 pixels in the vertical
direction, and coding of a prediction error image is performed in
units of image spaces (subblocks) each comprising 8 pixels in the
horizontal direction X 8 pixels in the vertical direction.
However, the number of pixels in each macroblock (subblock) in
motion compensation (coding of a prediction error image) may be
different from that described for the first embodiment.
Further, while in this first embodiment the number of
continuous B pictures is two, the number of continuous B pictures
may be three or more.
For example, the number of B pictures placed between an I
picture and a P picture or between two P pictures may be three or
four.
Further, in this first embodiment, a coding mode for a P
picture is selected from among intra-picture coding, inter-
picture predictive coding using a motion vector, and inter-
picture predictive coding using no motion vector, while a coding
mode for a B picture is selected from among the intra-picture
coding, the inter-picture predictive coding using a forward
motion vector, the inter-picture predictive coding using a
backward motion vector, the inter-picture predictive coding using
bidirectional motion vectors, and the direct mode. However, the
coding mode for a P picture or a B picture may be other than
those mentioned above.
For example, wher: the direct mode is not used as a coding
mode for a B picture, the motion vector storage unit 116 in the
moving picture coding apparatus lo is dispensed with.
Further, while in this first embodiment the picture Bll or
B12 as a B picture becomes a candidate picture for a reference
picture in coding another picture, it is not necessary to store a
B picture which is not to be used as a reference picture in
coding another picture, in the reference picture memory 117. In
this case, the coding control unit 1lo turns off the switches 114
and 115.
Further, while in this first embodiment three pictures are
used as candidate pictures for forward reference in coding a P
picture, the present invention is not restricted thereto. For
example, two pictures or four or more pictures may be used as
candidate pictures for forward reference in coding a P picture.
While in this first embodiment two P pictures and one B
picture are used as candidate pictures for forward reference in
coding a B picture, candidate pictures for forward reference in
coding a B picture are not restricted to those mentioned above.
For example, in coding a B picture, candidate pictures for
forward reference may be one P picture and two B pictures, or two
P pictures and two B pictures, or three pictures closest to the
target picture regardless of the picture type. Further, not a B
picture closest to the target picture on the display time axis
but a B picture apart from the target picture on the display time
axis may be used as a reference candidate picture.
Further, in a case where, in coding a block in a B picture,
one backward picture is referred to and only one picture closest
to the target picture is used as a candidate picture for forward
reference, it is not necessary to describe information indicating
which picture is referred to in coding the target block
(reference picture information) in the bit stream.
Further, in this first embodiment, when coding a B picture,
a B picture which is positioned forward a P picture that is
positioned forward and closest to the target picture is referred
to. However, in coding a B picture, a B picture which is
positioned forward an I or P picture that is forward and closest
to the target picture is not necessarily referred to. In this
case, when decoding a generated bit stream, even if an error
occurs during the decoding, recovery from the error can be
perfectly carried out by resuming decoding from an I or P picture
next to the picture where the error occurs.
For example, figures 9(a) and 9(b) are diagrams illustrating
a case where, when coding a B picture, a B picture which is
positioned forward a P picture that is positioned forward and
closest to the target picture, is referred to.
Figure 9(a) illustrates a picture arrangement, and
relationships between B pictures and reference pictures. To be
specific, in figure 9(a), two B pictures are positioned between
adjacent P pictures, and one P picture and two B pictures are
used as candidate pictures for a forward reference picture for a
B picture (i.e., a picture to be referred to when coding the
target B picture).
Figure 9(b) illustrates another picture arrangement, and
relationships between B pictures and reference pictures. To be
specific, in figure 9(b), four B pictures are positioned between
adjacent P pictures, and two pictures which are timewise closest
to the target picture, regardless of the picture type, are used
as candidate pictures for a forward reference picture for a B
picture.
Further, figures lo(a) and lo(b) are diagrams illustrating a
case where, when coding a B picture, a B picture which is
positioned forward an I or P picture that is positioned forward
and closest to the target picture, is not referred to.
To be specific, in figure lo(a), two B pictures are
positioned between adjacent P pictures, one P picture and one B
picture are used as candidate pictures for a forward reference
picture for a B picture, and a B picture which is positioned
forward a P picture that is positioned forward and closest to the
target picture is not used as a candidate picture for the forward
reference picture.
In figure lo(b), four B pictures are positioned between
adjacent P pictures, one P picture and one B picture are used as
candidate pictures for a forward reference picture for a B
picture, and a B picture which is positioned forward a P picture
that is positioned forward and closest to the target picture is
not used as a candidate picture for the forward reference picture.
Further, in this first embodiment, three pictures are used
as reference candidate pictures for a P picture, and two P
pictures and one B picture are used as candidate pictures for
forward reference for a B picture, i.e., the number of pictures
which can be referred to when coding a P picture is equal to the
number of pictures which can be forward referred to when coding a
B picture. However, the number of pictures which can be forward
referred to when coding a B picture may be less than the number
of pictures which can be referred to when coding a P picture.
Furthermore, while in this first embodiment four methods are
described as examples of direct mode coding, one of these four
methods or some of these four methods may be employed in the
direct mode. However, when employing plural methods, it is
desirable to describe information indicating the employed direct
modes (DM mode information) in the bit stream.
For example, when one method is used over the whole sequence,
DM mode information is described in the header of the whole
sequence. When one method is selected for each picture, DM mode
information is described in the header of the picture. When one
method is selected for each block, DM mode information is
described in the header of the block.
Although a picture or a block is described as a unit for
which one of the direct mode coding methods is selected, it may
be a GOP (Group of Pictures) comprising plural pictures, a GOB
(Group of Blocks) comprising plural blocks, or a slice which is
obtained by dividing a picture.
Further, while in this first embodiment a frame memory
managing method is described with reference to figure 3,
applicable frame memory managing methods are not restricted to
that shown in figure 3.
Hereinafter, other frame memory managing methods will be
described.
Initially, a first example of a frame memory managing method
in which all pictures used as reference pictures are separated
into P pictures and B pictures to be managed, will be described
with reference to figure 11.
In this case, the frame memory 117 has memory areas for six
pictures in total, i.e., P picture memory areas (#1)~(#4) and B
picture memory areas (#1) and (#2). A storage for each picture
is not restricted to an area in the frame memory, and it may be
one memory.
When coding of the picture P13 is started, pictures P1,P4,
P7, and Plo are stored in the P picture memory areas (#1)~(#4)
in the frame memory 117, respectively, and pictures B8 and B9 are
stored in the B picture memory areas (#1) and (#2), respectively.
The picture P13 is coded using the pictures P4, P7, and Plo as
candidate pictures for a reference picture, and the coded picture
P13 is stored in the area (#1) where the picture PI had been
stored, because the picture PI is not used as a reference picture
when coding the picture P13 and the subsequent pictures.
In this case, a method for assigning reference picture
information to the pictures P4, P7, and Plo as candidate pictures
is identical to the method shown in figure 3, that is, a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture that
is timewise closer to the target picture.
To be specific, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to
a forward candidate picture that is closest to the target picture,
a reference picture index [1] is assigned to a candidate picture
that is second-close to the target picture, and a reference
picture index [2] is assigned to a candidate picture that is most
distant from the target picture.
In figure 11, pictures to be used as backward reference
pictures are assigned codes [b] as reference picture information,
and pictures which are not used as reference pictures when coding
the target picture and the subsequent pictures are assigned codes
[n].
Next, a second example of a frame memory managing method in
which all pictures used as reference pictures are separated into
P pictures and B pictures to be managed, will be described with
reference to figure 12.
Since memory management in this second example is identical
to that in the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this second example, as a method for assigning re 'erence
picture indices, assignment of indices to the pictures stored in
the P picture memory areas is carried out with priority. However,
in coding the picture P 13, since no B pictures are used as
reference pictures, no indices are assigned to the B pictures.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to the
picture Plo, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture P7, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture P4.
Next, a third example of a frame memory managing method in
which all pictures used as reference pictures are separated into
P pictures and B pictures to be managed, will be described with
reference to figure 13.
Since memory management in this third example is identical
to that in the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this third example, as a method for assigning reference
picture indices, assignment of indices to the pictures stored in
the B picture memory areas is carried out with priority. However,
in coding the picture P 13, since no B pictures are used as
reference pictures, no indices are assigned to the B pictures.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to the
picture Plo, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the"
picture P7, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture P4.
Next, a fourth example of a frame memory managing method in
which all pictures used as reference pictures are separated into
P pictures and B pictures to be managed, will be described with
reference to figure 14.
Since memory management in this fourth example is identical
to that of the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this third example, as a method for assigning reference
picture indices, either the pictures stored in the P picture
memory area or the pictures stored in the B picture memory area
are selected for each target picture to be coded, and reference
picture indices are given to the selected pictures with priority.
To be specific, according to the type of a reference picture
that is timewise closest to the target picture, it is determined
that either the picture stored in the P picture memory area or
the picture stored in the B picture memory area should be given
priority in assigning reference picture-indices.
In coding the picture P13, since no B picture is used as a
reference picture, reference picture indices are assigned to the
pictures stored in the P picture memory area with priority.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to the
picture Plo, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture P7, and a 'reference picture index [2] is assigned to the'
picture P4. In this case, information indicating that the
reference picture indices are given to the pictures stored in the
P picture memory areas with priority, is described in the header
of each picture.
In the reference picture index assigning methods shown in
figures 3 and 11 to 14, the smaller the reference picture index
is, the shorter the length of a code indicating the reference
picture index is. Since, generally, a picture that is timewise
closer to the target picture is more likely to be used as a
reference picture-, the total amount of codes expressing the
reference picture indices can be reduced by determining the
lengths of the codes expressing the reference picture indices, as
mentioned above.
While the five methods shown in figures 3 and 11~14 are
described relating to frame memory management and reference
picture index assignment, one of these methods may be previously
selected for use. Further, some of these methods may be used by
switching them. In this case, however, it is desirable to
describe information about the methods being used, as header
information or the like.
Further, when information indicating that each P picture is
subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using three
reference candidate pictures is described as header information,
it is possible to know the capacity of a frame memory that is
needed in decoding the bit stream Bs generated in the moving
picture" coding apparatus lo according to the first embodiment.
These header information may be described in the header of the
whole sequence, the header of each GOP (Group of Pictures)
comprising plural pictures, or the header of each picture.
Subsequently, as a frame memory managing method and a
reference picture information assigning method to be used in
coding the picture Bll, methods other than that shown in figure 3
(i.e., methods of separating the reference candidate pictures
into P pictures and B pictures for management) will be described.
Initially, a description will be given of a first example of
a method for separating the reference candidate pictures into P
pictures and B pictures to be managed, with reference to figure
11.
When coding of the picture Bll is started, in the frame
memory 117, pictures P4, P7, Plo, and P13 are stored in the P
picture memory areas while pictures B8 and B9 are stored in the B
picture memory areas. The picture Pll is coded using the
pictures P7, B9, and Plo as candidate pictures for forward
reference and the picture P13 as a candidate picture for backward
reference, and then the coded picture Pll is stored in the area
where the picture P8 had been stored, because the picture P8 is
not used as a reference picture in coding the picture Pll and the
subsequent pictures.
In this case, as a method for assigning reference picture
information to each picture (i.e.", information indicating which
one of the reference candidate pictures P7, B9, and Plo is used
as a reference picture in detecting the forward motion vector) , a
method for assigning reference picture indices to the reference
candidate pictures, starting from one that is timewise closest to
the target picture, is used as described with respect to figure 3.
That is, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to a
candidate picture (picture Plo) that is just previous to the
target picture (picture Bll), a reference picture index [1] is
assigned to a candidate picture (picture B9) that is two-pictures
previous to the target picture, and a reference picture index [3]
is assigned to a candidate picture (picture 7) that is three-
pictures previous to the target picture.
Next, a second example of a frame memory managing method in
which reference candidate pictures are separated into P pictures
and B pictures to be managed in coding the picture Bll, will be
described with reference to figure 12.
Since memory management in this second example is identical
to that in the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this second example, as a method for assigning reference
picture indices, assignment of indices to the pictures stored in
the P picture memory areas is carried out with priority.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to the
picture Plo, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture P7, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture B9.
Next, a third example of a frame memory managing method in
which reference candidate pictures are separate ; into P pictures
and B pictures to be managed in coding the picture Bll, will be
described with reference to figure 13.
Since memory management in this third example is identical
to that in the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this third example, as a method for assigning reference
picture indices, assignment of indices to the pictures stored in
the B picture memory areas is carried out with priority.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to the
picture B9, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture Plo, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture P7.
Next, a fourth example of a frame memory managing method in
which reference candidate pictures are separated into P pictures
and B pictures to be managed in coding the picture Bll, will be
described with reference to figure 14.
Since memory management in this fourth example is identical
to that in the first example shown in figure 11, repeated
description is not necessary.
In this fourth example, as a method for assigning reference
picture indices, either the pictures stored in the P picture
memory areas or the pictures stored in the B picture memory areas
are selected for each target picture to be coded, and reference
picture indices are given to the selected pictures with priority.
To be rpecific, it is determined which one of the P picture
memory and the B picture memory should be assigned reference
picture indices, according to the type of the reference candidate
picture that is timewise closest to the target picture to be
coded.
In coding the picture Bll, since the forward reference
picture that is timewise closest to the target picture is the
picture Plo, reference picture indices are assigned to the
pictures stored in the P picture memory area with priority.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to
the picture Plo, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture P7, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture B9. In this case, information indicating that the
reference picture indices are given to the pictures stored in the
P picture memory areas with priority, is described in the header
of each picture.
In the methods of assigning reference picture indices when
coding the picture Bll (the five methods shown in figures 3 and
11 to 14), as in the case of coding the picture P13, the smaller
the reference picture index is, the shorter the length of a code
indicating the reference picture index is.
Further, in coding the B picture Bll, as in the case of
coding the P picture P13, one of the five methods may previously
be selected for use. Further, some of these methods may be used
by switching them. However, in the case where plural methods are
used by switching them, it is desirable that information about
the methods being used should be described as header information
or the like.
Further, by describing, as header information, information
indicating that a B picture is subjected to inter-picture
predictive coding using a forward B picture as a reference
candidate picture, and information indicating that candidate
pictures for forward reference, which are used in coding the B
picture, are two I or P pictures and one B picture, it is
possible to know the storage capacity of a frame memory that is
needed in decoding the bit stream generated in the moving picture
coding apparatus lo according to the first embodiment. These
header information may be described in the header of the whole
sequence, the header of each GOP (Group of Pictures) comprising
plural pictures, or the header of each picture.
Finally, as a frame memory managing method and a reference
picture information assigning method to be employed in coding the
picture B12, methods other than that shown in figure 3 (i.e.,
methods of separating reference candidate pictures into P
pictures and B pictures to be managed) will be described.
Since the first to third examples shown in figures 11 to 13
are identical to those in the case of coding the picture Bll,
repeated description is not necessary.
So, only a fourth example of managing reference candidate
pictures being separated into P pictures and B pictures will be
described for the picture B12, with reference to figure 14.
Since memory management in this fourth example is identical
to that in the first example in which reference candidate
pictures are separated into P pictures and B pictures to be
managed in coding the picture Bll, repeated description is not
necessary.
In this fourth example, as for a method of assigning, to
each picture, information indicating which of the reference
candidate pictures P7, Plo, and Bll is referred to in detecting
the forward motion vector, a method of determining, for each
picture to be coded, either the candidate pictures stored in the
P picture memory areas or the candidate pictures stored in the B
picture memory areas should be given priority is used.
To be specific, in coding the picture B12, which of the
candidate picture in the P picture memory area and that in the B
picture memory area should be assigned a reference picture index
with priority, is determined according to the type of the
reference picture that is timewise closest to the target picture.
In coding the picture B12, since the forward reference
candidate picture that is timewise closest to the target picture
(picture B12) is the picture Bll, the pictures stored in the B
picture memory areas are assigned indices with priority.
Accordingly, a reference picture index [0] is assigned to
the picture Bll, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to the
picture Plo, and a reference picture index [2] is assigned to the
picture P7. In this case, information indicating that assignment
of reference picture indices to the pictures in the B picture
memory areas takes priority is described in the header of each
picture.
Further, as in the case of coding the picture Bll, there are
described, as header information, that the B picture is subjected
to inter-picture predictive coding using also the forward B
picture as a reference candidate picture, and that the forward
reference candidate pictures used in coding the B picture are two
I or P pictures and one B picture.
Furthermore, in this first embodiment, the five examples of
frame memory managing methods (figures 3, 11~14) are described
with respect to the case where there are three reference
candidate pictures for a P picture, and there are two P pictures
and one B picture as forward reference candidate pictures for a B
picture. However, each of the five examples of frame memory
management methods may be applied to cases where the number of
reference candidate pictures is different from those mentioned
for the first embodiment. When the number of reference candidate
pictures differs from those of the first embodiment, the capacity
of the frame memory differs from that of the first embodiment.
Further, in this first embodiment, in the methods of
managing the frame memory in which reference candidate pictures
are separated into P pictures and B pictures (four examples shown
in figures 11~14), P pictures are stored in the P picture memory
areas while B pictures are stored in the B picture memory areas.
However, a short-term picture memory and a long-term picture
memory which are defined in H.263++ may be used as memory areas
where pictures are stored. For example, the short-term picture
memory and the long-term picture memory may be used as a P
picture memory area and a B picture memory area, respectively.
[Embodiment 2]
Hereinafter, a second embodiment of the present invention
will be described.
Figure 15 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus 20 according to a second embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 20 decodes the bit
stream Bs outputted from the moving picture coding apparatus lo
according to the first embodiment.
To be specific, the moving picture decoding apparatus 20
includes a bit stream analysis unit 201 for analyzing the bit
stream Bs to extract various kinds of data; a prediction error
decoding unit 202 for decoding coded data Ed outputted from the
bit stream analysis unit 201 to output prediction error data PDd;
and a mode decoding unit 223 for outputting a switch control
signal Cs on the basis of mode information (coding mode) Ms
relating to mode selection, which is extracted by the bit stream
analysis unit 20i.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 20 further includes a
reference picture memory 207 lor holding decoded image data Did,
and outputting the stored image data as reference data Rd or
output image data Od; a motion compensation decoding unit 205 for
generating prediction data Pd on the basis of the data (reference
image data) Rd that is read from the reference picture memory 207,
information of a motion vector MV that is extracted by the bit
stream analysis unit 201, and the coding mode Ms that is output
from the mode decoding unit 223; and an addition unit 208 for
adding the prediction data Pd to the output data PDd from the
prediction error decoding unit 202 to generate decoded data Ad.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 20 further includes a
memory control unit 204 for controlling the reference picture
memory 207 with a memory control signal Cm on the basis of header
information Ih that is extracted by the bit stream analysis unit
201; a selection switch 209 placed between the prediction error
decoding unit 202 and the addition unit 208; and a selection
switch 2lo placed between the addition unit 208 and the reference
picture memory 207.
The selection switch 201 has one input terminal Te and two
output terminals Tfl and Tf2, and the input terminal Te is
connected to one of the output terminals Tfl and Tf2, according
to the switch control signal Cs. The selection switch 2lo has
two input terminals Tgl and Tg2 and an output terminal Th, and
the output terminal Th is connected to one of the input terminals
Tgl and Tg2, according to the switch control signal Cs. Further,
in the selection switch 209, the output data PDd from the
prediction error decoding unit 202 is applied to the input
terminal Te, and the output data PDd from the prediction error
decoding unit 202 is output from one output terminal Tfl to the
input terminal Tgl of the selection switch 2lo while the output
data PDd is output from the other output terminal Tf2 to the
addition unit 208. In the selection switch 2lo, the output data
PDd from the prediction error decoding unit 202 is applied to one
input terminal Tgl while the output data Ad from the addition
unit 208 is input to the other input terminal Tgl, and either the
output data PDd or the output data Ad is output from the output
terminal Th to the reference picture memory 207 as decoded image
data Did.
Further, the moving picture decoding apparatus 20 includes a
motion vector storage unit 226 for holding the motion vector MV
from the motion compensation decoding unit 205, and outputting
the stored motion vector MV to the motion compensation decoding
unit 205.
Next, the operation will be described.
In the following description, a picture which is positioned
forward or backward a target picture to be decoded on a display
time axis is referred to as a picture which is timewise forward
or backward the target picture, or simply as a forward picture or
a backward picture.
The bit stream Bs generated in the moving picture coding
apparatus lo of the first embodiment is input to the moving
picture decoding apparatus 20 shown in figure 15. In this second
embodiment, a bit stream of a P picture is obtained by performing
inter-picture predictive coding with reference to one picture
selected from among three candidate pictures (I or P pictures)
which are positioned close to and timewise forward or backward
the P picture. Further, a bit stream of a B picture is obtained
by performing inter-picture predictive coding with reference to
two pictures selected from among four candidate pictures
positioned forward or backward the B picture (i.e., forward two I
or P pictures that are timewise closest to the target picture,
one B picture that is timewise closest to the target picture, and
an I or P picture that is positioned timewise backward the target
picture) . The four candidate pictures for the target B picture
include another B picture that is positioned timewise forward the
target B picture.
Further, which candidate pictures are referred to when
coding the target P picture or B picture may be described as
header information of the bit stream. Accordingly, it is
possible to know which pictures are referred to when coding the
target picture, by extracting the header information in the bit
stream analysis unit 201. This header information Ih is also
output to the memory control unit 204.
In this case, coded data corresponding to pictures in the
bit stream are arranged in coding order as shown in figure 16(a).
To be specific, the coded data of the pictures in the bit
stream Bs are arranged in the other of P4, B2, B3, P7, B5, B6,
Plo, B8, B9, P13, Bll, B12, P16, B14, and B15. In other words,
in this picture arrangement, the respective pictures are
successively arranged from one having earlier decoding time on a
decoding time axis Y that indicates decoding times Tdec of the
pictures (arrangement in decoding order).
Figure 16(b) shows an arrangement of pictures in which the
pictures arranged in decoding order are rearranged in display
order. That is, in figure 16(b), the pictures B2, B3, P4, B5, B6,
P7, B8, B9, Plo, Bll, B12, P13, B14, B15, and pl6 are
successively arranged from one having earlier display time on a
display time axis X that indicates display times Tdis of the
respective pictures (arrangement in display order).
Hereinafter, decoding processes for the pictures P13, Bll,
and B12 will be described in this order.
(Decoding Process for Picture P13>
The bit stream of the picture P13 is input to the bit stream
analysis unit 201. The bit stream analysis unit 201 extracts
various kinds of data from the inputted bit stream. The
respective data are as follows: information for performing mode
selection, i.e., information indicating a coding mode Ms
(hereinafter referred to simply as a coding mode); information
indicating a motion vector MV (hereinafter referred to simply as
a motion vector), header information, coded data (image
information), and the like. The extracted coding mode Ms is
output to the mode decoding unit 203. Further, the extracted
motion vector MV is output to the motion compensation decoding
unit 205. Furthermore, the prediction error coded data Ed
extracted by the bit stream analysis unit 201 is output to the
prediction error decoding unit 202.
The mode decoding unit 203 controls.the switches 209 and 2lo
on the basis of the coding mode Ms extracted from the bit stream.
When the coding mode indicates inter-picture coding, the switch
209 is controlled such that the input terminal Te is connected to
the output terminal Tfl, and the switch 2lo is controlled such
that the output terminal Th is connected to the input terminal
Tgl. Further, when the coding mode indicates inter-picture
prediction coding, the switch 209 is controlled such that the
input terminal Te is connected to the output terminal Tf2, and
the switch 2lo is controlled such that the output terminal Th i s
connected to the input terminal Tg2. Further, the mode decoding
unit 203 outputs the coding mode Ms to the motion compensation
decoding unit 205.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of the case where
the coding mode is inter-picture predictive coding.
The prediction error decoding unit 202 decodes the inputted
coded data Ed to generate prediction error data PDd. The
generated prediction error data PDd is output to the switch 209.
In this case, since the input terminal Te of the switch 209 is
connected to the output terminal Tf2, the prediction error data
PDd is output to the addition unit 208.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 performs motion
compensation on the basis of the motion vector MV and the
reference picture index Rp which are extracted by the analysis
unit 201, and obtains a motion compensation image from the
reference picture memory 207. This motion compensation image is
an image in an area in the reference picture, which area
corresponds to a target block to be decoded.
The picture P13 has been coded using the pictures P4, P7,
and Plo as candidate pictures for forward reference. When
decoding the picture P13, these candidate pictures have already
been decoded and are stored in the reference picture memory 207.
So, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 determines
which one of the pictures P4, P7, and Plo is used as a reference
picture when coding the target block of the picture P13. Then,
the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains an image in an
area in the reference picture, which area corresponds to the
target block, as a motion compensation image from the reference
picture memory 207 on the basis of the motion vector.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of how the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 207 change with time, and
a method for determining a reference picture, with reference to
figure 3.
The reference picture memory 207 is controlled by the memory
control unit 204 on the basis of information indicating what kind
of reference has been carried out to obtain P pictures and B
pictures (reference picture information), which information is
extracted from the header information of the bit stream.
As shown in figure 3, the reference picture memory 207 has
memory areas (#1)~(#5) for five pictures. When decoding of the
picture P13 is started, pictures B8, P4, P7, Plo, and B9 are
stored in the reference picture memory 207. The picture P13 is
decoded using the pictures P4, P7, and Plo as candidate pictures
for a reference picture. The decoded picture P13 is stored in
the memory area where the picture P8 had been stored. The reason
is as follows. While the pictures P4, P7, and Plo are used as
candidate pictures for a reference picture when decoding the
picture P13 and the following pictures, the picture B8 is not
used as a reference picture when decoding these pictures.
In figure 3, each circled picture is a picture (target
picture) which is finally stored in the reference picture memory
207 when decoding of the target picture has completed.
In this case, which picture has been referred to in
detecting the motion vector of the target block in the picture
P13 can be determined from the reference picture information that
is added to the motion vector.
ConcreTcly, the reference picture information is reference
picture indices, and the reference picture indices are assigned
to the reference candidate pictures for the picture P13. This
assignment of the reference picture indices to the reference
candidate pictures is carried out such that a smaller index is
assigned to a reference candidate picture that is timewise closer
to the target picture (picture P13).
To be specific, when the picture Plo has been referred to in
coding the target block of the picture P13, information
indicating that the candidate picture (picture Plo) just previous
to the target picture has been used as a reference picture (e.g.,
reference picture index [0]) is described in the bit stream of
the target block. Further, when the picture P7 has been referred
to in coding the target block, information indicating that the
candidate picture which is two-pictures previous to the target
picture has been used as a reference picture (e.g., reference
picture index [1]) is described in the bit stream of the target
block. Furthermore, when the picture P4 has been referred to in
coding the target block of the picture P13, information
indicating that the candidate picture which is three-pictures
previous to the target picture has been used as a reference
picture (e.g., reference picture index [2]) is described in the
bit stream of the target block.
It is possible to know which one of the candidate pictures
has been used as a reference picture in coding the target block,
by the reference picture index.
In this way, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains the motion compensation image, i.e., the image in the
area in the reference picture corresponding to the target block,
from the reference picture memory 207, according to the motion
vector and the reference picture information.
The motion compensation image thus generated is output to
the addition unit 208.
Further, when performing decoding of a P picture, the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 outputs the motion vector MV and
the reference picture information Rp to the motion vector storage
unit 226.
The addition unit 208 adds the prediction error data PDd and
the data (prediction data) Pd of the motion compensation image to
generate decoded data Ad. The decoded data Ad so generated is
output as decoded image data Did, through the switch 2lo to the
reference picture memory 207.
In this way, the blocks in the picture P13 are successively
decoded. When all of the blocks in the picture P13 have been
decoded, decoding of the picture Bll takes place.
(Decoding Process for Picture Bll)
Since the bit stream analysis unit 201, the mode decoding
unit 203, and the prediction error decoding unit 202 operate in
the same way as described for decoding of the picture P13,
repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates motion
compensation data from the inputted information such as the
motion vector. The bit stream analysis unit 201 outputs the
motion vector and the reference picture index to the motion
compensation decoding unit 205. The picture Pll is obtained by
predictive coding using the pictures P7, B9 and Plo as candidate
pictures for forward reference, and the picture P13 as a
candidate picture for backward reference. At decoding the target
picture, these reference candidate pictures have already been
decoded, and are stored in the reference picture memory 207.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of how the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 207 change with time, and
a method for determining a reference picture, with reference to
figure 3.
The reference picture memory 207 is controlled by the memory
control unit 204 on the basis of information Ih indicating what
kind of reference has been carried out in coding P pictures and B
pictures, which information is extracted from the header
information of the bit stream.
When decoding of the picture Pll is started, pictures P13,
P4, P7, Plo, and B9 are stored in the reference picture memory
207 as shown in figure 3. The picture Bll is decoded using the
pictures P7, B9, and Plo as candidate pictures for forward
reference, and the picture P13 as a backward reference picture.
The decoded picture Bll is stored in the memory area where the
picture P4 had been stored, because the picture P4 is not used as
a candidate for a reference picture when decoding the picture Bll
and the following pictures.
In this case, which candidate picture has been referred to
in detecting the forward motion vector can be determined from the
reference picture information added to the motion vector.
To be specific, when the picture Plo has been referred to in
coding the target block of the picture Bll, information
indicating that the candidate picture (picture Plo) just previous
to the target picture has been used as a reference picture (e.g.,
reference picture index [0]) is described in the bit stream of
the target block. Further, when the picture B9 has been referred
to in coding the target block, information indicating that the
candidate picture which is two-pictures previous to the target
picture has been used as a reference picture (e.g., reference
picture index [1]) is described in the bit stream of the target
block. Furthermore, when the picture P7 has been referred to in
coding the target block of the picture P13, information
indicating that the candidate picture which is three-pictures
previous to the target picture has been used as a reference
picture (e.g., reference picture index [2]) is described in the
bit stream of the target block.
Accordingly, it is possible to know which one of the
candidate pictures has been used as a reference picture in coding
the target block, from the reference picture index.
When the selected mode is bidirectional predictive coding,
the motion compensation decoding unit 205 determines which one of
the pictures P7, B9 and Plo has been used for forward reference,
from the reference picture index. Then, the motion compensation
decoding unit 205 obtains a forward motion compensation image
from the reference picture memory 207 on the basis of the forward
motion vector, and further, it obtains a backward motion
compensation image from the reference picture memory 207 on the
basis of the backward motion vector.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 performs
addition and averaging of the forward motion compensation image
and the backward motion compensation image to generated a motion
compensation image.
Next, a process of generating a motion compensation image
using forward and backward motion vectors will be described.
(Bidirectional Prediction Mode)
Figure 17 illustrates a case where the target picture to be
decoded is the picture Bll, and bidirectional predictive decoding
is performed on a block (target block) BLaOl to be decoded, in
the picture Bll.
Initially, a description will be given of a case where the
forward reference picture is the picture Plo, and the backward
reference picture is the picture P13.
In this case, the forward motion vector is a motion vector
MVeOl indicating an area CReOl in the picture Plo, which area
corresponds to the block BLaOl. The backward motion vector is a
motion vector MVgOl indicating an area CRgOl in the picture P13,
which area corresponds to the block BLaOl.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CReOl in the picture Plo as a
forward reference image, and an image in the area CRgOl in the
picture P13 as a backward reference image, from the reference
picture memory 207, and performs addition and averaging of image
data on the images in the both areas CReOl and CRgOl to obtain a
motion compensation image corresponding to the target block BLaOl.
Next, a description will be given of a case where the
forward reference picture is the picture B9, and the backward
reference picture is the picture P13.
In this case, the forward motion vector is a motion vector
MVfOl indicating an area CRfOl in the picture B9, which area
corresponds to the block BLaOl. The backward motion vector is a
motion vector MVgOl indicating an area CRgOl in the picture P13,
which area corresponds to the block BLaOl.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRfOl in the picture B9 as a forward
reference image, and an image in the area CRgOl in the picture
P13 as a backward reference image, from the reference picture
memory 207, and performs addition and averaging of image data for
the images in the both areas CRfOl and CRgOl to obtain a motion
compensation image corresponding to the target block BLaOl.
(Direct Mode)
Further, when the coding mode is the direct mode, the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a motion vector (base
motion vector) of a block that is included in the backward
reference picture P13 for the target picture Bll and is placed
relatively in the same position as the target block, which motion
vector is stored in the motion vector storage unit 226. The
motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a forward reference
image and a backward reference image from the reference picture
memory 207 by using the base motion vector. Then, the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 performs addition and averaging of
image data for the forward reference image and the backward
reference image, thereby generating a motion compensation image
corresponding to the target block. In the following description,
a block in a picture, whose relative position with respect to a
picture is equal to that of a specific block in another picture
is simply referred to as a block which is located in the same
position as a specific block in a picture.
Figure 13(a) shows a case where the block BLalo in the
picture Bll is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the
picture Plo that is just previous to the picture Bll (first
example of direct mode decoding).
A base motion vector to be used for direct mode decoding of
the block BLalo is a forward motion vector (base motion vector)
MVhlo of a block (base block) BLglo located in the same position
as the block BLalo, which block BLglo is included in the picture
(base picture) P13 that is backward referred to when decoding the
block BLalo. The forward motion vector MVhlo indicates an area
CRhlo corresponding to the base block BLglo, in the picture Plo
that is just previous to the picture Bll.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVklo of the target
block BLalo to be decoded, a motion vector which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVhlo and indicates an area CRklo included
in the picture Plo and corresponding to the target block BLalo,
is employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVilo of the
target block BLalo to be decoded, a motion vector which is
parallel to the base motion vector MVhlo and indicates an area
CRilo included in the picture P13 and corresponding to the target
block BLalo, is employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRklo of the forward reference
picture Plo as a forward reference image, and an image in the
area CRilo of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image, from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLalo.
In this case, the magnitude (MVF) of the forward motion
vector MVklo and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVilo are obtained by the above-described formulae (1) and
(2), using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVhlo.
The magnitudes MVF and MVB of the respective motion vectors
show the horizontal component and vertical component of the
motion vector, respectively.
Further, TRD indicates a time-basis distance between the
backward reference picture P13 for the target block BLalo in the
picture Bll, and the picture Plo which is forward referred to
when decoding the block (base block) BLglo in the backward
reference picture (base picture) P13. Further, TRF is the time-
basis distance between the target picture Bll and the just-
previous reference picture Plo, and TRB is the time-basis
distance between the target picture Bll and the picture Plo which
is referred to when decoding the block BLglo in the backward
reference picture P13.
Figure 18(b) shows a case where a block BLa20 in the picture
Bll is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the picture
Plo that is just previous to the picture Bll (second example of
direct mode decoding).
In this second example of direct ™.ode decoding, in contrast
with the first example of direct mode decoding shown in figure
18(a), a picture which is forward referred to in decoding the
base block (i.e., a block placed in the same position as the
target block, in the backward reference picture for the target
block) is the picture P7.
That is, a base motion vector to be used for direct mode
decoding of the block BLa20 is a forward motion vector MVh20 of a
block BLg20 located in the same position as the block BLa20,
which block BLg20 is included in the picture P13 that is backward
referred to when decoding the block BLa20. The forward motion
vector MVh20 indicates an area CRh20 corresponding to the base
block BLg20, in the picture P7 that is positioned forward the
target picture Bll.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk20 of the target
block BLa20 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVh20 and indicates an area CRk20 included
in the picture Plo and corresponding to the target block BLa20,
is employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVi20 of the
target block BLa20 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is
parallel to the base motion vector MVh20 and indicates an area
CRi20 included in the picture P13 and corresponding to the target
block BLa20, is employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRk20 of the forward reference
picture Plo as a forward reference image, and an image in the
area CRi20 of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image, from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLa20.
In this case, the magnitude vector MVk20 and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVi20 are obtained by the above-described formulae (1) and
(2) , using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVh20,
as described for the first example of direct mode decoding.
Figure 19(a) shows a case where a block BLa30 in the picture
Bll is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the picture
P7 which is positioned forward the picture Plo that is positioned
just previous to the picture Bll (third example of direct mode
decoding).
In this third example of direct mode decoding, in contrast
with the first and second examples of direct mode coding shown in
figures 18(a) and 18(b), a picture to be forward referred to in
decoding the target block is not a picture just previous to the
target picture, but a picture that is forward referred to in
decoding the base block (a block in the same position as the
target block) in the base picture. The base picture is a picture
that is backward referred to in decoding the target block.
That is, a base motion vector to be used in direct mode
decoding of the block BLa30 is a forward motion vector MVh30 of :
block BLg30 located in the same position as the block BLa30,
which block BLg30 is included in the picture P13 that is backward
referred to in decoding the block BLa30. The forward motion
vector MVh30 indicates an area CRh30 corresponding to the base
block BLg30, in the picture P7 that is positioned forward the
target picture Bll.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk30 of the target
block BLa30 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVh30 and indicates an area CRk30 included
in the picture P7 and corresponding to the target block BLa30, is
employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVi30 of the
target block BLa30 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is
parallel to the base motion vector MVh30 and indicates an area
CRi30 included in the picture P13 and corresponding to the target
block BLa30, is employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRk30 of the forward reference
picture P7 as a forward reference image, and an image in the area
CRi30 of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image, from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLa30.
In this case, the magnitude (MVF) of the forward motion
vector MVk30 and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVi30 are obtained by the above-described formulae (2) and
(3), using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVh30.
When the picture to be referred to in decoding the block
BLg30 has already been deleted from the reference picture memory
207, the forward reference picture Plo that is timewise closest
to the target picture is used as a forward reference picture in
the third example of direct mode decoding. In this case, the
third example of direct mode decoding is identical to the first
example of direct mode decoding.
Figure 19(b) shows a case where a block BLa40 in the picture
Bll is decoded in the direct mode by using a motion vector whose
magnitude is zero (fourth example of direct mode decoding).
In this fourth example of direct mode decoding, the
magnitude of the reference motion vector employed in the first
and second examples shown in figures 18(a) and 18(b) is zero.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk40 and a
backward motion vector MVi40 of the block BLa40 to be decoded, a
motion vector whose magnitude is zero is employed.
That is, the forward motion vector MVk40 indicates an area
(block) CRk40 of the same size as the target block, which area is
included in the picture Plo and placed at the same position as
the target block BLa40. Further, the backward motion vector
MVi40 indicates an area (block) CRi40 of the same size as the
target block, which area is included in the picture P13 and
placed at the same position as the target block BLa40.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area (block) CRk40 of the forward
reference picture Plo as a forward reference image, and an image
in the area (block) CRi40 of the backward reference picture P13
as a backward reference image, from the reference picture memory
207, and performs addition and averaging of image data of the
both images to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction
image) corresponding to the target block BLa4 0. This method is
applicable to, for example, a case where a block which is
included in the picture P13 as a backward reference picture of
the picture Bll and is located in the same position as the block
BLa40 is a block having no motion vector like an intra-frame-
coded block.
The data of the motion compensation image thus generated is
output to the addition unit 208. The addition unit 208 adds the
inputted prediction error data and the motion compensation image
data to generate decoded image data. The decoded image data so
generated is output through the switch 2lo to the reference
picture memory 207, and the decoded image is stored in the
reference picture memory 207.
The memory control unit 204 controls the reference picture
memory 207 on the basis of the header information Ih indicating
what kind of reference has been carried out in coding the P
pictures and B pictures extracted from the header information of
the bit stream.
As described above, the blocks in the picture Bll are
successively decoded. When all of the blocks in the picture Bll
have been decoded, decoding of the picture B12 takes place.
In the B picture decoding described above, a specific block
is sometimes treated as a skip block. Hereinafter, decoding of a
skip block will be briefly described.
When it is found that a specific block is treated as a skip
block during decoding of an inputted bit stream, from a skip
identifier or a block number information that is described in the
bit stream, motion compensation, i.e., acquisition of a
prediction image corresponding to a target block, is carried out
in the direct mode.
For example, as shown in figure 6(b), when the blocks
MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) between the block MB(r) and the block MB(r+3)
in the picture Bll are treated as skip blocks, the bit stream
analysis unit 201 detects the skip identifier Sf from the bit
stream Bs. When the skip identifier Sf is input to the mode
decoding unit 223, the mode decoding unit 223 instructs the
motion compensation decoding unit 205 to perform motion
compensation in the direct mode.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains the
prediction images of the blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2), on the basis
of an image (forward reference image) of a block which is
included in the forward reference picture Plo and placed in the
same position as the block treated as a skip block, and an image
(backward reference image) of a block in the same position as the
block treated as a skip block, and then outputs the data of the
prediction images to the addition unit 208. The prediction error
decoding unit 202 outputs data whose value is zero, as difference
data of the blocks treated as skip blocks. In the addition unit
208, since the difference data of the blocks treated as skip
blocks is zero, the data of the prediction images of the blocks
MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) are output to the reference picture memory
207 as decoded images of the blocks MB(r+l) and MB(r+2) .
Furthermore, in the direct mode processing shown in figure
18(a) (first example), the direct mode processing shown in figure
18(b) (second example), and the direction mode processing shown
in figure 19(a) (third example), all of blocks whose difference
data become zero are not necessarily treated as skip blocks.
That is, a target block is subjected to bidirectional prediction
using a picture that is positioned just previous to the target
picture as a forward reference picture, and a motion vector whose
magnitude is zero, and only when the difference data of the
target block becomes zero, this target block may be treated as a
skip block.
In this case, when it is found, from the skip identifier or
the like in the bit stream Bs, that a specific block is treated
as a skip block, motion compensation should be carried out by
bidirectional prediction whose motion is zero, using a just-
previous reference picture as a forward reference picture.
(Decoding Process for Picture B12)
Since the bit stream analysis unit 201, the mode decoding
unit 223, and the prediction error decoding unit 202 operate in
the same way as described for decoding of the picture Plo,
repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates motion
compensation image data from the inputted information such as the
motion vector. The motion vector MV and the reference picture
index Rp are input to the motion compensation decoding unit 205.
The picture P12 has been coded using the pictures P7, Plo and Bll
as candidate pictures for forward reference, and the picture P13
as a candidate picture for backward reference. At decoding the
target picture, these candidate pictures have already been
decoded, and are stored in the reference picture memory 207.
The timewise change of the pictures stored in the reference
picture memory 207, and the method for determining a reference
picture are identical to those in the case of decoding the
picture Bll described with respect to figure 3.
When the coding mode is bidirectional predictive coding, the
motion compensation decoding unit 2 05 determines which one of the
pictures P7, Plo and Bll has been used for forward reference,
from the reference picture index. Then, the motion compensation
decoding unit 205 obtains a forward reference image from the
reference picture memory 207 on the basis of the forward motion
vector, and further, it obtains a backward reference image from
the reference picture memory 207 on the basis of the backward
motion vector. Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
performs addition and averaging of image data of the forward
reference image and the backward reference image to generated a
motion compensation image corresponding to the target block.
(Bidirectional Prediction Mode)
Figure 20 illustrates a case where the target picture to be
decoded is the picture B12, and bidirectional predictive decoding
is performed for a block (target block) BLa02 to be decoded, in
the picture B12.
Initially/ a description will be given of a case where the
forward reference picture is the picture Bll, and the backward
reference picture is the picture P13.
In this case, the forward motion vector is a motion vector
MVe02 indicating an area CRe02 in the picture Bll corresponding
to the block BLa02. The backward motion vector is a motion
vector MVg02 indicating an area CRg02 in the picture P13
corresponding to the block BLa02.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRe02 in the picture Bll as a
forward reference image, and an image in the area CRg02 in the
picture P13 as a backward reference image, from the reference
picture memory 207, and performs addition and averaging of image
data of the images in the both areas CRe02 and CRg02 to obtain a
motion compensation image corresponding to the target block BLa02.
Next, a description will be given of a case where the
forward reference picture is the picture Plo, and the backward
reference picture is the picture P13.
In this case, the forward motion vector is a motion vector
MVf02 indicating an area CRf02 in the picture Plo, corresponding
to the block BLa02. The backward motion vector is a motion
vector MVg02 indicating an area CRg02 in the picture P13,
corresponding to the block BLa02.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRf02 in the picture Plo as a
forward reference image and an image in the area CRg02 in the
picture P13 as a backward reference image from the reference
picture memory 207, and performs addition and averaging of image
data of the images in the both areas CRf02 and CRg02 to obtain a
motion compensation image corresponding to the target block BLa02.
(Direct Mode)
Further, when the coding mode is the direct mode, the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a motion vector (base
motion vector) of a reference block (a block whose relative
position is the same as that of the target position) in the
backward reference picture P13 for the target picture B12, which
motion vector is stored in the motion vector storage unit 226.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a forward
reference image and a backward reference image from the reference
picture memory 207 by using the base motion vector. Then, the
motion compensation decoding unit 205 performs addition and
averaging of image data of the forward reference image and the
backward reference image, thereby generating a motion
compensation image corresponding to the target block.
Figure 21(a) shows a case where the block BLa50 in the
picture B12 is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the
picture Bll that is just previous to the picture B12 (first:
example of direct mode decoding).
A base motion vector to be used for direct mode decoding of
the block BLa50 is a forward motion vector MVJ50 of the base
block (i.e., the block BLg50 placed in the same position as the
block BLa50) in the picture P13 that is backward referred to when
decoding the block BLa50. The forward motion vector MVJ5C
indicates an area CRJ50 corresponding to the base block BLg50 in
the picture Plo that is positioned forward and close to the
picture Bll.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk50 of the target
block BLa50 to be decoded, a motion vector which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVJ50 and indicates an area CRk50 included
in the picture Bll and corresponding to the target block BLa50,
is employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVi50 of the
target block BLa50 to be decoded, a motion vector which is
parallel to the base motion vector MVJ50 and indicates an area
CRi50 included in the picture P13 and corresponding to the target
block BLa50, is employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRk50 of the forward reference
picture Bll as a forward reference image and an image in the area
CRi50 of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLa50.
In this case, the magnitude (MVF) of the forward motion
vector MVk50 and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVi50 are obtained by the above-described formulae (1) and
(2) using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVhlo.
The magnitudes MVF and MVB of the respective motion vectors
show the horizontal component and vertical component of the
motion vector, respectively.
Figure 21(b) shows a case where a block BLa60 in the picture
B12 is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the picture
Bll that is positioned forward the picture B12 (second example of
direct mode decoding).
In this second example of direct mode decoding, in contrast
with the first example of direct mode decoding shown in figure
21(a), a picture which is forward referred to in decoding the
base block (i.e., a block placed in the same position as the
target block, in the backward reference picture for the target
block) is the picture P7.
That is, a base motion vector to be used for direct mode
decoding of the block BLa60 is a forward motion vector MVJ60 of
the reference block (the block BLg60 in the same position as the
block BLa60) in the picture P13 that is backward referred to when
decoding the block BLa60. The forward motion vector MVJ60
indicates an area CRJ60 corresponding to the base block BLg60, in
the picture P7 that is positioned forward the target picture B12.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk60 of the target
block BLa60 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVJ60 and indicates an area CRk60 included
in the picture Bll and corresponding to the target block BLa60,
is employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVi60 of the
target block BLa60 to be decoded, a motion vector, which is
parallel to the base motion vector MVJ60 and indicates an area
CRi60 included in the picture P13 and corresponding to the target
block BLa60, is employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRk60 of the forward reference
picture Bll as a forward reference image and an image in the area
CRi60 of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLa60.
In this case, the magnitude (MVF) of the forward motion
vector MVk60 and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVi60 are obtained by the above-described formulae (1) and
(2), using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVJ60,
as described for the first example of direct mode decoding.
Figure 22(a) shows a case where a block BLa70 in the picture
B12 is decoded in the direct mode with reference to the picture
P7 which is positioned forward the forward picture Plo that is
closest to the picture B12 (third example of direct mode
decoding).
In this third example of direct mode decoding, in contrast
with the first and second examples of direct mode coding shown in
figures 21(a) and 21(b), a picture to be forward referred to in
decoding the target block is not a picture just previous to the
target picture, but a picture that is forward referred to in
decoding the base block in the base picture. The base picture is
a picture that is backward referred to in decoding the target
block.
That is, a base motion vector to be used in direct mode
decoding of the block BLa70 is a forward motion vector MVJ70 of a
base block BLg70 (a block in the same position as the block
BLa70) in the picture P13 that is backward referred to in
decoding the block BLa70. The forward motion vector MVJ70
indicates an area CRJ70 corresponding to the base block BLg70 in
the picture P7 that is positioned forward the target picture B12.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk70 of the target
block BLa70 to be decoded, a motion vector which is parallel to
the base motion vector MVJ70 and indicates an area CRk70 included
in the picture P7 and corresponding to the target block BLa70, is
employed. Further, as a backward motion vector MVi70 of the
target block BLa70, a motion vector which is parallel to the base
motion vector MVJ70 and indicates an area CRi70 included in the
picture P13 and corresponding to the target block BLa70, is
employed.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area CRk70 of the forward reference
picture P7 as a forward reference image and an image in the area
CRi70 of the backward reference picture P13 as a backward
reference image from the reference picture memory 207, and
performs addition and averaging of image data of the both images
to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction image)
corresponding to the target block BLa7 0.
In this case, the magnitude (MVF) of the forward motion
vector MVk70 and the magnitude (MVB) of the backward motion
vector MVi70 are obtained by the above-described formulae (2) and
(3), using the magnitude (MVR) of the base motion vector MVJ70.
When the picture to be referred to in decoding the block
BLg70 has already been deleted from the reference picture memory
207, the forward reference picture Plo that is timewise closest
to the target picture is used as a forward reference picture in
the third example of direct mode decoding. In this case, the
third example of direct mode decoding is identical to the first
example of direct mode decoding.
Figure 22(b) shows a case where a block BLa80 in the picture
B12 is decoded in the direct mode by using a motion vector whose
magnitude is zero (fourth example of direct mode decoding).
In this fourth example of direct mode decoding, the
magnitude of the reference motion vector employed in the first
and second examples shown in figures 21(a) and 21(b) is zero.
In this case, as a forward motion vector MVk80 and a
backward motion vector MVi80 of the block BLa80 to be decoded, a
motion vector whose magnitude is zero is employed.
That is, the forward motion vector MVk80 indicates an area
(block) CRk80 of the same size as the target block, which area is
included in the picture Bll and placed at the same position as
the target block BLa80. Further, the backward motion vector
MVi80 indicates an area (block) CRi80 of the same size as the
target block, which area is included in the picture P13 and
placed at the same position as the target block BLa80.
Accordingly, the motion compensation decoding unit 205
obtains an image in the area (block) CRk80 of the forward
reference picture Bll as a forward reference image and an image
in the area (block) CRi80 of the backward reference picture P13
as a backward reference image from the reference picture memory
207, and performs addition and averaging of image data of the
both images to obtain a motion compensation image (prediction
image) corresponding to the target block BLa80. This method is
applicable to, for example, a case where a block which is
included in the picture P13 as a backward reference picture of
the picture Bll and is located in the same position as the block
BLa80 is a block having no motion vector like an intra-frame-
coded block.
The data of the motion compensation image thus generated is
output to the addition unit 208. The addition unit 208 adds the
inputted prediction error data and the motion compensation image
data to generate decoded image data. The decoded image data so
generated is output through the switch 2lo to the reference
picture memory 207.
As described above, the blocks in the picture B12 are
successively decoded. The image data of the respective pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 207 are rearranged in
order of time to be output as output image data Od.
Thereafter, the pictures following the picture B12, which
are arranged in decoding order times as shown in figure 16(a),
are successively decoded according to the picture type, in like
manner as described for the pictures P13, Bll, and B12. Figure
16(b) shows the pictures rearranged in order of display times.
During decoding of the inputted bit stream, if it is found
that a specific block is treated as a skip block, from a skip
identifier or a block number information that is described in the
bit stream, motion compensation, i.e., acquisition of a
prediction image corresponding to a target block, is carried out
in the direct mode as in the case of decoding the picture Bll.
As described above, in the moving picture decoding apparatus
20 according to the second embodiment, when decoding a block in a
B picture, a prediction image corresponding to the target block
is generated using an already-decoded P picture and an already-
decoded B picture as candidate pictures for forward reference, on
the basis of information (reference picture index) indicating
candidate pictures which are forward referred to in coding the
target block, which information is included in the bit stream
corresponding to the target block to be decoded. Therefore, it
is possible to correctly decode a block in a target B picture
which has been coded using a B picture as a candidate picture for
forward reference.
Further, in the moving picture decoding apparatus 20, when a
target block to be decoded which is included in a B picture has
been coded in the direct mode, a motion vector of the target
block is calculated on the basis of a motion vector of a block
that is placed in the same position as the target block.
Therefore, it is not necessary for the decoding end to obtain the
information indicating the motion vector of the block coded in
the direct mode, from the coding end.
Furthermore, in the moving picture decoding apparatus 20,
the data of the already-decoded pictures which are stored in the
reference picture memory are managed on the basis of the
information indicating the candidate pictures which are used in
coding p pictures and B pictures, which information is included
as header information in the bit stream. For example, at the
completion of decoding one picture, data of pictures which are
not to be used as reference pictures in decoding the following
pictures are successively deleted, whereby the picture memory can
be used with efficiency.
Further, when decoding a target block in a P picture, it is
possible to determine which one of plural candidate pictures is
used as a reference picture (i.e., which one of the candidate
pictures is referred to in detecting the motion vector of the
target block to be decoded) from the reference picture
information added to the motion vector information.
Likewise, when decoding a target block in a B picture, it is
possible to determine which one of plural candidate pictures for
forward reference is used as a reference picture (i.e., which one
of the candidate pictures is referred to in detecting the forward
motion vector of the target block to be decoded) from the
reference picture information added to the motion vector
information.
While in this second embodiment the direct mode is used as
one of the plural coding modes for B pictures, the direct mode is
not necessarily used as the coding mode for B pictures. In this
case, the motion vector storage unit 226 in the moving picture
decoding apparatus 20 is dispensed with.
Further, while in this second embodiment four specific
methods are described as examples of direct mode (i.e., the first
example shown in figure 18(a) or 21(a), the second example shown
in figure 18(b) or 21(b), the third example shown in figure 19(a)
or 22(a), and the fourth example shown in figure 19(b) or 22(b)),
the decoding apparatus performs decoding using a method suited to
a coding method which is used as direct mode by the coding
apparatus. More specifically, when plural methods are employed
as direct mode, the decoding apparatus performs decoding, using
information indicating which one of the plural methods is used as
specific direct mode, that is described in the bit stream.
In this case, the operation of the motion compensation
decoding unit 205 varies according to the information. For
example, when this information is added in block units for motion
compensation, the mode decoding unit 223 determines which one of
the four methods mentioned above is used as direct mode in coding,
and notifies the motion compensation decoding unit 205 of the
determined method. The motion compensation decoding unit 205
performs appropriate motion compensation predictive decoding
according to the determined method of direct mode.
Further, when the information (DM mode information)
indicating which one of the plural methods is used as direct mode
is described in the header of the entire sequence, the GOP header,
the picture header, or the slice header, the DM mode information
is transferred for every sequence, GOP, picture, or slice, from
the bit stream analysis unit 201 to the motion compensation
decoding unit 205, and the motion compensation decoding unit 205
changes the operation.
While in this second embodiment two B pictures are placed
between an I picture and a P picture or between adjacent P
pictures, the number of continuous B pictures may be three or
four.
Further, while in this second embodiment three pictures are
used as .candidate pictures for a forward reference picture for a
P picture, the number of reference candidate pictures for a P
picture may be other than three.
Furthermore, while in this second embodiment two I or P
pictures and one E picture are used as candidate pictures for a
forward reference picture in decoding a B picture, forward
reference candidate pictures in decoding a B picture are not
restricted thereto.
Moreover, in this second embodiment, as a method for
managing the reference picture memory in decoding the picture P13,
picture Bll, and picture B12, a method of collectively managing
the P pictures and B pictures to be used as candidates of a
reference picture, as shown in figure 3, is described. However,
the reference picture memory managing method may be any o.~ the
four methods which are described for the first embodiment with
reference to figures 11 to 14, wherein all of the pictures to be
used as candidates for a reference picture are separated into P
pictures and B pictures to be managed.
In this case, the reference picture memory 207 has memory
areas for six pictures, i.e., P picture memory areas (#1)~(#4),
and B picture memory areas (#1) and (#2). Further, these six
memory areas are not necessarily formed in one reference picture
memory, but each of the six memory areas may be constituted by
one independent reference picture memory.
Further, when the coding end employs a reference picture
index assigning method wherein it is determined, for each picture
to be coded, which of the P picture memory area and the B picture
memory area is given priority in assigning reference picture
indices as shown in figure 14, the moving picture decoding
apparatus can easily identify a picture which is used as a
reference picture among plural candidate pictures, on the basis
of the reference picture indices, by using information described
in the bit stream, which indicates the memory area taking
priority.
For example, when the target picture to be decoded is the
picture Bll, since the forward reference picture that is timewise
closest to the target picture is the picture Plo, reference
picture indices are assigned to the pictures stored in the P
picture memory with priority. Accordingly, a reference picture
index [0] is added as header information to the bit stream of the
target block when the picture Plo is used as a reference picture
in coding the target block of the picture Bll. Likewise, a
reference picture index [1] is added as header information when
the picture P7 is used as a reference picture, and a reference
picture index [2] is added as header information when the picture
B9 is used as a reference picture. Accordingly, the moving
.picture decoding apparatus can know which candidate picture is
used as a reference picture in coding the target block, according
to the reference picture index.
In this case, since information indicating that reference
picture indices are assigned to the candidate pictures in the P
picture memory with priority is included as header information in
the bit stream, identification of the reference picture is
further facilitated by using this information.
Further, when- the target picture to be decoded is the
picture B12, since the forward reference picture that is timewise
closest to the target picture is the picture Bll, reference
picture indices are assigned to the pictures stored in the B
picture memory with priority. Accordingly, a reference picture
index [0] is added as header information to the bit stream of the
target block when the picture Bll is used as a reference picture
in coding the target block of the picture B12. Likewise, a
reference picture index [1] is added as header information when
the picture Plo is used as a reference picture, and a reference
picture index [2] is added as header information when the picture
P7 is used as a reference picture. Accordingly, the moving
picture decoding apparatus can know which candidate picture is
used as a reference picture in coding the target block, according
to the reference picture index.
In this case, since information indicating that reference
picture indices are assigned to the candidate pictures in the B
picture memory with priority is included as header information in
the bit stream, identification of the reference picture is
further facilitated by using this information.
Furthermore, there are cases where, at the coding end, one
of the above-mentioned five methods for managing the reference
picture memory (refer to figures 3, 11 to 14) is previously
selected, or some of these five methods are used by switching
them. For example, when the coding end employs some of the
plural methods by switching them, the moving picture decoding
apparatus can determine the reference picture index, according to
information indicating which method is used for each picture,
that is described in the bit stream.
Furthermore, in this second embodiment, the five methods for
managing the reference picture memory (refer to figures 3, 11 to
14) are described for the case where there are three reference
candidate pictures for a P picture, and there are two P pictures
and one B picture as forward reference candidate pictures for a B
picture. However, the five methods for managing the reference
picture memory are also applicable to cases where the number of
reference candidate pictures is different to those mentioned
above. When the number of reference candidate pictures is
different from those mentioned for the second embodiment, the
capacity of the reference picture memory is also different from
that described for the second embodiment.
Moreover, in this second embodiment, in the method of
managing the reference picture memory wherein the stored
reference candidates are separated into P pictures and B pictures
(four examples shown in figures 11 to 14), the P pictures are
stored in the P picture memory area while the B pictures are
stored in the B picture memory area. However, a short-term
picture memory and a long-term picture memory which are defined
in H.263++ may be used as memory areas where pictures are stored.
For example, the short-term picture memory and the long-term
picture memory may be used as a P picture memory area and a B
picture memory area, respectively.
[Embodiment 3]
Figure 23 is a block diagram illustrating a moving picture
coding apparatus 30 according to a third embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture coding apparatus 30 can switch, according
to a control signal supplied from the outside, a method for
assigning reference picture indices to candidate pictures,
between a method of assigning reference picture indices to
candidate pictures according to an initialized rule (default
assignment method), and an adaptive assignment method of
assigning reference picture indices to candidate pictures by the
default assignment method and, further, adaptively changing the
assigned reference picture indices according to the coding status.
To be specific, one operation mode of the moving picture
coding apparatus 30 according to the third embodiment is the
operation of the moving picture coding apparatus lo according to
the first embodiment. In other words, when the default
assignment method is selected as a reference picture index
assignment method of the moving picture coding apparatus 30, the
moving picture coding apparatus 30 performs the same processing
as that oZ the moving picture coding apparatus lo.
Hereinafter, the moving picture coding apparatus 30 will be
described in detail.
The moving picture coding apparatus 30 is provided with a
coding control unit 130, instead of the coding control unit 1lo
of the moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the first
embodiment. The coding control unit 130 switches, according to
an external control signal Cont, a method for assigning reference
picture indices to candidate pictures, between a method of
assigning reference picture indices according to an initialized
rule (default assignment method), and a method including a first
step of assigning reference picture indices to candidate pictures
by the default assignment method, and a second step of adaptively
changing the reference picture indices which are assigned to the
candidate pictures by the default assignment method (adaptive
assignment method).
Further, the coding control unit 130 includes a detection
unit (not shown) which detects, for every target picture to be
coded, coding efficiency in a case where each of plural reference
candidate pictures is used as a reference picture. The coding
control unit 130 changes the reference picture index which is
assigned to each candidate picture by the default assignment
method, according to the coding efficiency detected by the
detection unit.
More specifically, the coding control unit 130 changes the
reference picture index which is assigned to each candidate
picture by the default assignment method, such that, among plural
candidate pictures for a target picture, a candidate picture
which provides a higher coding efficiency of the target picture
when it is used as a reference picture is given a smaller
reference picture index.
Then, the mode selection unit 139 selects, in the direct
mode, a picture that is assigned a reference picture index [0],
as a forward reference picture for a target block. In a
predictive coding mode other than the direct mode such as the
bidirectional predictive coding mode, the mode selection unit 139
selects a reference picture from among plural candidate pictures
according to the coding efficiency.
Other components of the moving picture coding apparatus 30
according to the third embodiment are identical to those of the
moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the first
embodiment.
Hereinafter, the operation will be described.
In the moving picture coding apparatus 30, when the default
assignment method is selected as a method for assigning reference
picture indices to candidate pictures according to the external
control signal Cont, the operation of the moving picture coding
apparatus 30 is identical to the operation of the moving picture
coding apparatus lo according to the first embodiment.
On the other hand, when the adaptive assignment method is
selected as a method for assigning reference picture indices to
candidate pictures according to the external control signal Cont,
the moving picture coding apparatus 30 performs, in the first
step, assignment of reference picture indices in like manner as
described for the moving picture coding apparatus lo.
When the adaptive assignment method is selected, the moving
picture coding apparatus 30 performs, in the second step,
adaptive change of the reference picture indices that are
assigned by the default assignment method.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of specific methods
of assigning reference picture indices in the case where the
adaptive assignment method is selected. In the following
description, it is assumed that a target picture is the picture
B12.
Initially, in the first step, as shown in figure 3,
reference picture indices are assigned to candidate pictures for
forward reference such that a smaller reference picture index is
assigned to a candidate picture that is closer to the target
picture. That is, a reference picture index [1] is assigned to
the reference picture Plo, a reference picture index [0] is
assigned to the reference picture Bll, and a reference picture
index [2] is assigned to the reference picture P7.
Next, in the second step, as shown in figure 24, the
reference picture index [1] of the reference picture PIC is
changed to [0], and the reference picture index [0] of the
reference picture Bll is changed to [1].
Such rewriting of reference picture indices is carried out
for every target picture, according to the coding efficiency.
Further, the moving picture coding apparatus 30 inserts
information indicating which of the default assignment method and
the adaptive assignment method is set as an assignment method, as
header information, in the bit stream. Further, when the
adaptive assignment method is set, information indicating how the
assignment of reference picture indices is carried out is also
inserted as header information in the bit stream.
As described above, in this third embodiment, the reference
picture index of the candidate picture which is to be used as a
forward reference picture in the direction mode, can be changed
to [0] .
That is, since, in the first embodiment, a smaller reference
picture index is given to a reference candidate picture that is
timewise closer to the target picture, only the picture Bll that
is timewise closest to the target picture B12 can be referred to
in the direct mode. In this third embodiment, however, any
picture other than the picture Bll closest to the target picture
B12 can be used as a forward reference picture, if the coding
efficiency is improved.
Further, in this case, since the picture to be referred to
in coding the picture B12 in the direct mode is not the picture
Bll but the picture B10, decoding of the picture Bll becomes
unnecessary. Accordingly, as shown in figure 25(a), a B picture
immediaTcly after a P picture can be processed without decoding
it, whereby speedup of decoding is achieved when the picture Bll
is not necessary. Further, since decoding can be carried out
even when the data of the picture Bll is lost due to transmission
error or the like, reliability of decoding is improved.
As described above, when a reference picture index can be
arbitrarily assigned to a candidate picture to intentionally
determine a picture to be referred to in the direct mode, a
predetermined picture can be processed without decoding it, as
shown in figure 25(a).
Furthermore, even when three B pictures are placed between P
pictures as shown in figure 25(b), a predetermined picture can be
processed without decoding it. Therefore, when a picture that is
not needed by the user is previously known at the coding end,
such picture can be omitted to reduce the processing time in
decoding.
In figure 25(b), even when the picture B3 is not decoded,
other pictures can be decoded.
That is, in the assignment method of the first embodiment,
since the picture B4 refers to the picture B3 in the direct mode,
the picture B3 must be decoded to decode the picture B4. In this
third embodiment, however, since a picture to be referred to in
the direct mode can be arbitrarily set, decoding of the picture
B3 can be dispensed with.
Furthermore, in this third embodiment, assignment of
reference picture indices is carried out such that a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture that
is timewise closer to the target picture, and a reference picture
to be used in the direct mode is determined according to the
reference picture indices. Therefore, the coding efficiency can
be improved by a reduction in the motion vector, and further, the
processing time can be reduced.
Furthermore, when the target block is processed in the
direct mode at the decoding end, since the forward reference
candidate picture to which the reference picture index [0] is
assigned is immediaTcly used as a reference picture, decoding
time can be reduced.
Furthermore, while in this third embodiment a candidate
picture whose reference picture index should be changed to [0] is
determined according to the coding efficiency, a reference
picture index of a picture which is most likely to be referred to,
e.g., a P picture that is timewise closest to the target picture,
may be changed to [0].
Moreover, while in this third embodiment a picture to be
referred to in the direct mode is a picture whose reference
picture index is [0], the present invention is not restricted
thereto. For example, information indicating that a picture is
to be referred to in the direct mode is coded, and decoding may
be carried out in the direct mode on the basis of this
information.
[Embodiment 4]
Figure 26 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture decoding apparatus 40 according to a fourth embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 40 receives the bit
stream outputted from the moving picture coding apparatus 30 of
the third embodiment, and performs decoding of each picture, on
the basis of information indicating which of the default
assignment method and the adaptive assignment method should be
used when assigning reference picture indices (assignment method
instruction information), which information is included in the
bit stream.
That is, one operation mode of the moving picture decoding
apparatus 40 according to the fourth embodiment is the operation
of the moving picture coding apparatus 20 according to the second
embodiment. In other words, when the default assignment method
is used as a reference picture index assignment method in the
moving picture decoding apparatus 40, the operation of the moving
picture decoding apparatus 40 is identical to that of the moving
picture decoding apparatus 20.
Hereinafter, the moving picture decoding apparatus 40 will
be described in detail.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 40 is provided with a
memory control unit 244, instead of the memory control unit 204
of the moving picture decoding apparatus 20 according to the
second embodiment. The memory control unit 244 performs memory
management according to either the default assignment method or
the adaptive assignment method, on the basis of the assignment
method instruction information included in the bit stream as
header information.
Other components of the moving picture decoding apparatus 40
according to the fourth embodiment are identical to those of the
moving picture decoding apparatus 20 according to the second
embodiment.
Hereinafter, the operation will be described.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 40 operates in
accordance with the assignment method instruction information
that is included as header information in the bit stream supplied
from the moving picture coding apparatus 30.
That is, when the default assignment method is selected as a
reference picture index assignment method at the coding end, i.e.,
when information indicating that the default assignment method is
selected is included in the bit stream, the moving picture
decoding apparatus 40 operates in the same manner as the moving
picture decoding apparatus 20 of the second embodiment.
On the other hand, when the adaptive assignment method is
selected as a reference picture index assignment method at the
coding end, i.e., when information indicating that the adaptive
assignment method is selected is included in the bit stream, the
moving picture decoding apparatus 40 operates in accordance with
the adaptive assignment method. In this case, since information
indicating how the assignment of reference picture indices is
carried out is also included as header information in the bit
stream, assignment of reference picture indices is carried out
according to this information.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of the operation of
the moving picture decoding apparatus 40 in the case where the
adaptive assignment method is selected.
In the reference picture memory 207, as shown in figure 24,
reference candidate pictures stored in the respective memory area
are rewritten every time a target picture is processed.
To be specific, when the target picture to be decoded is the
picture B12, decoding of a target block in the picture B12 is
carried out with reference to a reference picture that is
selected from candidate pictures according to the header
information of the target block.
For example, when the coding mode for the target block is
the bidirectional predictive mode, a candidate picture which is
given the same reference picture index as the reference picture
index that is included in the header information of the target
block, is selected as a forward reference picture from among the
candidate pictures Plo, Bll, and P7 . When the reference picture
index included in the header information of the target block is
[1], the candidate picture Bll is selected as a forward reference
picture. Then, the target block is subjected to bidirectional
predictive decoding with reference to the candidate picture Bll
as a forward reference picture, and the picture P13 as a backward
reference picture.
Further, when the decoding mode of the target block is the
direct mode, a candidate picture (picture Plo) which is given the
reference picture index [0] is selected as a forward reference
picture from among the candidate pictures P7, Plo, and B9. Then,
the target block is decoded with reference to the candidate
picture Plo as a forward reference picture, and the picture P13
as a backward reference picture.
As described above, according to the fourth embodiment, the
reference picture memory 207 is managed as shown in figure 24,
that is, memory management is carried out using, as the reference
picture indices of the respective candidate pictures, those
obtained by changing the reference picture indices assigned by
the default assignment method, according to the coding status.
Therefore, it is possible to realize a decoding method adaptive
to a coding method in which the reference picture indices of the
candidate pictures are rewritten according to the coding
efficiency.
That is, since, in the second embodiment, a smaller
reference picture index is given to a reference candidate picture
that is timewise closer to the target picture, only the picture
Bll that is timewise closest to the target picture B12 can be
used as a reference picture in the direct mode. In this fourth
embodiment, however, a picture other than the picture Bll closest
to the target picture B12 can be used as a forward reference
picture.
Further, in this case, since the picture to be referred to
in decoding a block in the picture B12 in the direct mode is not
the picture Bll but the picture BIO, decoding of the picture Bll
becomes unnecessary. Accordingly, as shown in figure 25(a), a B
picture immediaTcly after a P picture can be processed without
decoding it, whereby speedup of decoding is achieved when the
picture Bll is not necessary. Further, since decoding can be
carried out even when the data of the picture Bll is lost due to
transmission error or the like, reliability of decoding is
improved.
As described above, when a reference picture index to be
assigned to each reference candidate picture is arbitrarily
selected according to the coding status to intentionally
determine a picture to be referred to in the direct mode, a
predetermined picture can be processed without decoding it as
shown in figure 25(a).
Furthermore, even when three B pictures are placed between P
pictures as shown in figure 25(b), a predetermined picture can be
processed without decoding it. Therefore, if a picture that is
not needed by the user is previously known at the coding end,
such picture can be omitted to reduce the processing time for
decoding.
In figure 25(b), even when the picture B3 is not decoded,
other pictures can be decoded.
That is, since, in the second embodiment, the picture B4 is
decoded with reference to the picture B3 in the direct mode, the
picture B3 must be decoded. In this fourth embodiment, however,
since a picture to be referred to in the direct mode is
arbitrarily set at the coding end, decoding of the picture B3 can
be dispensed with.
Furthermore, when the target block is processed in the
direct mode at the decoding end, since the forward reference
candidate picture to which the reference picture index [0] is
assigned is immediaTcly used as a reference picture, decoding
time can be reduced.
While in the first to fourth embodiments a B picture is not
referred to when coding or decoding a P picture, a B picture may
be referred to when coding or decoding a P picture.
Further, while in the first to fourth embodiments a time-
basis distance between pictures is calculated according to the
display times of the respective pictures, it may be calculated
according to information other than time information such as the
display times of pictures.
For example, a counter value that is incremented every time
a picture is processed is set, and a time-basis distance between
pictures may be calculated according to this count value.
To be specific, when time information is included in both of
a video stream and an audio stream corresponding to a single
contents, it is not easy to manage video data and audio data on
the basis of the time information so as to maintain
synchronization between these data, because a unit of time
information is small. However, management considering
synchronization between video data and audio data is facilitated
by managing arrangement of the respective pictures with the
counter value.
Furthermore, in the first to fourth embodiments, a header
section and a data section in a data processing unit, such as a
GOP or a picture, are not separated from each other, and they are
included in a bit stream corresponding to each data processing
unit to be transferred. However, the header section and the data
section may be separated from each other to be transferred in
different streams.
For example, when a stream is transferred in units of data
transfer such as packets into which the stream is divided, a
header section and a data section corresponding to a picture may
be transferred separaTcly from each other. In this case, the
header section and the data section are not always included in
the same stream. However, in data transfer using packets, even
when the header section and the data section are not continuously
transferred, the corresponding header section and data section
are merely transferred in different packets, and the relationship
between the corresponding header section and data section is
stored in header information of each packet, and therefore, it is
substantially identical to that the header section and the data
section are included in the same bit stream.
Furthermore, while in the first to fourth embodiments the
reference picture indices are used as information for identifying
which one of plural reference candidate pictures is referred to
in coding a target block, the reference picture indices may be
used as information indicating the positions of plural forward
reference candidate pictures for a target picture to be coded or
decoded. To be specific, in the reference picture index
assignment methods according to the first and second embodiments
or the default assignment methods according to the third and
fourth embodiments, reference picture indices are assigned to the
plural forward reference candidate pictures such that a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture closer
to the target picture, and therefore, the position of each
forward reference candidate picture (i.e., the ordinal rank of
each forward reference candidate picture in nearness to the
target picture, among all forward reference candidate pictures)
can be detected according to the reference picture index assigned
to the forward reference candidate picture.
Furthermore, position identification information indicating
the positions of the respective pictures constituting a moving
picture on the display time axis may be included in the bit
stream corresponding to the moving picture, separaTcly from the
reference picture indices indicating the relative positions of
the forward reference candidate pictures. The position
identification information is different from the time information
indicating the display times of pictures, and it is information
A.
specifying the relative positions of the respective pictures.
Moreover, in the first to fourth embodiments, a picture that
is to be backward referred to when coding a block in a target
picture to be coded or decoded (backward reference picture for a
target picture) is used as a base picture in the direct mode.
However, a base picture to be used in the direct mode may be an
already-processed picture other than the backward reference
picture for the target picture, e.g., a picture to be forward
referred to when coding the block in the target picture.
[Embodiment 5]
Figure 27 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus 50 according to a fifth embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture coding apparatus 50 according to the
fifth embodiment is different from the moving picture coding
apparatus lo according to the first embodiment in candidate
pictures for forward reference pictures to be referred to when
coding a P picture and a B picture, and coding modes for a B
picture.
That is, the moving picture coding apparatus 50 is provided
with, instead of the control unit 1lo and the mode selection unit
lo9 according to the first embodiment, a control unit 150 and a
mode selection unit 159 which operate in different manners from
those described for the first embodiment.
To be specific, the control unit 150 according to the fifth
embodiment controls a reference picture memory 117 in such a
manner that, when coding a P picture, four pictures (I or P
pictures) which are positioned forward the P picture are used as
candidate pictures for forward reference, and when coding a B
picture, four pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned
forward the B picture, a forward B picture that is closest to the
B picture, and a backward I or P picture are used as candidate
pictures.
Further, when coding a block (target block) in a P picture,
the mode selection unit 159 according to the fifth embodiment
selects, as a coding mode for the target block, one from among
the intra-picture coding, the inter-picture predictive coding
using a motion vector, and the inter-picture predictive coding
using no motion vector (a motion is treated as zero). When
coding a block (target block) in a B picture, the mode selection
unit 159 selects, as a coding mode for the target block, one from
among the intra-picture coding, the inter-picture predictive
coding using a forward motion vector, the inter-picture
predictive coding using backward motion vector, and the inter-
picture predictive coding using a forward motion vector and a
backward motion vector. That is, the mode selection unit 159 of
the moving picture coding apparatus 50 according to this fifth
embodiment is different from the mode selection unit lo9 of the
moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the first
embodiment only in that it does not use the direct mode, and
therefore, the moving picture coding apparatus 50 does not have
the motion vector storage unit 116 of the moving picture coding
apparatus lo.
Further, the moving picture coding apparatus 50 according to
the fifth embodiment is identical to the moving picture coding
apparatus lo according to the first embodiment except the coding
control unit 150 and the mode selection unit 159.
Next, the operation will be described.
Input pictures are stored in the input picture memory lo1,
in units of pictures in order of display times. As shown in
figure 29(a), input pictures P0, Bl, B2, P3, B4, B5, P6, B7, B8,
P9, Blo, Bll, P12, B13, B14, P15, B16, B17, and P18 are stored in
the input picture memory lo1 in order of display times.
The respective pictures stored in the input picture memory
lo1 are rearranged in coding order as shown in figure 29(b).
This rearrangement is carried out according to the relationships
between target pictures and reference pictures during inter-
picture predictive coding. That is, rearrangement of the input
pictures is carried out such that a second picture to be used as
a candidate for a reference picture when coding a first picture
should be coded prior to the first picture.
In this fifth embodiment, when coding a P picture (target
picture), four pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned
timewise forward and close to the target picture are used as
candidates for a reference picture. Further, when coding a B
picture, four pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned
timewise forward and close to the target picture, a B picture
which is positioned timewise forward and closest to the target
picture, and an I or P picture which is positioned timewise
backward and closest to the target picture, are used as
candidates for a reference picture.
The respective pictures rearranged in the input picture
memory lo1 are read out for each unit of motion compensation. In
this fifth embodiment, the unit of motion compensation is a
rectangle area (macroblock) in which pixels are arranged in
matrix, having a size of 16 pixels in the horizontal direction X
16 pixels in the vertical direction. In the following
description, a macroblock is simply referred to as a block.
Hereinafter, coding processes for the pictures P15, B13, and
B14 will be described in this order.
(Coding Process for Picture P15>
Since the picture P15 is a P picture, this picture is
subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using forward
reference. Further, in coding a P picture, no B picture is used
as a reference picture.
Figure 28 shows the manner of picture management in the
reference picture memory 117.
For example, at start of coding the picture P15, in the
reference picture memory 117, the pictures P12, Bll, P9, P6, and
P3 are stored in memory areas to which logical memory numbers are
assigned, in ascending order of the logical memory numbers.
These pictures have already been coded, and the image data stored
in the reference picture memory 117 are image data which have
been decoded in the moving picture coding apparatus 50.
Hereinafter, for simplification, a picture whose image data is
stored in the memory is referred to as a picture stored in the
memory.
The reference candidate pictures stored in the reference
picture memory 117 are assigned reference picture indices under
control of the coding control unit 150. The assignment of
reference picture indices is carried out not in order of picture
coding but in order of display times. To be specific, a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a newer reference
candidate picture, i.e., a reference candidate picture which is
later in display order. However, in coding a P picture, no
reference picture indices are assigned to B pictures. Further,
in coding a B picture, a newest reference candidate picture is
assigned a code [b] indicating that this picture should be
treated as a backward reference picture.
According to the above-mentioned reference picture index
determining method, as shown in figure 28, reference picture
indices [0], [1], [2], and [3] are assigned to the pictures P12,
P9, P6, and P3, respectively, and no reference picture index is
assigned to the picture Bll.
By the way, in coding a P picture, the coding control unit
150 controls the respective switches so that the switches 113,
114, and 115 are turned ON. A block in the picture P15 that is
read from the input picture memory lo1 is input to the motion
vector detection unit lo8, the mode selection unit lo9, and the
difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a motion vector
of the block in the picture P15, using the pictures P12, P9, P6,
and P3 to which the reference picture indices are assigned, among
the pictures stored in the input picture memory 117. In this
case, an optimum reference candidate picture is selected from
among the pictures P12, P9, P6, and P3, and detection of the
motion vector is carried out with reference to the selected
reference picture. Then, the detected motion vector is output to
the mode selection unit 159 and the bit stream generation unit
lo4. Further, information Rp indicating which one of the
pictures P12, P9, P6, and P3 is referred to in detecting the
motion vector, i.e., the reference picture index, is also output
to the mode selection unit 159.
The mode selection unit 159 determines a coding mode for the
block in the picture P15, using the motion vector detected by the
motion vector detection unit lo8. The coding mode indicates a
method for coding the block. For example, for a block in a P
picture, a coding mode is selected from among the intra-picture
coding, the inter-picture predictive coding using a motion vector,
and the inter-picture predictive coding using no motion vector
(i.e., motion is regarded as 0). Generally, selection of a
coding mode is carried out so that coding error at a
predetermined amount of bits is minimized.
The coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection unit 159
is output to the bit stream generation unit lo4. Further, when
the determined coding mode is the coding mode which performs
forward reference, the reference picture index is also output to
the bit stream generation unit lo4.
Further, a prediction image Pd which is obtained on the
basis of the coding mode determined by the mode selection unit
152 is output to the difference calculation unit lo2 and the
addition unit lo6. However, when the intra-picture coding is
selected, no prediction image Pd is outputted. Further, when the
intra-picture coding is selected, the switch 111 is controlled so
that the input terminal Ta is connected to the output terminal
Tb2, and the switch 112 is controlled so that the output terminal
Td is connected to the input terminal Tc2.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where the
inter-picture predictive coding is selected in the mode selection
unit lo9. Since the operations of the difference calculation
unit lo2, prediction error coding unit lo3, bit stream generation
unit lo4, and prediction error decoding unit lo5 are identical to
those mentioned for the first embodiment, repeated description is
not necessary.
When coding of all blocks in the picture P15 is completed,
the coding control unit 150 updates the logical memory numbers
and the reference picture indices corresponding to the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 117.
That is, since the coded picture P15 is later in the order
of display times than any pictures stored in the reference
picture memory 117, the picture P15 is stored in the memory area
in which the logical memory number (0) is set. Then, the logical
memory numbers of the memory areas where other reference pictures
have already been stored are incremented by 1. Further, since
the next target picture to be coded is the picture B13 that is a
B picture, a reference picture index is also assigned to the
picture Bll. Thereby, the pictures P15, P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3
are stored in the memory areas in which the logical memory
numbers (0)—(5) are set, respectively, and the reference picture
indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4] are assigned to the pictures
P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3, respectively. Since the next target
picture is a B picture, the picture P15 stored in the memory area
of the logical memory number 0 is assigned a code [b] indicating
that this picture is treated as a backward reference picture,
instead of the reference picture index.
(Coding Process for Picture B13>
Since the picture B13 is a B picture, this picture is
subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using bidirectional
reference. In this .case, four I or P pictures which are timewise
close to the target picture and a B picture which is timewise
closest to the target picture are used as candidate pictures for
forward reference, and an I or P picture which is timewise
closest to the target picture is used as a candidate picture for
backward reference. Accordingly, the candidate pictures for
forward reference for the picture B13 are the pictures P12, Bll,
P9, P6, and P3, and the candidate picture for backward reference
for the picture B13 is the picture P15. These reference
candidate pictures are stored in the reference picture memory 117.
These reference candidate pictures are assigned logical memory
numbers and reference picture indices as shown in figure 28.
In coding a B picture, the coding control unit 150 controls
the respective switches so that the switches 113, 114, and 115
are turned ON. Accordingly, a block in the picture Bll that is
read from the input picture memory lo1 is input to the motion
vector detection unit lo8, the mode selection unit lo9, and the
difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector of the block in the
picture B13, using the pictures P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3 stored
in the reference picture memory 117, as candidate pictures for
forward reference, and the picture P15 as a candidate picture for
backward reference. In this case, an optimum picture is selected
from among the pictures P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3, and detection
of the forward motion vector is carried out with reference to the
selected picture. Then, the detected motion vector is output to
the mode selection unit 159 and the bit stream generation unit
lo4. Further, information Rp indicating which one of the
pictures P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3 is referred to in detecting the
forward motion vector, i.e., the reference picture index, is also
output to the mode selection unit 159.
The operations of the mode selection unit 150, difference
calculation unit lo2, bit stream generation unit lo4, and
prediction error decoding unit lo5 are identical to those for
coding the picture P15.
When coding of all blocks in the picture B13 is completed,
the coding control unit 150 updates the logical memory numbers
and the reference picture indices corresponding to the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 117.
That is, since the picture B13 is positioned, in order of
display times, before the picture P15 stored in the reference
picture memory 117 and after the picture P12 stored in the
reference picture memory 17, the picture B13 is stored in the
memory area in which the logical memory number (1) is set.
Further, since the picture Bll is not used as a reference picture
in coding the subsequent pictures, the picture Bll is deleted.
At this time, information indicating that the picture Bll is
deleted from the reference picture memory is output to the bit
stream generation unit lo4 as a control signal Csl. The bit
stream generation unit lo4 describes this information as header
information in the bit stream. Further, the logical memory
number of the memory area corresponding to the picture P12 is
incremented by 1.
The next target picture to be coded is the picture B14 as a
B picture. Accordingly, the picture stored in the memory area
with the logical memory number (0) is used as a backward
reference picture, and reference picture indices are assigned to
the other pictures. Thereby, the pictures P15, B13, P12, P9, P6,
and P3 are stored in the memory areas corresponding to the
logical memory numbers (0)~(5), respectively, and the reference
picture indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4] are assigned to the
pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3, respectively.
(Coding Process for Picture B14)
Since the picture B14 is a B picture, this picture is
subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using bidirectional
reference. As reference pictures for the picture B14, the
pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3 are used as forward reference
pictures while the picture P15 is used as a backward reference
picture. In processing a B picture, the coding control unit 150
controls the respective switches so that the switches 113, 114,
and 115 are turned ON. Accordingly, a block in the picture B14
that is read from the input picture memory lo1 is input to the
motion vector detection unit lo8, the mode selection unit lo9,
and the difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector of the block in the
picture B14, using the pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3 stored
in the reference picture memory 117 as candidate pictures for
forward reference as well as the picture P15 as a candidate
picture for backward reference. In this case, an optimum picture
is selected from among the pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3, and
detection of the forward motion vector is carried out with
reference to the selected picture. Then, the detected motion
vector is output to the mode selection unit 159 and the bit
stream generation unit lo4. Further, information Rp indicating
which one of the pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3 is referred to
in detecting the forward motion vector, i.e., the reference
picture index, is also output to the mode selection unit 159.
The operations of the mode selection unit 150, difference
calculation unit lo2, bit stream generation unit lo4, prediction
error decoding unit lo5, and addition unit lo6 are similar to
those for coding the picture P15.
When coding of all blocks in the picture B14 is completed,
the coding control unit 150 updates the logical memory numbers
and the reference picture indices corresponding to the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 117.
That is, since the picture B14 is positioned, in order of
display times, before the picture P15 stored in the reference
picture memory 117, and later than the picture B13 stored in the
reference picture memory 117, the picture B14 is stored in the
memory area in which the logical memory number (1) is set.
Further, since the picture B13 is not used as a reference picture
in coding the subsequent pictures, the picture B13 is deleted.
At this time, information indicating that the picture B13 is
deleted from the reference picture memory is output to the bit
stream generation unit lo4 as a control signal Cdl. The bit
stream generation unit lo4 describes this information as header
information in the bit stream.
The next target picture to be coded is the picture PI8 that
is a P picture. Accordingly, reference picture indices are
assigned to the pictures other than B pictures. Thereby, the
pictures P15, B14, P12, P9, and P6 are stored in the memory areas
corresponding to the logical memory numbers (0)~(5),
respectively, and the reference picture indices [0], [1], [2],
and [3] are assigned to the pictures P15, P12, P9, and P6,
respectively.
As described above, according to the fifth embodiment,
plural candidate pictures for forward reference for a target
picture to be coded are assigned reference picture indices such
that a smaller index is assigned to a candidate picture whose
display time is later (i.e., information for identifying which
one of the candidate pictures is used in detecting the forward
motion vector of the target block). Therefore, a candidate
picture which is most likely to be selected as a reference
picture among the plural candidate pictures is assigned a smaller
reference picture index. Accordingly, the amount of codes of the
reference picture indices can be minimized, resulting in an
increase in coding efficiency.
Hereinafter, the effects of this fifth embodiment will be
described taking a case where coding of a B picture is carried
out using another B pictures as a reference candidate picture,
together with the problems of the prior art.
For example, it is assumed that pictures of a moving picture
are arranged in display order as shown in figure 29(a), and four
P pictures and one B picture are used as candidate pictures for
forward reference in coding a target picture.
Figure 30 shows an example of management of pictures stored
in the reference picture memory. The candidate pictures are
stored in coding order, in the memory.
When coding the picture P15, in the reference picture memory,
the pictures Bll, P12, P9, P6, and P3 are stored in the memory
areas, in ascending order of the logical memory numbers. Further
these candidate pictures are assigned the reference picture
indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4], respectively. Therefore, a
reference picture index is assigned to a B picture (picture Bll
in this case) which is not used as a reference picture in coding
a P picture, and the reference picture index not to be used
causes degradation in coding efficiency.
Further, when coding the picture B13, in the reference
picture memory, the pictures P15, Bll, P12, P9, P6, and P3 are
stored in the memory areas, in ascending order of the logical
memory numbers. The picture P15 is assigned a code [b]
indicating that this picture is used as a backward reference
picture, and the remaining pictures are assigned the reference
picture indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4], respectively.
Therefore, the reference picture index assigned to the picture
Bll that is timewise far from the picture B13 (target picture) is
smaller than the reference picture index assigned to the picture
P12 that is timewise close to the target picture B13. In
performing motion detection, generally, a candidate picture that
is timewise closer to a target picture is more likely tc be used
as a reference picture. Accordingly, when the reference picture
index of the picture Bll that is far from the target picture is
smaller than the reference picture index of the picture P12 that
is close to the target picture, coding efficiency is degraded.
Furthermore, when coding the picture B14, in the reference
picture memory, the pictures B13, P15, Bll, P12, P9, and P6 are
stored in the memory areas, in ascending order of the logical
memory numbers. The picture B13 is assigned a code [b]
indicating that this picture is used as a backward reference
picture, and the remaining pictures are assigned the reference
picture indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4], respectively.
Therefore, the picture P15 which should actually be used as a
candidate picture for backward reference for the picture B14, is
used as a candidate picture for forward reference. Moreover, the
picture B13 which should actually be used as a candidate picture
for forward reference for the picture B14, is used as a candidate
picture for backward reference. As a result, it becomes
difficult to perform correct coding. Further, in coding the
picture B14, the picture Bll which is not used as a reference
picture exists in the reference picture memory.
On the other hand, according to the fifth embodiment of the
invention, as shown in figure 28, the reference candidate
pictures for the target picture are stored in display order in
the reference picture memory, and the candidate pictures for
forward reference are assigned the reference picture indices such
that a candidate picture whose display time is later is assigned
a smaller reference picture index, and therefore, a candidate
picture which is more likely to be selected as a reference
picture from among the candidate pictures is assigned a smaller
reference picture index. Thereby, the amount of codes of the
reference picture indices can be minimized, resulting in an
increase in coding efficiency.
Further, since, in coding a P picture, no reference picture
indices are assigned to B pictures, occurrence of reference
picture indices that will never be used is avoided, resulting in
a further increase in coding efficiency.
Moreover, when coding a B picture, no reference picture
index is assigned to the picture that is stored in the memory
area corresponding to the smallest logical memory number, and
this picture is used as a backward reference picture. Therefore,
in predictive coding of a B picture, a P picture to be used as a
backward reference picture is prevented from being used as a
forward reference picture.
Further, when a picture that is not used as a reference
picture is deleted from the reference picture memory, information
indicating this deletion is described in the bit stream.
Therefore, the decoding end can detect that the picture which is
not to be used as a reference picture in decoding a target
picture and the following pictures, is deleted from the reference
picture memory.
In this fifth embodiment, motion compensation is performed
in units of image spaces (macroblocks) each comprising 16 pixels
in the horizontal direction X 16 pixels in the vertical
direction, and coding of a prediction error image is performed in
units of image spaces (subblocks) each comprising 8 pixels in the
horizontal direction X 8 pixels in the vertical direction.
However, the number of pixels in each macroblock (subblock) in
motion compensation (coding of a prediction error image) may be
different from that described for the fifth embodiment.
Further, while in this fifth embodiment the number of
continuous B pictures is two, the number of continuous B pictures
may be three or more.
Further, while in this fifth embodiment four pictures are
used as candidate pictures for a forward reference picture in
coding a P picture, the number of forward reference candidate
pictures for a P picture may be other than four.
Furthermore, while in this fifth embodiment four P pictures
and one B picture are used as candidate pictures for a forward
reference picture in coding a B picture, forward reference
candidate pictures for a B picture are not restricted thereto.
Furthermore, in this fifth embodiment, each of plural
pictures constituting a moving picture, which is a target picture
to be coded, is used as a reference picture when coding another
picture that follows the target picture. However, the plural
pictures constituting a moving picture may include pictures not
to be used as reference pictures. In this case, the pictures not
to be used as reference pictures are not stored in the reference
picture memory, whereby the same effects as described for the
fifth embodiment can be achieved.
Furthermore, while in this fifth embodiment coding of a B
picture is carried out using another B picture as a reference
candidate picture, coding of a B picture may be carried out
without referring to another B picture. In this case, no B
pictures are stored in the reference picture memory. Also in
this case, the same effects as described for the fifth embodiment
can be achieved by assigning reference picture indices according
to the order of picture display times.
Furthermore, while in this fifth embodiment a single system
of reference picture indices are assigned, different systems of
reference picture indices may be assigned in the forward
direction and the backward direction, respectively.
Moreover, while in this fifth embodiment a smaller reference
picture index is assigned to a candidate picture for forward
reference whose display time is later, the reference picture
index assignment method is not restricted thereto so long as a
smaller reference picture index is assigned to a candidate
picture that is more likely to be selected as a reference picture.
Figure 31 is a conceptual diagram illustrating the structure
of a bit stream (format of a coded image signal) corresponding to
pictures to which reference picture indices are assigned.
A coded signal Pt equivalent to one picture includes header
information Hp placed at the beginning of the picture, and a data
section Dp that follows the header information Hp. The header
information Hp includes a control signal (RPSL). The data
section Dp includes coded data (bit stream) corresponding to each
block.
For example, a bit stream BLx is a bit stream of a block
that is coded in intra-picture coding mode, and a bit stream BLy
is a bit stream of a block that is coded in inter-picture
predictive coding mode other than intra-picture coding mode.
The block bit stream BLx includes header information Hbx,
information Prx relating to a coding mode, and coded image
information Dbx. The block bit stream BLy includes header
information Hby, information Pry relating to a coding mode, first
reference picture index Rld1, a second reference picture index
Rld2, a first motion vector MV1, a second motion vector MV2, and
coded image information Dby. Which of the first and second
reference picture indices Rldl and Rld2 should be used is
determined from the information Pry relating to the coding mode.
A reference picture index Rldl is assigned to a forward
reference candidate picture with priority over a backward
reference candidate picture. A reference picture index Rld2 is
assigned to a backward reference candidate picture with priority
over a forward reference candidate picture.
[Embodiment 6]
Figure 32 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus 60 according to a sixth embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 60 according to the
sixth embodiment decodes the bit stream Bs outputted from the
moving picture coding apparatus 50 according to the fifth
embodiment.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 60 is different from
the moving picture decoding apparatus 20 according to the second
embodiment in candidate pictures for forward reference pictures
to be referred to when coding a P picture and a B picture, and
coding modes for a B picture.
That is, the moving picture decoding apparatus 60 is
provided with, instead of the memory control unit 204 and the
mode decoding unit 223 according to the second embodiment, a
memory control unit 264 and a mode decoding unit 2 63 which
operate in different manners from those described for the second
embodiment.
To be specific, the memory control unit 2 64 according to the
sixth embodiment controls a reference picture memory 207 such
that, when decoding a P picture, four pictures (I or P pictures)
which are positioned forward the P picture are used as candidate
pictures for forward reference, and when decoding a B picture,
four pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned forward the
B picture, a forward B picture that is closest to the B picture,
and a backward I or P picture are used as candidate pictures.
Further, when decoding a block (target block) in a P picture,
the mode decoding unit 263 according to the sixth embodiment
selects, as a coding mode for the target block, one from among
plural modes as follows: intra-picture decoding, inter-picture
predictive decoding using a motion vector, and inter-picture
predictive decoding using no motion vector (a motion is treated
as zero). When decoding a block (target block) in a B picture,
the mode decoding unit 263 selects, as a decoding mode for the
target block, one from among plural modes as follows: intra-
picture decoding, inter-picture predictive decoding using a
forward motion vector, inter-picture predictive decoding using
backward motion vector, and inter-picture predictive decoding
using a.forward motion vector and a backward motion vector.
That is, the mode decoding unit 263 of the moving picture
decoding apparatus 60 according to this sixth embodiment is
different from the mode decoding unit 223 of the moving picture
decoding apparatus 2C according to the second embodiment only in
that it does not use a decoding process corresponding to the
direct mode, and therefore, the moving picture decoding apparatus
60 does not have the motion vector storage unit 226 of the moving
picture decoding apparatus 20.
Further, the moving picture decoding apparatus 60 according
to the sixth embodiment is identical to the moving picture
decoding apparatus 20 according to the second embodiment except
the memory control unit 264 and the mode decoding unit 2 63.
Next, the operation of the moving picture decoding apparatus
60 will be described.
The bit stream Bs outputted from the moving picture coding
apparatus 50 according to the fifth embodiment is input to the
moving picture decoding apparatus 60 shown in figure 32. In the
bit stream Bs, each P picture has been subjected to inter-picture
predictive coding, using four I or P pictures which are
positioned timewise forward and close to the P picture, as
reference candidate pictures. Further, each B picture has been
coded using four P pictures which are positioned timewise forward
and closest to the B picture, a B picture which is positioned
timewise forward the B picture, and an I or P picture which is
positioned timewise backward and closest to the B picture.
In this case, the order of the pictures in the bit stream is
as shown in figure 29(b).
Hereinafter, decoding processes for the pictures ?15, B13,
and B14 will be described in this order.
(Decoding Process for Picture P15)
The bit stream of the picture P15 is input to the bit stream
analysis unit 201. The bit stream analysis unit 201 extracts
various kinds of data from the inputted bit stream Bs. The
various kinds of data are information such as a coding mode, a
motion vector, and the like. The extracted information for mode
selection (coding mode) Ms is output to the mode decoding unit
263. Further, the extracted motion vector MV is output to the
motion compensation decoding unit 205. Furthermore, the
prediction error coded data Ed is output to the prediction error
decoding unit 202.
The mode decoding unit 263 controls the switches 209 and 2lo
with reference to the coding mode Ms extracted from the bit
stream. When the coding mode is inter-picture coding, the switch
209 is controlled such that the input terminal Te is connected to
the output terminal Tfl, and the switch 2lo is controlled such
that the output terminal Th is connected to tha input terminal
Tgl. When the coding mode is inter-picture predictive coding,
the switch 209 is controlled such that the input terminal Te is
connected to the output terminal Tfl, and the switch 2lo is
controlled such that the output terminal Th is connected to the
input terminal Tg2.
Further, the mode decoding unit 263 outputs the coding mode
Ms also to the motion compensation decoding unit 205.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of the case where
the coding mode is inter-picture predictive coding.
The prediction error decoding unit 202 decodes the inputted
coded data Ed to generate prediction error data PDd. The
generated prediction error data PDd is output to the switch 209.
Since the input terminal Te of the switch 209 is connected to the
output terminal Tfl, the prediction error data PDd is output to
the addition unit 208.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates a motion
compensation image from the inputted information such as the
motion vector. The information inputted to the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 is the motion vector MV and the
reference picture index Rp. The motion compensation decoding
unit 205 obtains a motion compensation image (prediction image)
from the reference picture memory 207, on the basis of the
inputted information. The picture P15 has been coded using the
pictures P12, P9, P6, and P3 as candidates for a reference
picture, and these candidate pictures have already been decoded
and are stored in the reference picture memory 207.
Figure 28 shows the pictures stored in the reference picture
memory 207. As shown in figure 28, when decoding the picture P15,
the pictures P12,B11, P9, P6, and P3 are stored in thr reference
picture memory 207.
The memory control unit 264 assigns reference picture
indices to the reference candidate pictures stored in the
reference picture memory 117. This assignment of reference
picture indices is carried according to the order of picture
display times such that a smaller reference picture index is
assigned to a newer reference candidate picture. In decoding a P
picture, no reference picture indices are assigned to B pictures.
Accordingly, reference picture indices [0], [1], [2], and [3] are
assigned to the pictures P12, P9, P6, and P3, respectively, and
no reference picture index is assigned to the picture Bll.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 determines which
one of the pictures P12, P9, P6, and P3 is used as a reference
picture when coding the target block, from the reference picture
indices. Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains
a prediction image (prediction data Pd) from the reference
picture memory 207 on the basis of the determined reference
picture and the motion vector to generate a motion compensation
image. The motion compensation image so generated is input to
the addition unit 208.
The addition unit 208 adds the prediction error data PDd and
the motion compensation image to generate a decoded image (data
Ad) . The decoded image so generated is output through the switch
2lo to the reference picture memory 207.
When all of the macroblocks in the picture P15 have been
decoded, the memory control unit 264 updates the logical memory
numbers and the reference picture indices corresponding to the
pictures stored in the reference picture memory 207.
At this time, since, in order of time, the picture P15 is
later than any pictures stored in the reference picture memory
117, the picture P15 is stored in the memory area in which the
logical memory number (0) is set. Then, the logical memory
numbers of the memory areas where other reference pictures have
already been stored are incremented by 1.
Further, since the next target picture to be decoded is the
picture B13, a reference picture index is assigned to the picture
Bll. Thereby, the pictures P15, P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3 are
stored in the memory areas in which the logical memory numbers
(0)~-(5) are set, respectively, and the reference picture indices
[0], tU, [2], [3], and [4] are assigned to the pictures P12, Bll,
P9, P6, and P3, respectively.
(Decoding Process for Picture B13>
Since the operations of the bit stream analysis unit 201,
the mode decoding unit 203, and the prediction error decoding
unit 202 are identical to those described for decoding of the
picture P15, repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates a motion
compensation image from the inputted information such as the
motion vector. The information inputted to the motion
compensation -decoding unit 205 is the motion vector and the
reference picture index. The picture B13 has been coded using
the pictures P12, Bll, P9, P6, and P3 as candidate pictures for
forward reference, and the picture P15 as a candidate picture for
backward reference. At decoding of the picture B13, these
candidate pictures have already been decoded and are stored in
the reference picture memory 207.
When the coding mode is forward predictive coding or
bidirectional predictive coding, the motion compensation decoding
unit 205 determines which one of the candidate pictures P12, Bll,
P9, P6, and P3 is used as a forward reference picture when coding
the picture B13, on the basis of the reference picture indices.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a forward
motion compensation image from the reference picture memory 207
on the basis of the determined reference picture and the motion
vector. When the coding mode is bidirectional predictive coding
or backward predictive coding, the motion compensation decoding
unit 205 obtains a backward motion compensation image from the
reference picture memory 207 on the basis of the determined
reference picture and the backward motion vector. Then, the
motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates a motion
compensation image (prediction picture) using the forward motion
compensation image and the backward motion compensation image.
The motion compensation image so generated is output to the
addition unit 208. The addition unit 208 adds the inputted
prediction error image and motion compensation image to generate
a decoded image. The decoded image so generated is output
through the switch 2lo to the reference picture memory 207.
When all of the blocks in the picture B13 have been decoded,
the memory control unit 2 64 updates the logical memory numbers
and the reference picture indices corresponding to the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 207. Since the picture
B13 is forward the picture P15 stored in the reference picture
memory 207 in the order of display times and it is later than the
picture P12 stored in the reference picture memory 207, the
picture B13 is stored in the memory area in which the logical
memory number (1) is set.
Further, information indicating that the picture Bll is to
be deleted from the reference picture memory is described in the
bit stream, the memory control unit 264 controls the reference
picture memory 207 so as to delete the picture Bll from the
memory.
Further, the logical memory number of the memory area where
the other reference candidate picture P12 is stored is
incremented by 1. Thereby, the pictures P15, B13, P12, P9, P6,
and P3 are stored in the memory areas in which the logical memory
numbers (0)~(5) are set, respectively, and the reference picture
indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4] are assigned to the pictures
B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3, respectively.
(Decoding Process for Picture B14>
Since the operations of the bit stream analysis unit 201,
the mode decoding unit 203, and the prediction error decoding
unit 202 are identical to those described for decoding of the
picture P15, repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates a motion
compensation image from the inputted information such as the
motion vector. The information inputted to the motion
compensation decoding unit 205 is the motion vector and the
reference picture index. The picture B14 has been coded using
the pictures B13, P12, P9, P6, and P3 as candidate pictures for
forward reference, and the picture P15 as a candidate picture for
backward reference. At decoding of the picture B14, these
candidate pictures have already been decoded and are stored in
the reference picture memory 207.
When the coding mode is forward predictive coding or
bidirectional predictive coding, the motion compensation decoding
unit 205 determines which one of the candidate pictures B13, P12,
P9, P6, and P3 is used as a forward reference picture when coding
the picture B14, on the basis of the reference picture indices.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a forward
motion compensation image from the reference picture memory 207
on the basis of the determined reference picture and the forward
motion vector. When the coding mode is bidirectional predictive
coding or backward predictive coding, the motion compensation
decoding unit 205 obtains a backward motion compensation image
from the reference picture memory 207 on the basis of the
determined reference picture and the backward motion vector.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates a
motion compensation image, using the forward motion compensation
image and the backward motion compensation image.
The motion compensation image so generated is output to the
addition unit 208. The addition unit 208 adds the inputted
prediction error image and motion compensation image to generate
a decoded image. The decoded image so generated is output
through the switch 2lo to the reference picture memory 207.
When all of the blocks in the picture B14 have been decoded,
the memory control unit 264 updates the logical memory numbers
and the reference picture indices corresponding to the pictures
stored in the reference picture memory 207. Since the picture
B14 is forward the picture P15 stored in the reference picture
memory 207 in the order of display times and it is later than the
picture B13 stored in the input picture memory 207, the picture
B14 is stored in the memory area in which the logical memory
number (1) is set. Further, since information indicating that
the picture B13 is to be deleted from the reference picture
memory is described in the bit stream, the memory control unit
264 controls the reference picture memory 207 so as to delete the
picture B13 from the memory.
Since the next target picture to be decoded is the picture
P18 that is a P picture, reference picture indices are assigned
to pictures other than B pictures. Thereby, the pictures P15,
B14, P12, P9, and P6 are stored in the memory areas in which the
logical memory numbers (0)~(5) are set, respectively, and the
reference picture indices [0], [1], [2], [3], and [4] are
assigned to the pictures P15, P12, P9, and P6, respectively.
Furthermore, the decoded pictures are outputted from the
reference picture memory 207, as output images arranged in order
of display times.
Thereafter, the subsequent pictures are similarly decoded
according to the picture type.
As described above, according to the sixth embodiment,
reference picture indices are assigned to plural candidate
pictures for forward reference for a target picture to be decoded
such that a smaller reference picture index is assigned to a
candidate picture whose display time is later (i.e., information
for identifying which candidate picture is referred to in
detecting a forward motion vector of a target block), and a
reference picture is determined from among the plural candidate
pictures on the basis of the reference picture indices included
in the bit stream of the target picture. Therefore, a smaller
reference picture index is assigned to a candidate picture that
is more likely to be used as a reference picture. Accordingly,
it is possible to correctly decode a bit stream which is obtained
by a highly-efficient coding method that can minimize the amount
of codes corresponding to the reference picture indices.
Further, since, in decoding a P picture, no reference
picture indices are assigned to B pictures, it is possible to
correctly decode a bit stream which is obtained by a highly-
efficient coding method that can avoid occurrence of reference
picture indices which will never be used.
Furthermore, since, in decoding a B picture, a picture
stored in a memory area on which a smallest logic memory number
is set is used as a backward reference picture and no reference
picture index is assigned to this picture, it is possible to
correctly decode a bit stream which is obtained by a highly-
efficient coding method that can prevent a P picture from being
used as a forward reference picture in predictive coding of a B
picture.
Moreover, when information indicating that a picture which
will never be used as a reference picture is deleted from the
reference picture memory, is described in the bit stream, the
reference picture is deleted from the reference picture memory
according to the information, whereby the reference picture
memory can be effectively used.
Further, in this sixth embodiment, as an arrangement of
plural pictures constituting a moving picture, an arrangement of
pictures in which two B pictures are placed between adjacent P
pictures. However, the number of B pictures placed between
adjacent P pictures may be other than two, for example, it may be
three or four.
Further, while in this sixth embodiment four pictures are
used as candidate pictures for forward reference for a P picture,
the number of forward reference candidate pictures for a P
picture may be other than four.
While in this sixth embodiment four P pictures and one B
picture are used as candidate pictures for forward reference for
a B picture, forward reference candidate pictures for a B picture
are not restricted thereto.
While in this sixth embodiment each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture is used as a reference picture when
decoding another picture that follows this picture, plural
pictures constituting a moving picture, which are to be decoded,
may include pictures which will never be used as reference
pictures. In this case, the pictures useless as reference
pictures are not stored in the reference picture memory, whereby
the same effects as described for the sixth embodiment can be
achieved.
While in this sixth embodiment decoding of a B picture is
carried out using another B picture as a reference candidate
picture, decoding of a B picture may be carried out without
referring to another B picture. In this case, no B pictures are
stored in the reference picture memory. Also in this case, the
same effects as described for the sixth embodiment can be
achieved by assigning reference picture indices according to the
order of picture display times.
While in this sixth embodiment, for simplification, a memory
for managing reference candidate pictures, and a memory for
rearranging decoded pictures in display order to output them are
not separated but described as a single reference picture memory,
the moving picture decoding apparatus 60 may be provided with a
management memory for managing reference candidate pictures, and
a rearrangement memory for rearranging decoded pictures in
display order, respectively.
In this case, the management memory is controlled by the
memory controller 264, and outputs reference candidate pictures
to the motion compensation decoding unit 205. Further, the
rearrangement memory rearranges the decoded pictures arranged in
decoding order, in display order, and sequentially outputs the
pictures.
Further, in this sixth embodiment, assignment of reference
picture indices to candidate pictures is carried out according to
a single rule, i.e., one system of reference picture indices are
used. However, two systems of reference picture indices may be
used, as described for the fifth embodiment.
[Embodiment 7]
Figure 33 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
coding apparatus 70 according to a seventh embodiment of the
present invention.
This moving picture coding apparatus 70 is different from
the moving picture coding apparatus lo according to the first
embodiment in candidate pictures for forward reference pictures
to be referred to when coding a P picture and a B picture, and
coding modes for a B picture.
That is, the moving picture coding apparatus 70 is provided
with, instead of the control unit 1lo and the mode selection unit
lo9 according to the first embodiment, a coding control unit 170
and a mode selection unit lo9 which operate in different manners
from those described for the first embodiment.
To be specific, the coding control unit 170 according to the
seventh embodiment controls a reference picture memory 117 such
that, when coding a P picture, three pictures (I or P pictures)
which are positioned forward the P picture are used as candidate
pictures for forward reference, and when coding a B picture, two
pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned forward the B
picture, a forward B picture that is closest to the B picture,
and a backward I or P picture are used as candidate pictures.
However, a B picture, which is positioned forward an I or P
picture that is positioned forward and closest to the target
picture, is not referred to.
The coding control unit 170 controls the bit stream
generation unit lo4 with a control signal Cd so that a flag
indicating whether or not a target picture is to be referred to
when coding subsequent pictures is inserted in the bit stream.
To be specific, the code generation unit lo4 is controlled with
the control signal Cd so that information indicating that data of
the target picture should be stored in the reference picture
memory 117 at decoding as well as information indicating a period
of time for the storage are added to the bit stream.
Furthermore/ when coding a block (target block) in a P
picture, the mode selection unit lo9 according to the seventh
embodiment selects, as a coding mode for the target block, one
from among plural modes as follows: intra-picture coding, inter-
picture predictive coding using a motion vector, and inter-
picture predictive coding using no motion vector (a motion is
treated as zero). When coding a block (target block) in a B
picture, the mode selection unit 179 selects, as a coding mode
for the target block, one from among plural modes as follows:
intra-picture coding, inter-picture predictive coding using a
forward motion vector, inter-picture predictive coding using
backward motion vector, and inter-picture predictive coding using
a forward motion vector and a backward motion vector. That is,
the mode selection unit 179 of the moving picture coding
apparatus 70 according to this seventh embodiment is different
from the mode selection unit lo9 of the moving picture coding
apparatus lo according to the first embodiment only in that it
does not use the direct mode, and therefore, the moving picture
coding apparatus 70 does not have the motion vector storage unit
116 of the moving picture coding apparatus lo. Other
constituents of the moving picture coding apparatus 70 according
to the seventh embodiment are identical to those of the moving
picture coding apparatus lo according to the first embodiment.
The moving picture coding apparatus 70 according to the
seventh embodiment is different from the moving picture decoding
apparatus 50 according to the fifth embodiment in that the coding
control unit 170 controls the bit stream generation unit lo4 so
that a flag indicating whether or not a target picture is to be
referred to when coding subsequent pictures is inserted in the
bit stream. To be specific, the code generation unit lo4 is
controlled with the control signal Cd so that a flag indicating
whether or not a target picture is to be referred to when coding
subsequent pictures is inserted in the bit stream corresponding
to the target picture. Further, the moving picture coding
apparatus 70 is different from the moving picture coding
apparatus 50 in candidate pictures to be referred to in coding a
P picture and a B picture. The moving picture coding apparatus
70 is identical to the moving picture coding apparatus 50 in
aspects other than those mentioned above.
Next, the operation of the moving picture coding apparatus
70 will be described.
Input image data Id are stored into the input picture memory
lo1, in units of pictures, in order of time.
Figure 34(a) shows the order of pictures inputted to the
input picture memory lo1.
As shown in figure 34 (a), the respective pictures are
successively inputted to the input picture memory lo1, starting
from a picture P1. In figure 34(a), pictures P1, P4, P7, Plo,
P13, P16, P19, and P22 are P pictures while pictures B2, B3, B5,
B6, B8, B9, Bll, B12, B14, P15, B17, P18, B20, and B21 are B
pictures.
When coding a P picture, three pictures (I or P pictures)
which are timewise forward and close to the P picture are used as
candidates for a reference picture. Further, when coding a B
picture, two pictures (I or P pictures) which are timewise
forward and close to the B picture, one B picture that is forward
and closest to the B picture, and an I or P picture that is
forward the B picture, are used as candidates for a reference
picture. However, in coding a B picture, a B picture which is
positioned forward an I or P picture that is timewise forward and
closest to the B picture is not referred to. When coding an I
picture, other pictures are not referred to.
The data Id of the respective pictures inputted to the input
picture memory lo1 are rearranged in coding order. Thereinafter
the data of each picture is referred to simply as a picture.
That is, the process of changing the order of the pictures
from input order to coding order is carried out on the basis of
the relationships between target pictures and reference pictures
in inter-picture predictive coding. In the rearrangement, the
respective pictures are rearranged so that a second picture to be
used as a candidate for a reference picture in coding a first
picture is coded prior to the first picture.
To be specific, the correspondences between the pictures Plo
~P13 and the reference candidate pictures are shown by arrows in
figure 34 (a) . That is, when coding the P picture Plo, the
pictures P1, P4, and P7 are referred to, and when coding the P
picture P13, the pictures P4, P7, and Plo are referred to.
Further, when coding the B picture Bll, the pictures P7, Plo, and
P13 are referred to, and when coding the B picture B12, the
pictures P7, Plo, Bll, and P13 are referred to.
Figure 34(b) shows the order of the pictures after
rearranging the pictures B2 to P22 shown in figure 34(a). After
the rearrangement, the respective pictures are arranged in order
of P4, B2, B3, P7, B5, B6, Plo, B8, B9, P13, Bll, B12, P16, B14,
B15, P19, B17, B18, and p22.
The respective pictures rearranged in the reference picture
memory lo1 are successively read out, for each predetermined data
processing unit, in order of coding times. In this seventh
embodiment, the data processing unit is a unit of data on which
motion compensation is carried out and, more specifically, it is
a rectangle image space (macroblock) in which 16 pixels are
arranged in both the horizontal direction and the vertical
direction. In the following description, a macroblock is simply
referred to as a block.
Hereinafter, coding processes for the pictures P13, Bll, and
B12 will be described in this order.
(Coding Process for Picture P13)
Since the picture P13 is a P picture, inter-picture
predictive coding using forward reference is carried out as a
coding process for the picture P13. In this case, three I or P
pictures which are positioned forward the target picture (picture
P13) are used as reference candidate pictures, and specifically,
the pictures P4, P7, and Plo are used. These reference candidate
pictures have already been coded, and the corresponding to
decoded image data Dd are stored in the reference picture memory
117.
In coding a P picture, the coding control unit 170 controls
the respective switches so that the switches 113, 114, and 115
are turned ON.
Data Md corresponding to a block in the picture P13, which
is read from the input picture memory lo1, is input to the motion
vector detection unit lo8, the mode selection unit 179, and the
difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects the motion
vector MV of the block in the picture P13, using the decoded
image data Rd of the pictures P4, P7, and Plo stored in the
reference picture memory 117. In this case, an optimum picture
is selected from among the pictures P4 P7, and Plo, and detection
of the motion vector is carried out with reference to the
selected picture. Then, the detected motion vector MV is output
to the mode selection unit 179 and the bit stream generation unit
lo4. Further, information indicating which one of the pictures
P4, P7, and Plo is referred to in detecting the motion vector MV
(reference picture information) is also output to the mode
selection unit 179.
The mode selection unit 179 determines a coding mode for the
block in the picture P13, using the motion vector detected by the
motion vector detection unit lo8.
To be specific, in the case of coding a P picture, a coding
mode is selected from among the following coding modes: intra-
picture coding, inter-picture predictive coding using a motion
vector, and an inter-picture predictive coding using no motion
vector (i.e., motion is regarded as 0) . In determining a coding
mode, generally, a coding mode which minimizes coding errors when
a predetermined amount of bits is given to the block as an amount
of codes, is selected.
The coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection unit 17 9
is output to the bit stream generation unit lo4. Further, when
the determined coding mode Ms is the coding mode which performs
forward reference, information indicating which one of the
pictures P4, P7, and Plo is referred to in detecting the forward
motion vector (forward motion vector) is also output to the bit
stream generation unit lo4.
Then, prediction image data Pd, which is obtained from the
reference picture according to the coding mode Ms that is
determined by the mode selection unit 179, is output to the
difference calculation unit lo2 and the addition unit lo6.
However, when the intra-picture coding mode is selected, no
prediction image data Pd is outputted. Further, when the intra-
picture coding is selected, the switches 111 and 112 are
controlled in the same manner as described for the fifth
embodiment.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where the
inter-picture predictive coding mode is selected as the coding
mode Ms.
The difference calculation unit lo2, the prediction error
coding unit lo3, the bit stream generation unit lo4, the
prediction error decoding unit lo5, and the coding control unit
170 are identical to those described for the fifth embodiment.
However, in this seventh embodiment, information indicating
that the picture P13 is coded using forward three I or P pictures
as reference candidate pictures, is added as header information
of the picture P13. Further, since the picture P13 will be
referred to when coding another picture, information (flag)
indicating that decoded data Dd corresponding to the picture P13
should be stored in the reference picture memory 117 at decoding,
is also added as header information of the picture P13. Further,
information indicating that the picture P13 should be stored in
the reference picture memory until decoding of the picture P22 is
completed, is also added as header information of the picture P13.
The storage period for the picture P13 may be indicated by
time information of the picture P22 (e.g., time-basis positional
information such as a picture number, decoding time information,
or display time information), or period information from the
picture P13 to the picture P22 (e.g., the number of pictures).
The header information described above may be described as header
information in picture units, i.e., as header information for
every target picture to be coded. Alternatively, it may be
described as header information of the entire sequence, or as
header information in units of frames (e.g., in units of GOPs in
MPEG).
When the coding mode for each block in the picture P13 is
one performing forward reference, information indicating which
one of the pictures P4, P7, and Plo is referred to in detecting
the forward motion vector (reference picture information) is also
added to the bit stream. For example, when the motion vector is
obtained with reference to the picture Plo, information
indicating that the P picture just previous to the target picture
is used as a reference picture (reference picture index) is added
to the bit stream. When the motion vector is obtained with
reference to the picture P7, information indicating that the P
picture two-pictures previous to the target picture is used as a
reference picture (reference picture index) is added to the bit
stream. When the motion vector is obtained with reference to the
picture P4, information indicating that the P picture three-
pictures previous to the target picture is used as a reference
picture (reference picture index) is added to the bit stream.
For example, a reference picture index [0] may be used to
indicate that the P picture just previous to the target picture
is used as a reference picture, a reference picture index [1] may
be used to indicate that the P picture two-pictures previous to
the target picture is used as a reference picture, and a
reference picture index [2] may be used to indicate that the P
picture three-pictures previous to the target picture is used as
a reference picture.
Further, information indicating that the P picture is
subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using three
reference candidate pictures is described as header information.
The remaining macroblocks in the picture P13 are coded in
like manner as described above. When all of the macroblocks in
the picture P13 have been coded, coding of the picture Bll takes
place.
(Coding Process for Picture Bll>
Since the picture Bll is a B picture, inter-picture
predictive coding using bidirectional reference is carried out as
a coding process for the picture Bll. In this case, two pictures
(I or P pictures) which are timewise close to the target picture
(picture Bll) and a B picture which is timewise closest to the
target picture are used as candidate pictures for forward
reference, and an I or P picture which is timewise closest to the
target picture is used as a candidate picture for backward
reference. However, a B picture which is positioned beyond an I
or P picture closest to the target picture is never be referred
to.
Accordingly, the pictures P7 and Plo are used as forward
reference pictures for the picture Bll, and the picture P13 is
used as a backward reference picture for the picture Bll. In
processing a first B picture between continuous two B pictures,
since this first B picture is used as a reference picture in
coding the other B picture, the coding control unit 170 controls
the respective switches so that the switches 113, 114, and 115
are turned ON. Accordingly, the image data Md corresponding to
the block in the picture Bll, which is read from the input
picture memory lo1, is input to the motion vector detection unit
lo8, the mode selection unit 179, and the difference calculation
unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector corresponding to the
target block in the picture Bll, with reference to the pictures
P7 and Plo stored in the reference picture memory 117, as
candidate pictures for forward reference, and the picture P13
stored in the reference picture memory 117, as a backward
reference picture. In this case, either the picture P7 or the
picture Plo is selected as a most suitable reference picture, and
detection of a forward motion vector is carried out according to
the selected picture. The detected motion vectors are output to
the mode selection unit 179 and the bit stream generation unit
lo4. Further, information indicating which one of the pictures
P7 and Plo is referred to in detecting the forward motion vector
(reference picture information) is also output to the mode
selection unit 179.
The mode selection unit 179 determines a coding mode for the
target block in the picture Bll, using the motion vectors
detected by the motion vector detection unit lo8. As a coding
mode for the B picture, one of the following coding modes is
selected: intra-picture coding mode, inter-picture predictive
coding mode using a forward motion vector, inter-picture
predictive coding mode using a backward motion picture, and
inter-picture predictive coding mode using bidirectional motion
vectors. Also in this case, a general method (mode) which
minimizes coding errors when a predetermined amount of bits are
given as the amount of codes, should be selected.
The coding mode determined by the mode selection unit 17 9 is
output to the bit stream generation unit lo4. Further,
prediction image data Pd, which is obtained from the reference
picture according to the coding mode Ms that is determined by the
mode selection unit 179, is output to the difference calculation
unit lo2 and the addition unit lo6. However, when the intra-
picture coding mode is selected by the mode selection unit 179,
* no prediction image data Pd is outputted. Further, when the
intra-picture coding is selected, the switches 111 and 112 are
controlled in the same manner as described for the coding process
of the picture P13.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where the
inter-picture predictive coding is selected by the mode selection
unit 179.
In this case, the operations of the difference calculation
unit lo2, the prediction error coding unit lo3, the bit stream
generation unit lo4, the prediction error decoding unit lo5, and
the coding control unit 170 are identical to those described for
the fifth embodiment.
When the coding mode is one performing forward reference,
information indicating which one of the pictures P7 and Plo is
referred to in detecting the forward motion vector (reference
picture information) is also added to the bit stream. For
example, when picture Plo is referred to, reference picture
information indicating that a candidate picture just previous to
the target picture is used as a reference picture is added to the
bit stream. When the picture P7 is referred to, reference
picture information indicating that a candidate picture two-
pictures previous to the target picture is used as a reference
picture is added to the bit stream. For example, a reference
picture index [0] may be used to indicate that a candidate
picture just previous to the target picture is used as a
reference picture, and a reference picture index [1] may be used
to indicate that a candidate picture two-pictures previous to the
target picture is used as a reference picture.
Further, in this case, information indicating that the
target B picture is subjected to inter-picture predictive coding
using a forward B picture as a reference picture is not added as
header information. Furthermore, information indicating that the
forward reference candidate pictures for the target B picture are
two I or P pictures and one B picture is added as header
information. Moreover, information indicating that a B picture,
which is positioned forward an I or P picture that is positioned
forward and closest to the target B picture, is not referred to
is added as header information.
Thereby, it is possible to know the capacity of a reference
picture memory that is needed in decoding the bit stream Bs
generated in the moving picture coding apparatus 70 according to
the seventh embodiment. The header information described above
may be described as header information in units of pictures, i.e.,
as header information for every target picture to be coded.
Alternatively, it may be described as header information of the
entire sequence, or as header information in units of several
pictures (e.g., in units of GOPs in MPEG).
Further, since the picture Bll is used as a reference
picture when coding a picture positioned backward the picture Bll,
information indicating that decoded image data Dd corresponding
to the picture Bll should be stored in the reference picture
memory 117 at decoding, is also added as header information.
Further, information indicating that the data Dd should be stored
in the reference picture memory 117 until decoding of the picture
B12 is completed, is also added as header information.
When all of the remaining blocks in the picture Bll have
been coded, coding of the picture B12 takes place.
(Coding Process for Picture B12)
Since the picture B12 is a B picture, inter-picture
predictive coding using bidirectional reference is carried out as
a coding process for the picture B12. In this case, two I or P
pictures which are timewise close to the target picture B12, and
a B picture which is timewise closest to the target picture B12
are used as candidate pictures for forward reference. Further,
an I or P picture which is timewise closest to the target picture
B12 is used as a candidate picture for backward reference. To be
specific, the pictures P7, Plo, and Bll are used as candidate
pictures for forward reference for the picture B12, and the
picture P13 is used as a backward reference picture for the
picture B12.
Since the picture B12 is not used as a reference picture
when coding another picture, the coding control unit 170 controls
the respective switches with the control signal Csl so that the
switch 113 is turned ON and the switches 114 and 115 are turned
OFF. Accordingly, the image data Md corresponding to the block
in the picture B12, which is read from the input picture memory
lo1, is input to the motion vector detection unit lo8, the mode
selection unit 179, and the difference calculation unit lo2.
The motion vector detection unit lo8 detects a forward
motion vector and a backward motion vector corresponding to the
macroblock in the picture B12, with reference to the pictures P7,
Plo, and Bll stored in the reference picture memory 117, as
forward reference pictures, and the picture P13 stored in the
reference picture memory 117, as a backward reference picture.
In this case, a most suitable reference picture is selected
from among the pictures P7, Plo, and Bll, and detection of a
forward motion vector is carried out according to the selected
picture. The detected motion vectors are output to the mode
selection unit 179 and the bit stream generation unit lo4.
Further, information indicating which one of the pictures P7, Plo,
and Bll is referred to in detecting the forward motion vector
(reference picture information) is also output to the mode
selection unit 179.
The mode selection unit 179 determines a coding mode for the
block in the picture B12, using the motion vectors detected by
the motion vector detection unit lo8. As a coding mode for the B
picture, one of the following coding modes is selected: intra-
picture coding mode, inter-picture predictive coding mode using a
forward motion vector, inter-picture predictive coding mode using
a backward motion picture, and inter-picture predictive coding
mode using bidirectional motion vectors.
The coding mode Ms determined by the mode selection unit 179
is output to the bit stream generation unit lo4. Further,
prediction image data Pd, which is obtained from the reference
picture according to the coding mode that is determined by the
mode selection unit 179, is output to the difference calculation
unit lo2 and the addition unit lo6. However, when the intra-
picture coding mode is selected, no prediction image data Pd is
output.
Further, when the intra-picture coding mode is selected by
the mode selection unit 179, the switches 111 and 112 are
controlled in the same manner as described for the coding process
of the picture P13.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of a case where the
inter-picture predictive coding mode is selected by the mode
selection unit 179.
In this case, the operations of the difference calculation
unit lo2, the prediction error coding unit lo3, the bit stream
generation unit lo4, the prediction error decoding unit lo5, and
the coding control unit 170 are identical to those described for
the fifth embodiment.
When the coding mode is one performing forward reference,
information indicating which one of the pictures P7, Plo, and Bll
is referred to in detecting the forward motion vector (reference
picture information) is also added to the bit stream.
Further, information indicating that the target B picture
B12 is subjected to inter-picture predictive coding using a
forward B picture Bll as a candidate for a reference picture is
described as header information. Furthermore, information
indicating that the candidate pictures for forward reference are
two I or P pictures and one B picture is described as header
information.
Moreover, information indicating that the picture B12 is not
to be used as a reference picture when coding the following
pictures is added as header information.
Thereby, it is easily determined that there is no necessity
to store the decoded image data Dd corresponding to the picture
B12 in the reference picture memory at decoding, whereby
management of the reference picture memory is facilitated.
The above-mentioned header information may be described as
header information in units of pictures, i.e., as header
information for every target picture to be coded. Alternatively,
it may be described as header information of the entire sequence,
or as header information in units of several pictures (e.g., in
units of GOPs in MPEG).
The remaining blocks in the picture B12 are coded in the
same manner as described above.
Thereafter, the image data corresponding to the respective
pictures following the picture B12 are coded in like manner as
described above according to the picture type. For example, P
pictures are processed like the picture P13, and the first B
picture of the continuous B pictures (picture B14, B17, or the
like) is processed like the picture Pll. Further, the second B
picture of the continuous B pictures (picture B15, B18, or the
like) is processed like the picture P12.
As described above, in the moving picture coding apparatus
70 according to the seventh embodiment, when coding a B picture
as a target picture, since a B picture is also used as a
candidate picture for forward reference as well as P pictures, a
forward reference picture that is positioned closest to the
target picture can be used as a forward reference picture.
Thereby, prediction accuracy in motion compensation for a B
picture can be increased, resulting in enhanced coding efficiency.
Moreover, when coding a B picture as a target picture,
information indicating whether or not the target picture is to be
used as a reference picture when coding (decoding) another
picture is added as header information. Further, when the target
picture is used as a reference picture when coding (decoding)
another picture, information indicating a period during which the
target picture should be stored in the reference picture memory
is added. Therefore, when decoding the bit stream Bs outputted
from the moving picture coding apparatus 70, the decoding end can
easily know which picture should be stored in the picture memory
and how long the storage period is, whereby management of the
reference picture memory at decoding is facilitated.
In this seventh enbodiment, when a target B picture is coded
using another B picture as a reference picture, this is described
as header information of the target B picture. However, the
header information is not necessarily described in picture units.
It may be described as header information of the entire sequence,
or as header information in units of several pictures (e.g., GOP
in MPEG).
In this seventh embodiment, motion compensation is performed
in units of macroblocks each comprising 16 pixels (horizontal
direction) X 16 pixels (vertical direction), and coding of a
prediction error image data is performed in units of blocks each
comprising 4 pixels (horizontal direction) X 4 (vertical
direction), or in units of blocks each comprising 8 pixels
(horizontal direction) X 8 (vertical direction). However,
motion compensation and coding of prediction error image data may
be carried out in units of image spaces, each comprising
different number of pixels from those mentioned above.
Further, in this seventh embodiment, a coding mode for a P
picture is selected from among intra-picture coding mode, inter-
picture predictive coding mode using a motion vector, and inter-
picture predictive coding mode using no motion vector, while a
coding mode for a B picture is selected from among intra-picture
coding mode, inter-picture predictive coding mode using a forward
motion vector, inter-picture predictive coding mode using a
backward motion vector, and inter-picture predictive coding mode
using bidirectional motion vectors. However, selection of a
coding mode for a P picture or a B picture is not restricted to
that mentioned for the seventh embodiment.
Further, while this seventh embodiment employs an image
sequence in which two B pictures are inserted between an I
picture and a P picture or between adjacent P pictures, the
number of B pictures inserted between an I picture and a P
picture or between adjacent P pictures in an image sequence may
be other than two, for example, it may be three or four.
Furthermore, while in this seventh embodiment three pictures
are used as candidate pictures for forward reference when coding
a P picture, the number of forward reference candidate pictures
for a P picture is not restricted thereto.
Furthermore, while in this seventh embodiment two P pictures
and one B picture are used as candidate pictures for forward
reference when coding a B picture, forward reference candidate
pictures to be used in coding a B picture are not restricted
thereto. For example, forward reference candidate pictures for a
B picture may be one P picture and two B pictures, or two P
pictures and two B pictures, or three pictures which are timewise
closest to the target picture regardless of the picture type.
When, in coding a B picture, only one picture that is
closest to the target B picture is used as a reference picture,
it is not necessary to describe information indicating which
picture is referred to in coding a target block in the B picture
(reference picture information), in the bit stream.
Further, in this seventh embodiment, when coding a B picture,
a B picture which is positioned forward an I or P picture that is
positioned forward and closest to the target B picture, is not
referred to. However, when coding a B picture, a B picture which
is positioned forward an I or P picture that is positioned
forward and closest to the target B picture, may be used as a
reference picture.
[Embodiment 8]
Figure 35 is a block diagram for explaining a moving picture
decoding apparatus 80 according to an eighth embodiment of the
present invention.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 80 according to the
eighth embodiment decodes the bit stream Bs outputted from the
moving picture coding apparatus 70 according to the seventh
embodiment.
The moving picture decoding apparatus 80 is different from
the moving picture decoding apparatus 20 according to the second
embodiment in candidate pictures for forward reference pictures
to be referred to when coding a P picture and a B picture, and
decoding modes for a B picture.
That is, the moving picture decoding apparatus 80 is
provided with, instead of the memory control unit 204 and the
mode decoding unit 223 according to the second embodiment, a
memory control unit 284 and a mode decoding unit 283 which
operate in different manners from those described for the second
embodiment.
To be specific, the memory control unit 284 according to the
eighth embodiment controls a reference picture memory 287 such
that, when decoding a P picture, three pictures (I or P pictures)
which are positioned forward the P picture are used as candidate
pictures for forward reference, and when decoding a B picture,
two pictures (I or P pictures) which are positioned forward the B
picture, a forward B picture that is closest to the B picture,
and a backward I or P picture are used as candidate pictures.
However, a B picture which is positioned forward an I or P
picture that is positioned forward and closest to the target
picture, is not referred to.
The memory control unit 284 controls the reference picture
memory 287, with a control signal Cm, on the basis of a flag
indicating whether or not the target picture is to be referred to
in coding a picture that follows the target picture, which flag
is inserted in the code strong corresponding to the target
picture.
To be specific, information (flag) indicating that the data
of the target picture should be stored in the reference picture
memory 287 at decoding, and information indicating a period
during which the data of the target picture should be stored, are
included in the bit stream corresponding to the target picture.
Further, when decoding a block (target block) in a P picture,
the mode decoding unit 283 according to the eighth embodiment
selects, as a coding mode for the target block, one from among
the following modes: intra-picture decoding, inter-picture
predictive decoding using a motion vector, and inter-picture
predictive decoding using no motion vector (a motion is treated
as zero). When decoding a block (target block) in a B picture,
the mode decoding unit 283 selects, as a decoding mode for the
target block, one from among the following modes: intra-picture
decoding, inter-picture predictive decoding using a forward
motion vector, inter-picture predictive decoding using backward
motion vector, and inter-picture predictive decoding using a
forward motion vector and a backward motion vector. That is, the
mode decoding unit 283 of the moving picture decoding apparatus
80 according to this eighth embodiment is different from the mode
decoding unit 223 of the moving picture decoding apparatus 2 0
according to the second embodiment only in that it does not use
the direct mode, and therefore, the moving picture decoding
apparatus 80 does not have the motion vector storage unit 226 of
the moving picture decoding apparatus 20. Other constituents of
the moving picture decoding apparatus 80 according to the seventh
embodiment are identical to those of the moving picture decoding
apparatus 20 according to the second embodiment.
Further, the moving picture decoding apparatus 80 according
to the eighth embodiment different from the moving picture
decoding apparatus 60 according to the sixth embodiment in that
the memory control unit 284 controls the bit stream generation
unit lo4 so that a flag indicating whether or not the target
picture is to be referred to in coding a picture after the target
block is inserted in the bit stream corresponding to the target
picture. Further, in the moving picture decoding apparatus 80,
candidate pictures to be referred to in decoding a P picture and
a B picture are also different from those employed in the moving
picture decoding apparatus according to the sixth embodiment.
Other constituents of moving picture decoding apparatus 80
according to the seventh embodiment are identical to those of the
moving picture decoding apparatus 60 according to the sixth
embodiment.
Next, the operation of the moving picture decoding apparatus
80 will be described.
The bit stream Bs outputted from the moving picture coding
apparatus 70 according to the seventh embodiment is input to the
moving picture decoding apparatus 80.
In this eighth embodiment, when decoding a P picture, three
pictures (I or P pictures) which are timewise forward and close
to the P picture are used as candidates for a reference picture.
On the other hand, when decoding a B picture, two pictures (I or
P pictures) which are positioned timewise forward and close to
the B picture, a B picture which is positioned forward and
closest to the B picture, and an I or P picture which is
positioned backward the target picture, are used as candidate
pictures for a reference picture. However, in decoding a B
picture, a B picture which is positioned forward an I or P
picture that is positioned forward and closest to the target
picture, is not referred to. Further, in decoding an I picture,
other pictures are not referred to.
Further, information indicating which of the candidate
pictures is used as a reference picture in decoding a P picture
or a B picture is described as header information Ih of the bit
stream Bs, and the header information Ih is extracted by the bit
stream analysis unit 201.
The header information Ih is output to the memory control
unit 284. The header information may be described as header
information of the entire sequence, header information in units
of several pictures (e.g., GOP in MPEG), or header information in
picture units.
The pictures in the bit stream Bs inputted to the moving
picture decoding apparatus 80 are arranged in order or picture
decoding as shown in figure 36(a). Hereinafter, decoding
processes for the pictures P13, Bll, and B12 will be specifically
described in this order.
(Decoding Process for Picture P13)
When the bit stream corresponding to the picture P13 is
input to the bit stream analysis unit 201, the bit stream
analysis unit 201 extracts various kinds of data from the
inputted bit stream. The various kinds of data are information
(coding mode) Ms relating to mode selection, information of the
motion vector MV, the above-described header information, and the
like. The extracted coding mode Ms is output to the mode
decoding unit 283. Further, the extracted motion vector MV is
output to the motion compensation decoding unit 205. Furthermore,
the coded data Ed extracted by the bit stream analysis unit 201
is output to the prediction error decoding unit 202.
The mode decoding unit 283 controls the switches 209 and 2lo
with reference to the mode selection information (coding mode) Ms
extracted from the bit stream. When the coding mode Ms is intra-
picture coding mode and when the coding mode Ms is inter-picture
predictive coding mode, the switches 209 and 2lo are controlled
in like manner as described for the sixth embodiment.
Further, the mode decoding unit 283 outputs the coding mode
Ms to the motion compensation decoding unit 205.
Hereinafter, a description will be given of the case where
the coding mode is inter-picture predictive coding mode.
Since the operations of the prediction error decoding unit
202, the motion compensation decoding unit 205, and the addition
unit 208 are identical to those described for the sixth
embodiment, repeated description is not necessary.
Figure 37 shows how the pictures, whose data are stored in
the reference picture memory 207, change with time.
When decoding of the picture P13 is started, the pictures B8,
P7, and Plo are stored in areas Rl, R2, and R3 of the reference
picture memory 207. The picture P13 is decoded using the
pictures P7 and Plo as candidates for a reference picture, and
the picture P13 is stored in the memory area Rl where the picture
B8 had been stored. Such rewriting of image data of each picture
in the reference picture memory is carried out based on the
header information of each picture which is added to the bit
stream. This header information indicates that the picture P7
should be stored in the reference picture memory 207 until
decoding of the picture P13 is completed, the picture Plo should
be stored in the memory until decoding of the picture P16 is
completed, and the picture B8 should be stored in the memory
until decoding of the picture B9 is completed.
In other words, since it can be decided that the picture B8
is not necessary for decoding of the picture P13 and the
following pictures, the picture P13 is written over the reference
picture memory area Rl where the picture B8 is stored.
Further, since information indicating that the picture P13
should be stored in the reference picture memory until decoding
of the picture P19 is completed is described as header
information of the picture P13, the picture P13 is stored in the
reference picture memory at least until that time.
As described above, the blocks in the picture P13 are
successively decoded. When all of the coded data corresponding
to the blocks in the picture P13 have been decoded, decoding of
the picture Bll takes place.
(Decoding Process for Picture Bll)
Since the operations of the bit stream analysis unit 201,
the mode decoding unit 203, and the prediction error decoding
unit 2 02 are identical to those described for decoding of the
picture P13, repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates motion
compensation image data Pd from the inputted information such as
the motion vector. That is, the information inputted to the
motion compensation decoding unit 205 is the motion vector MV and
reference picture index corresponding to the picture Bll. The
picture Bll has been coded using the picture Plo as a forward
reference picture, and the picture P13 as a backward reference
picture. Accordingly, in decoding.of the picture Bll, these
candidate pictures Plo and P13 have already been decoded, and the
corresponding decoded image data Did are stored in the reference
picture memory 207.
When the coding mode is bidirectional predictive coding mode,
the motion compensation decoding unit 205 obtains a forward
reference image from the reference picture memory 207 on the
basis of the information indicating the forward motion vector,
and obtains a backward reference image from the memory 2 07 on the
basis of the information indicating the backward motion vector.
Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 performs addition
and averaging of the forward reference image and the backward
reference image to generated a motion compensation image. Data
Pd of the motion compensation image so generated is output to the
addition unit 208.
The addition unit 208 adds the inputted prediction error
image data PDd and motion compensation image data Pd to output
addition image data Ad. The addition image data Ad so generated
is outputted as decoded image data DId, through the switch 2lo to
the reference picture memory 207.
The memory control unit 284 controls the reference picture
memory 207 on the basis of information indicating which candidate
pictures are referred to in coding the P picture and the B
picture, which information is header information of the bit
stream.
Figure 37 shows how the pictures stored in the reference
picture memory 207 change with time.
When decoding of the picture Pll is started, the pictures
P13, P7, and Plo are stored in the reference picture memory 207.
The picture Pll is decoded using the pictures Plo and P13 as
reference pictures, and the picture Pll is stored in the memory
area R2 where the picture P7 had been stored. Such rewriting of
each picture in the reference picture memory 2 07 is carried out
based on the header information of each picture which is added to
the bit stream. This header information indicates that the
picture P7 should be stored in the reference picture memory 207
until decoding of the picture P13 is completed, the picture Plo
should be stored in the memory until decoding of the picture P16
is completed, and the picture P13 should be stored in the memory
until decoding of the picture P19 is completed.
In other words, since it is decided that the picture P7 is
not necessary for decoding of the picture P13 and the following
pictures, the picture Pll is stored in the reference picture
memory area R2 where the picture P7 is stored.
Further, since information indicating that the picture Bll
should be stored in the reference picture memory 207 until
decoding of the picture B12 is completed is described as header
information of the picture Bll, the picture Bll is stored in the
reference picture memory 207 at least until that time.
As described above, the coded data corresponding to the
blocks in the picture Bll are successively decoded. When all of
the coded data corresponding to the blocks in the picture Bll
have been decoded, decoding of the picture B12 takes place.
(Decoding Process for Picture B12>
Since the operations of the bit stream analysis unit 201,
the mode decoding unit 203, and the prediction error decoding
unit 202 are identical to those described for decoding of the
picture P13, repeated description is not necessary.
The motion compensation decoding unit 205 generates motion
compensation image data Pd from the inputted information such as
the motion vector. That is, the information inputted to the
motion compensation decoding unit 205 is the motion vector MV and
reference picture index corresponding to the picture B12. The
picture B12 has been coded using the pictures Plo and Bll as
candidates for a forward reference picture, and the picture P13
as a backward reference picture. These reference candidate
pictures Plo, Bll, and P13 have already been decoded, and the
corresponding decoded image data are stored in the reference
picture memory 207.
When the coding mode is bidirectional predictive coding mode,
the motion compensation decoding unit 205 determined which one of
the pictures Plo and Bll is used as a forward reference picture
in coding the picture B12, according to the reference picture
indices, and obtains a forward reference image from the reference
picture memory 207 according to the information indicating the
forward motion vector. Further, the motion compensation decoding
unit 205 obtains a backward reference image from the memory 207
according to the information indicating the backward motion
vector. Then, the motion compensation decoding unit 205 performs
addition and averaging of the forward reference image and the
backward reference image to generated a motion compensation image.
Data Pd of the motion compensation image so generated is output
to the addition unit 208.
The addition unit 208 adds the inputted prediction error
image data PDd and motion compensation image data Pd to output
addition image data Ad. The addition image data Ad so generated
is outputted as decoded image data DId, through the switch 2lo to
the reference picture memory 207.
The memory control unit 284 controls the reference picture
memory 207 on the basis of information indicating which reference
pictures are used in coding the P picture and the B picture,
v.hich information is extracted from the header information of the
bit stream.
Figure 37 shows how the pictures stored in the reference
picture memory 207.change with time. When decoding of the
picture B12 is started, the pictures P13, Bll, and Plo are stored
in the reference picture memory 207. The picture B12 is decoded
using the pictures P13, Bll, and Plo as reference candidate
pictures. Since information indicating that the picture B12 is
not to be used as a reference picture when decoding another
picture is described as header information, the decoded data of
the picture B12 is not stored in the reference picture memory 207
but outputted as output image data Od.
As described above, the coded data corresponding to the
blocks in the picture B12 are successively decoded. The decoded
image data of the respective pictures which are stored in the
reference picture memory 207, and the decoded image data which
are not stored in the reference picture memory 207 are rearranged
in order of their display times as shown in figure 36(b), and
outputted as output image data Od.
Thereafter, the coded data corresponding to the respective
pictures are decoded in like manner as described above according
to the picture type.
To be specific, the coded data of the P pictures are decoded
like the picture P13, and the first B picture (picture B14, B17,
or the like) of the continuous B pictures is decoded like the
picture Pll. Further, the second B picture (picture B15, B18, or
the like) of the continuous B pictures is decoded like the
picture P12.
As described above, in the moving picture decoding apparatus
80 according to the eighth embodiment, since a B picture is used
as a reference candidate picture when decoding a B picture, a bit
stream, which is obtained in a coding process that uses a B
picture as well as P pictures as forward reference candidate
pictures when coding a B picture, can be accuraTcly decoded.
Further, since the reference picture memory is controlled using
information obtained from the bit stream, indicating which
reference pictures are used in coding a P picture and a B picture,
the reference picture memory can be effectively utilized. That
is, image data of pictures to be used as reference pictures in
the following decoding process are maintained in the reference
picture memory, while image data of pictures not to be used as
reference pictures in the following decoding process are
successively erased from the memory, whereby the reference
picture memory can be effectively utilized.
While this eighth embodiment employs a bit stream
corresponding to an image sequence in which two B pictures are
inserted between adjacent P pictures, the number of B pictures
positioned between adjacent P pictures may be other than two, for
example, it may be three or four.
Furthermore, while in this eighth embodiment two pictures
are used as candidate pictures for forward reference when
decoding a P picture, the number of forward reference candidate
pictures to be referred to in decoding a P picture is not
restricted thereto.
Furthermore, in this eighth embodiment, when decoding a B
picture, one P picture and one B picture are used as candidate
pictures for forward reference, and a B picture which is
positioned forward an I or P picture that is timewise closest to
the target B picture, is not used as a reference picture.
However, pictures to be used as reference candidate pictures in
decoding a B picture may be other than those described for the
eighth embodiment. Further, when decoding a B picture, a B
picture which is positioned forward an I or P picture that is
timewise closest to the target B picture, may be used as a
reference picture.
Furthermore, while in the eighth embodiment decoded image
data of pictures which are not to be used as reference pictures
when decoding other pictures are not stored in the reference
picture memory, the decoded image data of these pictures may be
stored in the memory.
For example, when output of decoded image aata of each
picture is carried out with a little delay from decoding of each
picture, the decoded image data of each picture must be stored in
the reference picture memory. In this case, a memory area, other
than the memory area where the decoded image data of the
reference candidate pictures are stored, is provided in the
reference picture memory, and the decoded image data of the
pictures not to be used as reference pictures are stored in this
memory area. Although, in this case, the storage capacity of the
reference picture memory is increased, the method for managing
the reference picture memory is identical to that described for
the eighth embodiment and, therefore, the reference picture
memory can be easily managed.
While all pictures are used as reference candidate pictures
in the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth embodiments, all
pictures are not necessarily used as reference candidate pictures.
To be brief, in a moving picture decoding apparatus, usually,
already-decoded pictures are once stored in a decoding buffer
(decoded frame memory) regardless of whether they will be used as
reference candidate pictures or not, and thereafter, the already-
decoded pictures are successively read from the decoding buffer
to be displayed.
In the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth embodiments of the
present invention, all pictures are used as reference candidate
pictures and, therefore, all of already-decoded pictures are
stored in a reference picture memory for holding pictures to be
used as reference candidate pictures, and thereafter, the
already-decoded pictures are successively read from the reference
picture memory to be displayed.
However, as described above, all of the already-decoded
pictures are not necessarily used as reference candidate pictures.
Accordingly, the already-decoded pictures may be once stored in a
decoding buffer (decoded frame memory) for holding not only
pictures not to be used as reference candidate pictures but also
pictures to be used as reference candidate pictures, and
thereafter, the already-decoded pictures are successively read
from the decoding buffer to be displayed.
The moving picture coding apparatus or the moving picture
decoding apparatus according to any of the aforementioned
embodiments is implemented by hardware, while these apparatuses
may be implemented by software. In this case, when a program for
executing the coding or decoding process according to any of the
aforementioned embodiments is recorded in a data storage medium
such as a flexible disk, the moving picture coding apparatus or
the moving picture decoding apparatus according to any of the
aforementioned embodiments can be easily implemented in an
independent computer system.
Figures 38(a)-38(c) are diagrams for explaining a computer
system for executing the moving picture coding process according
to any of the first, third, fifth, and seventh embodiments and
the moving picture decoding process according to any of the
second, fourth, sixth, and eighth embodiments.
Figure 38(a) shows a front view of a flexible disk FD which
is a medium that contains a program employed in the computer
system, a cross-sectional view thereof, and a flexible disk body
D. Figure 38(b) shows an example of a physical format of the
flexible disk body D.
The flexible disk FD is composed of the flexible disk body D
and a case FC that contains the flexible disk body D. On the
surface of the disk body D, a plurality of tracks Tr are formed
concentrically from the outer circumference of the disk toward
the inner circumference. Each track is divided into 16 sectors
Se in the angular direction. Therefore, in the flexible disk FD
containing the above-mentioned program, data of the program for
executing the moving picture coding process or the moving picture
decoding process are recorded in the assigned storage areas
(sectors) on the flexible disk body D.
Figure 38(c) shows the structure for recording or
reproducing the program in/from the flexible disk FD. When the
program is recorded in the flexible disk FD, data of the program
are written in the flexible disk FD from the computer system Csys
through the flexible disk drive FDD. When the above-mentioned
moving picture coding or decoding apparatus is constructed in the
computer system Csys by the program recorded in the flexible disk
FD, the program is read from the flexible disk FD by the flexible
disk drive FDD and then loaded to the computer system Csys.
Although in the above description a flexible disk is
employed as a storage medium, an optical disk may be employed.
Also in this case, the moving picture coding or decoding process
can be performed by software in like manner as the case of using
the flexible disk. The storage medium is not restricted to these
disks, and any medium may be employed as long as it can contain
the program, for example, a CD-ROM, a memory card, or a ROM
cassette. Also when such data storage medium is employed, the
moving picture coding or decoding process can be performed by the
computer system in the same manner as the case of using the
flexible disk.
Applications of the moving picture coding method and the
moving picture decoding method according to any of the
aforementioned embodiments and systems using the same will be
described hereinafter.
Figure 39 is a block diagram illustrating an entire
construction of a contents provision system 1lo0 that performs
contents distribution services.
A communication service provision area is divided into
regions (cells) of desired size, and base stations 1lo7 to 11lo
which are each fixed radio stations are established in the
respective cells.
In this contents provision system 1lo0, various devices
such as a computer 1111, a PDA (personal digital assistant) 1112,
a camera 1113, a portable Tclephone 1114, and a portable
Tclephone with a camera 1200 are connected to the Internet 1lo1
through an Internet service provider 1lo2, a Tclephone network
1lo4, and the base stations 1lo7 to 11lo.
However, the contents provision system 1lo0 is not
restricted to a system including all of the plural devices shown
in figure 39, but may be one including some of the plural devices
shown in figure 39. Further, the respective devices may be
connected directly to the Tclephone network 1lo4, not through the
base stations 1lo7 to 11lo as the fixed radio stations.
The camera 1113 is a device that can take moving pictures
of an object, like a digital video camera. The portable
Tclephone may be a portable Tclephone set according to any of PDC
(Personal Digital Communications) system, CDMA (Code Division
Multiple Access) system, W-CDMA (Wideband-Code Division Multiple
Access) system, and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)
system, or PHS (Personal Handyphone System).
A streaming server 1lo3 is connected to the camera 1113
through the base station 1lo9 and the Tclephone network 1lo4. In
this system, live distribution based on coded data which are
transmitted by a user using the camera 1113 can be performed.
The coding process for the data of taken images may be carried
out by either the camera 1113 or the server that transmits the
data. Moving picture data which are obtained by taking moving
pictures of an object by means of the camera 1116 may be
transmitted to the streaming server 1lo3 through the computer
1111. The camera 1116 is a device that can take still images or
moving pictures of an object, such as a digital camera. In this
case, coding of the moving picture data can be performed by
either the camera 1116 or the computer 1111. Further, the coding
process is carried out by an LSI 1117 included in the computer
1111 or the camera 1116.
Image coding or decoding software may be stored in a
storage medium (a CD-ROM, a flexible disk, a hard disk, or the
like) which is a recording medium that contains data readable by
the computer 1111 or the like. The moving picture data may be
transmitted through the portable Tclephone with a camera 1200.
The moving picture data are data which have been coded by an LSI
included in the portable Tclephone 1200.
In this contents provision system 1lo0, contents
corresponding to images taken by the user by means of the camera
1113 or the camera 1116 (for example, live video of a music
concert) are coded in the camera in the same manner as any of the
aforementioned embodiments, and transmitted from the camera to
the streaming server 1lo3. The contents data are subjected to
streaming distribution from the streaming server 1lo3 to a
requesting client.
The client may be any of the computer 1111, the PDA 1112,
the camera 1113, the portable Tclephone 1114 and the like, which
can decode the coded data.
In this contents provision system 1lo0, the coded data can
be received and reproduced on the client side. When the data are
received, decoded, and reproduced in real time on the client side,
private broadcasting can be realized.
The coding or decoding in the respective devices that
constitute this system can be performed using the moving picture
coding apparatus or the moving picture decoding apparatus
according to any of the aforementioned embodiments.
A portable Tclephone will be now described as an example of
the moving picture coding or decoding apparatus.
Figure 40 is a diagram illustrating a portable Tclephone
1200 that employs the moving picture coding method and the moving
picture decoding method according to any of the aforementioned
embodiments.
This portable Tclephone 1200 includes an antenna 1201 for
transmitting/receiving radio waves to/from the base station 11lo,
a camera unit 1203 that can take video or still images of an
object, such as a CCD camera, and a display unit 1202 such as a
liquid crystal display for displaying data of the video taken by
the camera unit 1203 or video received through the antenna 1201.
The portable Tclephone 1200 further includes a main body
1204 including plural control keys, a voice output unit 1208 for
outputting voices such as a speaker, a voice input unit 1205 for
inputting voices such as a microphone, a recording medium 1207
for retaining coded data or decoded data such as data of taken
moving pictures or still images, or data, moving picture data or
still image data of received e-mails, and a slot unit 1206 which
enables the recording medium 1207 to be attached to the portable
Tclephone 1200.
The recording medium 1207 has a flash memory element as a
type of EEPROM (Electrically Erasable and Programmable Read Only
Memory) that is an electrically programmable and erasable non-
volatile memory contained in a plastic case, like a SD card.
The portable Tclephone 1200 will be described more
specifically with reference to Figure 41.
The portable Tclephone 1200 has a main control unit 1241
that performs general control for the respective units of the
main body including the display unit 1202 and the control key
1204.
The portable Tclephone 1200 further includes a power supply
circuit 1240, an operation input control unit 1234, an image
coding unit 1242, a camera interface unit 1233, a LCD (Liquid
Crystal Display) control unit 1232, an image decoding unit 1239,
a multiplexing/demultiplexing unit 1238, a recording/reproduction
unit 1237, a modulation/demodulation unit 1236, and an audio
processing unit 1235. The respective units of the portable
Tclephone 1200 are connected to each other via a synchronization
bus 1250.
The power supply circuit 1240 supplies power from a battery
pack to the respective units when a call end/power supply key is
turned ON under the control of a user, thereby activating the
digital portable Tclephone with a camera 1200 to be turned into
an operable state.
In the portable Tclephone 1200, the respective units
operate under control of the main control unit 1241 that is
constituted by a CPU, a ROM, a RAM and the like. To be more
specific, in the portable Tclephone 1200, an audio signal that is
obtained by voice inputting into the voice input unit 1205 in a
voice communication mode is converted into digital audio data by
the audio processing unit 1235. The digital audio data is
subjected to a spectrum spread process by the
modulation/demodulation circuit 1236, further subjected to a DA
conversion process and a frequency transformation process by the
transmission/receiving circuit 1231, and transmitted through the
antenna 1201.
In this portable Tclephone set 1200, a signal received
through the antenna 1201 in the voice communication mode is
amplified, and then subjected to a frequency transformation
process and an AD conversion process. The received signal is
further subjected to a spectrum inverse spread process in the
modulation/demodulation circuit 1236, converted into an analog
audio signal by the audio processing unit 1235, and this analog
audio signal is outputted through the voice output unit 1208.
When the portable Tclephone 1200 transmits an electronic
mail in a data communication mode, text data of the e-mail that
is inputted by manipulation of the control key 1204 on the main
body is transmitted to the main control unit 1241 via the
operation input control unit 1234. The main control unit 1241
controls the respective units so that the text data is subjected
to the spectrum spread process in the modulation/demodulation
circuit 1236, then subjected to the DA conversion process and the
frequency transformation process in the transmission/receiving
circuit 1231, and then transmitted to the base station 11lo
through the antenna 1201.
When this portable Tclephone 1200 transmits image data in
the data communication mode, data of an image taken by the camera
unit 1203 is supplied to the image coding unit 1242 via the
camera interface unit 1233. When the portable Tclephone 1200
does not transmit the image data, the data of the image taken by
the camera unit 1203 can be displayed directly on the display
unit 1202 via the camera interface unit 1233 and the LCD control
unit 1232.
The image coding unit 1242 includes the moving picture
coding apparatus according to any of the aforementioned
embodiments. This image coding unit 1242 compressively encodes
the image data supplied from the camera unit 1203 by the moving
picture coding method according to any of the above embodiments
to convert the same into coded image data, and outputs the
obtained coded image data to the multiplexing/demultiplexing unit
1238. At the same time, the portable Tclephone 1200 transmits
voices which are inputted to the voice input unit 1205 while the
image is being taken by the camera unit 1203, as digital audio
data, to the multiplexing/demultiplexing unit 1238 through the
audio processing unit 1235.
The multiplexing/demultiplexing unit 1238 multiplexes the
coded image data supplied from the image coding unit 1242 and the
audio data supplied from the audio processing unit 1235 by a
predetermined method. Resultant multiplexed data is subjected to
a spectrum spread process in the modulation/demodulation circuit
1236, then further subjected to the DA conversion process and the
frequency transformation process in the transmission/receiving
circuit 1231, and obtained data is transmitted through the
antenna 1201.
When the portable Tclephone 1200 receives data of a moving
picture file that is linked to a home page or the like in the
data communication mode, a signal received from the base station
11lo through the antenna 1201 is subjected to a spectrum inverse
spread process by the modulation/demodulation circuit 1236, and
resultant multiplexed data is transmitted to the
multiplexing/demultiplexing unit 1238.
When the multiplexed data that is received via the antenna
1201 is decoded, the multiplexing/demultiplexing unit 1238
demultiplexes the multiplexed data to divide the data into a
coded bit stream corresponding to the image data and a coded bit
stream corresponding to the audio data, and the coded image data
is supplied to the image decoding unit 1239 and the audio data is
supplied to the audio processing unit 1235, via the
synchronization bus 1250.
The image decoding unit 1239 includes the moving picture
decoding apparatus according to any of the aforementioned
embodiments. The image decoding unit 1239 decodes the coded bit
stream of the image data by the decoding method corresponding to
the coding method according to any of the above-mentioned
embodiments, to reproduce moving picture data, and supplies the
reproduced data to the display unit 1202 through the LCD control
unit 1232. Thereby, for example, the moving picture data
included in the moving picture file that is linked to the home
page is displayed. At the same time, the audio processing unit
1235 converts the audio data into an analog audio signal, and
then supplies the analog audio signal to the voice output unit
1208. Thereby, for example, the audio data included in the
moving picture file that is linked to the home page is reproduced.
Here, a system to which the moving picture coding method
and the moving picture decoding method according to any of the
aforementioned embodiments is applicable is not restricted to the
above-mentioned contents provision system.
Recently, digital broadcasting using saTcllites or
terrestrial waves is talked frequently, and the image coding
apparatus and the image decoding apparatus according to the above
embodiments is applicable also to a digital broadcasting system
as shown in Figure 42.
More specifically, a code bit stream corresponding to video
information is transmitted from a broadcast station 1409 to a
saTcllite 14lo such as a communication saTcllite or a broadcast
saTcllite, via radio communication. When the broadcast saTcllite
14lo receives the coded bit stream corresponding to the video
information, the saTcllite 14lo outputs broadcasting waves, and
these waves are"received by an antenna 1406 at home including
saTcllite broadcast receiving facility. For example, an
apparatus such as a Tclevision (receiver) 1401 or a set top box
(STB) 1407 decodes the coded bit stream, and reproduces the video
information.
Further, the image decoding apparatus according to any of
the aforementioned embodiments can be mounted also on a
reproduction apparatus 1403 that can read and decode the coded
bit stream recorded on a storage medium 1402 such as a CD or a
DVD (recording medium).
In this case, a reproduced video signal is- displayed on a
monitor 1404. The moving picture decoding apparatus may be
mounted on the set top box 1407 that is connected to a cable for
cable Tclevision 1405 or an antenna for saTcllite/terrestrial
broadcast 1406, to reproduce an output of the moving picture
decoding apparatus to be displayed on a monitor 1408 of the
Television. In this case, the moving picture decoding apparatus
may be incorporated not in the set top box but in the Tclevision.
A vehicle 1412 having an antenna 1411 can receive a signal from
the saTcllite 14lo or the base station 1lo7, and reproduce a
moving picture to display the same on a display device of a car
navigation system 1413 or the like which is mounted on the
vehicle 1412.
Further, it is also possible that an image signal can be
coded by the moving picture coding apparatus according to any of
the aforementioned embodiments and recorded in a recording medium.
A specific example of a recording device is a recorder 1420
such as a DVD recorder that records image signals on a DVD disk
1421, and a disk recorder that records image signals on a hard
disk. The image signals may be recorded on a SD card 1422.
Further, when the recorder 1420 includes the moving picture
decoding apparatus according to any of the aforementioned
embodiments, the image signals which are recorded on the DVD disk
1421 or the SD card 1422 can be reproduced by the recorder 1420
and displayed on the monitor 1408.
Here, the structure of the car navigation system 1413 may
include, for example, the components of the portable Tclephone
shown in figure 41 other than the camera unit 1203, the camera
interface unit 1233 and the image coding unit 1242, and the same
apply to the computer 1111, or the Tclevision (receiver) 1401.
Further, as the terminal such as the portable Tclephone
1114, one of three types of terminals: a transmission-receiving
type terminal having both of an encoder and a decoder, a
transmission terminal having only an encoder, and a receiving
terminal having only a decoder can be mounted.
As described above, the moving picture coding method or the
moving picture decoding method according to any of the
aforementioned embodiments is applicable to any of the above-
mentioned devices or systems, whereby the effects as described in
the above embodiments can be obtained.
Moreover/ it is needless to say that the embodiments of the
present invention and the applications thereof are not restricted
to those described in this specification.
APPLICABILITY IN INDUSTRY
As described above, in the moving picture coding method and
the moving picture decoding method according to the present
invention, when a target picture to be coded or decoded is a B
picture, a forward picture that is positioned closest to the
target picture can be used as a reference picture for the target
picture, whereby prediction accuracy in motion compensation for
the B picture is increased, resulting in enhanced coding
efficiency. Particularly, these methods are useful in data
processing for transferring or recording moving picture data.
We Claim:
1. A moving picture coding method for coding each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream corresponding to
each picture, comprising:
a coding step of, when coding a target picture to be coded, coding
each block in the target picture in either I mode coding in which a block in
the target picture is coded without referring to another picture, or P mode
coding in which a block in the target picture is predictively coded with
reference to one already-coded picture, to generate first coded data,
a candidate picture information coding step of coding information
which indicates whether or not the target picture is a candidate for a
reference picture when coding another picture that follows the target
picture, to generate second coded data,
a reference picture information coding step of, in the P mode coding in
which a block in the target picture is predictively coded, determining one
picture which is used as the reference picture among already-coded
pictures which are indicated to be candidates for the reference picture,
and coding the information indicating that one determined picture is the
reference picture to generate third coded data, and
a multiplexing step of multiplexing the first coded data, the second
coded data, and the third coded data to generate the bit stream.
2. A moving picture coding method for coding each of plural pictures
constituting a moving picture to generate a bit stream corresponding to
each picture, comprising:
a coding step of, when coding a target picture to be coded, coding
each block in the target picture in one coding mode among I mode coding
in which a block in the target picture is coded without referring to another
picture, P mode coding in which a block in the target picture is predictively
coded with reference to one already-coded picture, and B mode coding in
which a block in the target picture is predictively coded with reference to
two already-coded pictures, to generate first coded data,
a candidate picture information coding step of coding information
which indicates whether or not the target picture is a candidate for a
reference picture when coding another picture that follows the target
picture, to generate a second coded data,

a reference picture information coding step of, in the P mode coding in
which a block in the target picture is predictively coded, determining one
picture which is used as the reference picture among already-coded
pictures which are indicated to be candidates for the reference picture,
and coding information indicating that one determined picture is the
reference picture to generate third coded data, and
in the B mode coding in which a block in the target picture is
predictively coded, determining two pictures which are used as the
reference pictures among already-coded pictures which are indicated to
be the candidates for the reference picture, and coding information
indicating that two determined pictures are the reference pictures to
generate third coded data, and
a multiplexing step of multiplexing the first coded data, the second
coded data, and the third coded data to generate the bit stream.

A moving picture coding apparatus (10) is adapted for performing inter-
picture predictive coding on pictures constituting a moving picture is provided
with a coding unit (103) for performing predictive error coding on image
data; a decoding unit (105) for performing predictive error decoding on an
output from the coding unit (103); a reference picture memory (117) for
holding output data from the decoding unit (105); and a motion vector
detection unit (108) for detecting forward and backward motion vectors on
the basis of decoded image data stored in the memory (117) when coding a
B picture, a picture that is timewise closest to the target picture is used as a
candidate picture for forward reference, and an I or P picture that is timewise
closest to the target picture is used as a candidate picture for backward
reference. The moving picture coding apparatus (10) so constructed can
improve coding efficiency of a B picture to be subjected to bi-directional
predictive coding.

Documents:

829-KOL-2004-FORM-27.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-abstract.pdf

829-KOLNP-2003-CLAIMS 1.1.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-claims.pdf

829-KOLNP-2003-CORRESPONDENCE 1.1.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-correspondence.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-description (complete).pdf

829-kolnp-2003-drawings.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-examination report.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-form 1.pdf

829-KOLNP-2003-FORM 13.1.1.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-form 13.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-form 18.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-form 2.pdf

829-KOLNP-2003-FORM 27.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-form 5.pdf

829-KOLNP-2003-FORM-27.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-gpa.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-priority document.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-reply to examination report.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-specification.pdf

829-kolnp-2003-translated copy of priority document.pdf


Patent Number 239883
Indian Patent Application Number 829/KOLNP/2003
PG Journal Number 15/2010
Publication Date 09-Apr-2010
Grant Date 06-Apr-2010
Date of Filing 25-Jun-2003
Name of Patentee PANASONIC CORPORATION
Applicant Address 1006, OAZA KADOMA, KADOMA-SHI, OSAKA
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 KONDO SATOSHI 7-17, OTOKOYAMASHIGESTSU, YAWATA-SHI, KYOTO 614-8361
2 HAGAI MAKOTO 8-22-402, OHEDA-MINAMIMACHI, MORIGUCHI-SHI, OSAKA 570-0051
3 KODONO SHINYA 1-7-25-204, KOUSHIENGUCHI, NISHINOMIYA-SHI, HYOGO 663-8113
PCT International Classification Number H04N 7/32
PCT International Application Number PCT/JP2002/11553
PCT International Filing date 2002-11-06
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 2001-340698 2001-11-06 Japan
2 2002-118598 2002-04-19 Japan
3 2002-012117 2002-01-21 Japan
4 2001-373311 2001-12-06 Japan
5 2001-388466 2001-12-20 Japan