Towards Hybrid-Optimization Video Coding
Video coding is a mathematical optimization problem of rate and distortion essentially. To solve this complex optimization problem, two popular video coding frameworks have been developed: block-based hybrid video coding and end-to-end learned video coding. If we rethink video coding from the perspective of optimization, we find that the existing two frameworks represent two directions of optimization solutions. Block-based hybrid coding represents the discrete optimization solution because
... e irrelevant coding modes are discrete in mathematics. It searches for the best one among multiple starting points (i.e. modes). However, the search is not efficient enough. On the other hand, end-to-end learned coding represents the continuous optimization solution because the gradient descent is based on a continuous function. It optimizes a group of model parameters efficiently by the numerical algorithm. However, limited by only one starting point, it is easy to fall into the local optimum. To better solve the optimization problem, we propose to regard video coding as a hybrid of the discrete and continuous optimization problem, and use both search and numerical algorithm to solve it. Our idea is to provide multiple discrete starting points in the global space and optimize the local optimum around each point by numerical algorithm efficiently. Finally, we search for the global optimum among those local optimums. Guided by the hybrid optimization idea, we design a hybrid optimization video coding framework, which is built on continuous deep networks entirely and also contains some discrete modes. We conduct a comprehensive set of experiments. Compared to the continuous optimization framework, our method outperforms pure learned video coding methods. Meanwhile, compared to the discrete optimization framework, our method achieves comparable performance to HEVC reference software HM16.10 in PSNR.