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This paper proposes a simple yet effective mechanism to select proper reference frames for H.264 motion estimation. Unlike traditional video codecs, H.264 permits more than one reference frame for increased precision in motion estimation. However, motion estimation is complicated by variable block-size motion estimation, which requires significant encoding complexity to identify the best inter-coding. Our smart selection mechanism selects suitable reference frames by means of a simple test, anddoi:10.1109/tcsvt.2008.918111 fatcat:bfdfrp7rvfe7nnh773cqokgbn4