Know your I-frames from your P-frames

No, I’m not talking about Apple’s new smart picture frame or “iFrame” but rather the frames in video, specifically talking streaming video. Any video online is made of I-frames otherwise known as keyframes and P-frames, the frames in-between the I-frames. The I-frames are a rendering of all the pixels in the video while the P-frames only consist of pixels and data that have updated or changed since the last I-frame. This video imaging technique is used to provide faster and smaller video files to an audience. A fine balance of compression and keyframe to frame rate ratio dictates the quality and speed of video stream delivery. The more the amount of I-frames, the better and cleaner the video will look, but of course will result in a larger video file size.

The video keyframe ratio has become an important factor with one of the latest medical training websites we are currently working on.  One aspect of this healthcare IT project consists of videos documenting the medical study of the human swallowing procedure and the various flaws that may occur in the human anatomy through the various stages. The tool will incorporate hundreds of fluoroscopic videos and original 3D simulation animations created by DDA Medical to teach and certify physicians across the US and the globe, and create a standardized review process for human swallowing grading. It also consists of a tracking mechanism allowing users to exit and return exactly where they left off and once certified, individual accounts allowing physicians to track and share the grading of their patients. But I’ll leave all that to our programmers to blog about!

The physician will have the ability to view the videos and animations in real-time but also have the option to skip frame by frame in order to view all the subtleties associated with a swallow’s specific grading component. The combination of properly spaced I-frames and streaming video technologies will ensure the user a fast and streamlined experience with no video buffering or lag time allowing them to absorb and concentrate on the importance of the material they are viewing.