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How Does MJPEG Compression Work?

MJPEG Compression

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:34 am

MJPEG : Individual Frame Compression

MJPEG (Motion JPEG) codec it compresses individual frames of video, whether it’s progressive video or interlaced video, into JPEG images.

Even the accompanying video metadata like subtitles and closed captions are individually compressed as a JPEG image.

This kind of compression is called intraframe compression.

The other type of compression, one that’s commonly used is interframe compression which means frame to frame compression.

Interframe compression looks at the data contained in the nearby frames and decides which part of the data needs heavy compression and which part doesn’t.

Here’s an easy way to understand this – intra means within and inter means between. (International – between nations)

So, MJPEG is an intraframe codec. Individual frames are compressed one at a time in a video sequence.

MJPEG Beginnings and Rising Popularity

It first used in computer multimedia applications but is now popularly employed in webcams, IP cameras and also non-linear video editing systems.

One advantage of the MPJEG compression is it requires lower processing and memory (RAM) power because each frame is individually compressed before the next frame is considered.

At one time the main drawback of MJPEG was there were very devices or software that can playback MJPEG.

This, however, has changed and MJPEG nowadays is employed in CCTV cameras and is supported invideo projectors. Software programs like VideoLan can play back MJPEG.

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