Multi-view video coding (MVC) has been extended from H.264/AVC to improve the coding efficiency of multi-view video. This paper proposes a fast mode decision algorithm which can make an early decision on the correct mode partition to solve the issue of the enormous computational complexity. The best modes of the reference views are utilized to determine the complexity of the macroblock (MB) in the current view, the mode candidates needed to be calculated can then be obtained according to the complexity. If the complexity is low or medium, the search range can be reduced. The threshold of the rate-distortion cost for the current MB is calculated using the co-located and neighboring MBs in previously coded view and is utilized as the criterion for early termination. The motion vector difference in the reference view is applied to dynamically adjust the search range in the current MB. Experimental results prove that the proposed algorithm achieves a time saving of 81.05% for a fast TZ search and 87.85% for full search, and still maintains quality performance and bitrate.
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