GoPro turns to HEVC compression for Hero 6 Black, same codec used by Apple in iOS 11 and m...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2017
Briefly mentioned during Thursday's GoPro launch event, the new Hero 6 Black with GP1 chip compresses ultra high-resolution video into manageable chunks of data using High Efficiency Video Coding, the same standard adopted by Apple in its latest operating systems.




According to GoPro, the company's decision to build in support for HEVC, also known as H.265, came well before Apple announced it, too, was throwing weight behind the next-generation standard.

Announced at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple initially promised HEVC support for macOS High Sierra, including hardware acceleration on select Mac models including the late-2015 27-inch iMac, early-2016 MacBook and MacBook Pro models manufactured in 2016 and beyond. The company later confirmed iOS 11 would bring the codec to compatible mobile devices.

For GoPro, the decision to incorporate H.265 support is in response to new high bitrate shooting modes added to 6 Black's arsenal. Video shot in 4K at 60fps or 2.7K at 120fps, for example, generate unamanageable files in H.264, so the firm sought a more efficient alternative.

In our early testing, we found HEVC to be incredibly effective. A 12-second clip shot in 4K at 60fps with a "wide" aspect ratio came in at 99 MB, while a clip of equal length shot in 2.7K at 60fps -- a carryover resolution from Hero 5 Black, encoded in H.264 -- weighed in at 96MB.

Looking at the nuts and bolts behind GoPro's HEVC implementation, the 6 Black and accompanying GoPro app default to the device's base video encoding scheme when transferring files over to a smartphone. For iPhone users, that means large HEVC files are supported natively -- no transcoding is involved.

Native support equates to decreased file sizes -- up to 40 percent smaller than H.264 -- smooth playback and higher quality images. Also important for action cam enthusiasts is enhanced motion compensation for fast-moving scenes, a feature that comes in handy when recording at 6 Black's maximum 4K resolution at 60fps.

GoPro representatives we spoke with said iPhone 8 (and likely iPhone X, though that handset has yet to see release) is the pinnacle of HEVC viewing thanks to Apple's A11 Bionic system-on-chip. Like contemporary desktop silicon, such as sixth-generation Intel Core processors powering recent Macs, the A11 Bionic integrates hardware acceleration for H.265 encoding and decoding operations.

The A10 Fusion chip in iPhone 7 also integrates a flavor of HEVC hardware acceleration, while A9 SoCs and below rely on software to get the job done. That doesn't mean an iPhone 6s will struggle with HEVC video pulled from a Hero 6 Black, but content might take longer to process and render.

Looking ahead, GoPro is likely to expand HEVC integration in future products, especially now that major industry entities like Apple are throwing weight behind the codec.

Interestingly, GoPro's upcoming Fusion, a dual-lens device capable of 5.2K spherical video capture, does not rely on HEVC to compress its expectedly large files. Instead, that device uses the current H.264 standard, just like the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session. A probable explanation is that Fusion does not GP1, suggesting

With its in-house designed GP1 chip, introduced alongside Hero 6 Black, GoPro has a distinct advantage over other action camera makers seeking to include dedicated hardware acceleration for the codec in their respective products.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    Guys ,my old 2008 Unibody MacBook seems to play H.265 videos just fine on VLC & IINA . How is it doing this? Can I transfer the video files to my iPhone 6 Plus, and play them using a 3rd Party player ?
    ClarityToSee
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Guys ,my old 2008 Unibody MacBook seems to play H.265 videos just fine on VLC & IINA . How is it doing this? Can I transfer the video files to my iPhone 6 Plus, and play them using a 3rd Party player ?
    Anything that can run High Sierra or iOS 11 can play HEIC/HEVC content. The issue is that on older devices, the decoding will be done entirely in software, so playback may not be smooth and will use up a lot more processing power on your device. This depends on the age/specs of the product, as well as the size/bitrate of the file. 

    Only newer Macs and iPhones will be configured to record using HEVC.



    https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/503/
    https://devstreaming-cdn.apple.com/videos/wwdc/2017/503i6plfvfi7o3222/503/503_introducing_heif_and_hevc.pdf
    edited September 2017 lostkiwiSoliwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 3 of 34
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    lostkiwimacseekerClarityToSeetmayAvieshekwatto_cobrajbdragonargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 34
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,436member
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.
    bigmushroom
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Won’t somebody think of the children (VP9)?


    Glad to see this. Another nail in the VP9 coffin. 
    macseekerAvieshekwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 6 of 34
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    SolitmayAvieshekwatto_cobrajbdragonargonaut
  • Reply 7 of 34
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    It’s part of the VP9 FUD narrative. 
    Solitmayericthehalfbeemacseekerpscooter63watto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,278member
    steven n. said:
    It's part of the VP9 FUD narrative

    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?

    Apple can't be making THAT much in h.265 royalties, not enough to make any difference to them.  VP9 ( and the next gen VC1) is also the only one of the two where the royalty costs are assured. The fees associated with licensing h.265 are still not clear despite what some here repeatedly imply.  It's not even certain that content providers, and yes that includes at least big developers, will not be subject to royalty demands at some point. One of the standards bodies has said that is something that will be evaluated going forward.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 9 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?

    VP9 is proprietary. It’s lower performance. It chews more bandwidth for similar quality. Also, remember Flash?
    macseekerMacProStrangeDaysAvieshekwatto_cobrajbdragonargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,362member
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you? Apple can't be making THAT much in h.265 royalties, not enough to make any difference to them.  It's also the only one of the two where the royalty costs are assured. The costs associated with licensing h.265 are still not clear. It's not even certain that content providers, and yes that includes at least big developers, will not be subject to royalty demands at some point. One of the standards bodies has said that will be evaluated going forward.
    The obvious answer is that engineering decisions have to be make early on, years in advance, especially for hardware. Apple and a heck of a lot of others chose HVEC, probably for its superior encoding quality and performance at the time. No one is complaining about HEVC performance and video quality in the iPhone 8, so arguably, Apple made the right decision for itself. 

    VP9 has some benefits over HVEC for streaming, but not enough to make a difference to the user. If Google doesn't want to deliver YouTube via h.265, then, there will be an adjustment by somebody at some point. 

    Either way, everyone will be happy at the next iteration, since MPEG LA won't likely be at the party.



    edited September 2017 MacPropscooter63watto_cobrajbdragonargonaut
  • Reply 11 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,278member
    steven n. said:
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?

    VP9 is proprietary. It’s lower performance. It chews more bandwidth for similar quality. Also, remember Flash?
    Proprietary? It's open to anyone to use and royalty-free. That's threatening? Seems to beat the alternative of buying into a standard being promoted by some companies with $-signs in their eyes (or "other reasons") that won't even commit to content providers being safe from royalty demands. 

    Comparing it to Flash?? That's just the type of FUD, vague IP implications, implied support and security issues, and veiled threats coming from the HVEC camp. Surprised you've embraced it. 

    IMO having a competing alternative is all that's kept 3 of the 4 different standards bodies (so far!) claiming to have a piece of the pie honest. Technicolor bolted for good reasons. You should read why. 
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 12 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?

    VP9 is proprietary. It’s lower performance. It chews more bandwidth for similar quality. Also, remember Flash?
    Proprietary? It's open to anyone to use and royalty-free. That's threatening? Seems to beat the alternative of buying into a standard being promoted by some companies with $-signs in their eyes (or "other reasons") that won't even commit to content providers being safe from royalty demands. 

    Comparing it to Flash?? That's just the type of FUD, vague IP implications, implied support and security issues, and veiled threats coming from the HVEC camp. Surprised you've embraced it. 

    IMO having a competing alternative is all that's kept 3 of the 4 different standards bodies (so far!) claiming to have a piece of the pie honest. Technicolor bolted for good reasons. You should read why. 
    And VP9 is still proprietary. 
    macseekerMacProStrangeDayspscooter63argonaut
  • Reply 13 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,278member
    steven n. said:
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    netrox said:
    Hopefully, this will force Google to use HEVC instead of VP9 for YouTube.
    Why? Force developers to pay royalties for using HEVC codecs? That's ridiculous. Part of the idea behind the Web Standards is to have open source code that can be used by anyone, personal or business without royalties.

    Why would developers pay?
    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?

    VP9 is proprietary. It’s lower performance. It chews more bandwidth for similar quality. Also, remember Flash?
    Proprietary? It's open to anyone to use and royalty-free. That's threatening? Seems to beat the alternative of buying into a standard being promoted by some companies with $-signs in their eyes (or "other reasons") that won't even commit to content providers being safe from royalty demands. 

    Comparing it to Flash?? That's just the type of FUD, vague IP implications, implied support and security issues, and veiled threats coming from the HVEC camp. Surprised you've embraced it. 

    IMO having a competing alternative is all that's kept 3 of the 4 different standards bodies (so far!) claiming to have a piece of the pie honest. Technicolor bolted for good reasons. You should read why. 
    And VP9 is still proprietary. 
    You got at least one claim right. Good move on your part to avoid commenting further on anything else. ;)
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 14 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    It's part of the VP9 FUD narrative

    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?


    Because it's from Google. A dishonest company whose only concern is mining data and serving ads while pretending to give things away for free.
    macseekertmaypropodMacProStrangeDayspscooter63watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,278member
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    It's part of the VP9 FUD narrative

    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?


    Because it's from Google. A dishonest company whose only concern is mining data and serving ads while pretending to give things away for free.
    And that's a believable answer from you. Simply because it was developed by Google. 
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,362member
    gatorguy said:
    steven n. said:
    It's part of the VP9 FUD narrative

    FUD from both sides is unhelpful.

    Honest question now: Why is an open royalty free codec with wide-ranging support from some of the biggest players in tech so threatening to some of you?


    Because it's from Google. A dishonest company whose only concern is mining data and serving ads while pretending to give things away for free.
    You are talking mean about a company that bought up another company, known for its massive copyright violations, the current result of which you won't be able to watch in 4K on the Apple TV because Google is too "worried" about costs to stream in HEVC, or mean IP holders or something.

    The simple answer is that Google wants control.

    edited September 2017 MacProStrangeDaysericthehalfbeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    seafoxseafox Posts: 90member
    Guys ,my old 2008 Unibody MacBook seems to play H.265 videos just fine on VLC & IINA . How is it doing this? Can I transfer the video files to my iPhone 6 Plus, and play them using a 3rd Party player ?
    The operating system doesn't matter. You only need to play back the files in a program that can understand them. Apple has added OS-level support for HEVC, meaning the applications that come with macOS can support HEVC, as well as third-party apps that want to tap in the operating system's decoder. But that never meant you couldn't play back HEVC before, you just had to use an application that included its own decoder, like VLC does. The iPhone 6 will allow you to transfer any files you want to the device, like any other phone, but you will need a player that supports HEVC to view them, and the phone will naturally need to be powerful enough to handle the playback. The processing power to play the files back will be higher if you're playing a format that has to be decoded completely in software.

    You can get acceleration if your graphics card supports hardware acceleration for video in HEVC, too. Some of the Apple laptops and phones of the last few years have had that kind of acceleration in their chipsets, but owners have not been able to take advantage because Apple did not have drivers that supported use of that functionality until now. In a computer this is less of an issue because it is easier to install third-party players and the machine itself is more powerful. but on mobile devices and STBs like the AppleTV, the successful playback of HD content is more dependent on the hardware having on-chip features to handle those specific tasks better (hardware acceleration), because as a general computing device these products are simply not as powerful as a full-fledged computer (if they were, they would have higher power and cooling requirements).
  • Reply 18 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,745member
    Wow Googleguy is earning his money in this thread!  lol
    tmayStrangeDaysmacseekerwatto_cobraedred
  • Reply 19 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,278member
    MacPro said:
    Wow Googleguy is earning his money in this thread!  lol
    I wasn't the one who needlessly brought them into the conversation. Or even the second one. And repeatedly so. Apparently that's the topic the commenters here would prefer to discuss rather than the article.  Now you're complaining? 

    No worries. I think some of the ones who wanted to make this about Google instead of GoPro have realized that h.265 is not the simple, straightforward standard with well-defined royalties they were presenting it as. Velos Media is just the most recent screw in the tire, and one that EricTheHalfBee nor any other other promoter of it will talk about. I would not be surprised to see others along the highway either http://velosmedia.com/technology/q-and-a/

    Having lost the high ground it's now devolved into "Oh Yeah? Well I hate Google" and no amount of cajoling, rational argument, or fact-finding is likely gonna change a hater's stripes. FWIW the nex-gen replacement for VP9 is AV1 coming from the Alliance for Open Media which is no longer a "it's just Google" project. Founding member companies in charge of development: Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and NVIDIA. Lots of others on board since then.
    http://aomedia.org/

    Back to GoPro one of the more interesting tidbits I read in the AI article is that the upcoming Fusion models won't use h.265 but instead the older and better supported h.264. I would have liked reading the author's expanded opinion for it but that particular thought was inadvertently clipped from the article. 
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 20 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,038member
    MacPro said:
    Wow Googleguy is earning his money in this thread!  lol
    Do you really think the name calling is helpful to any argument you may have? As feeble as that attack is it's still an ad hominem against the person and not his comments. 
    gatorguyargonaut
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