Smart Decimate 0.23

Copyright 2003 Kevin Atkinson under the GPL 2.0

Smart Decimate removes telecine by combining telecine fields and decimating at the same time, which is different from the traditional approach of matching telecine frames and then removing duplicates. The latest version of Smart Decimate can be found at

It requires my C API Plugin (version 0.13 or better). The required DLL "avisynth_c.dll" is included with SmartDecimate. The full version can be found at at

Table Of Contents

Basic Usage

  assumetff() # or assumebff()
Note that the second plugin is loadCplugin not loadplugin. (There is a C after load)


Guide to Usage

For this guide I will assume that your material is 3:2 pulldown with some possible video mixed in. However, SmartDecimate can handle any fixed decimation ratio.

To use this filter, you must first determine the correct field order. If the field order is wrong, my filter will not work correctly. To determine the field order:

Now preview the video and look for backwards motion. If you don't see any, then you should use "assumetff()". If you do see any, try:
And once again look for backwards motion. If you don't see any this time, then you should use "assumebff()".

Now its time to set up my filter:

  loadCplugin("...\smartdecimate.dll") # notice the C in loadCplugin
  assumetff() # or assumebff() as determined above
If you are happy with the result, then that is all that is needed. If not, read on.

If your material is anime with lots of repeated frames, then you should try:

This should avoid any bobbing on long sequences with no motion.

The "tel" value controls how aggressive the filter is when matching fields. The default value is 0.50.

If you have a mixed video with a large amount of true video, then you might want to lower "tel" to as low as 0.25. This will risk bobbing some progressive frames, but should not weave true video frames, which may leave combing artifacts.

If you have a video that is pure 3:2 pulldown with very few true video frames, then you might try raising "tel" to as high as 0.75. This will cause SmartDecimate to be really aggressive when matching progressive fields. However, it will likely end up leaving serious combing artifacts behind if there is any pure video in your clip.

If you have a really noisy video, then you might need to raise the noise factor such as:

The default value is 0.50. Leave it at the default unless your clip is very noisy. Higher values of noise will often leave behind more combing artifacts for pure video frames.

If you have a really clean clip and you notice some combing artifacts in pure video frames, then you might want to lower the noise factor. But be careful; if it is too low, SmartDecimate won't be able to match the progressive fields and will thus bob them.

Finally, if you have a hybrid video (mixed 3:2 pulldown and true video), you should consider replacing the dumb bob with something like DgBob or SmoothDeinterlace. To do this, use the "bob" option. For example:

This will greatly improve the quality of the pure video frames. Note that the bob source only affects how bobbed frames are rendered. It is not used to compare fields. Nor is it used by any other part of SmartDecimate.

Filter Reference

The filter will work with either YUY2 or YV12 input.

The usage is:

  SmartDecimate([numr, denm], options)
The numerator and denominator are for the decimation ratio for the video after it has been separated into fields. The default is 24 and 60 for "numr" and "denm" respectfully.

The following options may be used to fine tune SmartDecimate:

an alternative source of bob deinterlaced frames. The default is "Bob()" which is AviSynths built in dumb bob filter. For better results, use a smart bob such as DgBob or SmoothDeinterlace. The bobbed source is used whenever SmartDecimate determines that a field is not part of a progressive frame.
an alternate source of weaved frames. The default is "DoubleWeave()"
a number between 0 and 1 which controls how aggressive the filter is when matching fields. 0.50 (the default) will work well with most clips. The higher the value, the more risk there is of leaving combing artifacts in true interlaced material. The lower the value the more risk there is to bobbing (or in the extreme case skipping or duplicating) Telecine frames.

Currently "tel" toggles various internal options depending on what it is set to. Currently there are switches at: 0.45, 0.55, 0.65 and 0.72.
The noise factor. The default value, 0.50, should work in most cases.
An alternate method of setting the noise factor. You need to understand how my filter works in order to use it.
Force the CPU to a particular type. It is normally auto detected. To see if it is detected correctly turn logging on. The first line of the output will display the CPU type. Current valid values for this value are: 0 - Generic, 2 - Integer SSE, 3 - SSE, 4 - SSE2.
Allow reading of unaligned data. Normally SmartDecimate may ignore a few pixels at the beginning or end of each row, so that reads are aligned nicely. Setting this value to true will prevent this.
The following options can be used to control the printing of useful information:
The verbosity of the information printed. Default is 2.
If set, all output will be appended to the filename specified
If set to true, then a console window will pop up and all output will be sent to it
If set, then all output will be printed using the OutputDebugString system call. You can view this output with a utility such as DebugView
The meaning of the information printed is as follows:
"Reseting to NUM"
means that the internal variables are reset and any patterns are reset. This will happen when ever the video is accessed in a non-linear way.
"FRAME 3 = [3, 4]"
indicates how frame number 3 (for example) is being rendered. Here 3 indicates the primary source field that is chosen. If the frame is to be rendered by weaving two fields together, the numbers in [] indicate which source fields are chosen. If the frame is to be bob deinterlaced that the [] will instead be "BOB".
indicates the difference between to source field NUM and NUM+1. WHAT is the classification of the difference with 0 meaning the same, 1 similar, and 2 different. DIFF is the numerical difference.

The following options may be used to tune internal parameters. In order to understand what they do, you will need to look at the source. They may be changed between releases.

Understanding how SmartDecimate Works

This discussion assumes that the reader is familiar with interlaced video, and knows the meaning of such terms as frame, field, top field, bottom field, BFF, TFF, telecide, telecine, 3:2 pulldown, etc..

Other telecide filters generally remove telecine in a two step process. First telecine fields are matched up but the frame rate is not changed, then duplicate frames are removed. SmartDecimate does not work this way. SmartDecimate instead, combines telecine fields and decimates the frame rate at the same time.

The very first thing SmartDecimate does is to use "SeparateFields()", which will split the video into individual fields, which will also double the frame rate. Therefore field number 9 really is the bottom field of frame 4 (assume the video is TFF) before separating it into fields. For simplicity, I will always refer to fields from the source video in this way.

SmartDecimate then selects fields in a regular pattern, trying to avoid selecting duplicate fields. More precisely, let N be the destination frame number and R be the ratio which for 3:2 pulldown will be 24/60 = 2/5, then SmartDecimate choses between field floor(N/R) and floor(N/R) + 1. For example, for destination frame number 5, using typical 3:2 pulldown, SmartDecimate will chose between field 12 and 13. Which one it choses is rather complicated, and something I will not get into here.

After a source field is chosen, it needs to decide how to render it. SmartDecimate choses between: 1) matching it up with the previous field, 2) matching it up with the next field, or 3) bob deinterlacing it. Which one it choses is based on how similar the field is to the previous or next field. If the field is the same as the previous or next field it will match it up with that field by weaving the two fields together. If it can't find a matching field, it will bob deinterlace the current field. SmartDecimate doesn't actually do the final rendering. Instead it uses anther AviSynth filter to do the work for it. In the case of weaving it will use DoubleWeave(), and in the case of bobbing it will use Bob() or a smart bob filter if one is provided.

Tuning T_Max

In order to discover which fields are different from each other and which are the same, SmartDecimate looks for peaks in the difference string. That is given three values representing the difference between four consecutive fields A B C D, if BC (ie the difference between B and C) > AB and BC > CD and AB and CD are close in value than the fields A and B are likely to be the same, fields B and C are likely to be different, and fields C and D are likely to be the same.

However, this method is not perfect and can sometimes classify high motion scenes when similar difference values between frames (that is AB and CD are the similar) as being the same. So, to control this SmartDecimate simply assumes all fields with a difference greater than a fixed threshold can not possibly be the same. Unfortunately there is no optimal value for this threshold so it is set at a reasonable value which should do well on most clips that are not extremely noisy. However, this value will generally let some different fields through which will lead to combing artifacts. To avoid this, the threshold, "t_max", should be set as low as possible.

To discover what the best value for "t_max" is for a particular clip you will need to know what the differences between frames are. The easiest way to do this is to set the "log_file" option (with the log level set at 2 or higher) and run SmartDecimate on a significant portion of your clip. Once that is done you should see something like the following in the log file:

Diff 827: 0 6.11586e-008
FRAME 331 = [828,827]
Diff 828: 2 8.21554e-005
Diff 829: 0 3.69098e-008
Diff 830: 0 3.27322e-008
FRAME 332 = [830,831]
Diff 831: 2 0.000124936
Diff 832: 0 6.48069e-008
FRAME 333 = [832,833]
Diff 833: 2 0.000102379
Diff 834: 0 3.54472e-008
The lines you are interested in are the ones that begin with "Diff ...". The first number after the Diff is the source field number. The second number is the classification of the difference with 0 meaning the same, 1 similar, and 2 different. The final number is the actual difference. What you are interested in is the difference of frames classified as the same. You want to set t_max to slightly above the maximum value of all differences classified as the same. For this clip 7.0e-8 may be a good value. But since I only looked at a small portion of the clip it may need to be higher as differences can vary by a large amount. It is best to look at the value for several different areas of the clip to get a safe value. Assuming 7.0e-8 is a good value I can use it as follows:
I wrote 0.000000070 instead of 7.0e-8 because AviSynth does not seem to support scientific notation. To be sure that you converted the number correctly set the log level to 3 or higher and look for a line like:
t1_max = 7.00000e-008  t2_max = 2.10000e-007  max_last_set = 13
The value you are interested in is t1_max which is is 7e-8. Thus I converted the number correctly. The other values are for other internal thresholds.

Once you think you've found a good value for t_max, rerun your clip though SmartDecimate with a log level set at 3 or higher to make sure that you did not set it too low. If you set it to low an excessive number of frames will be bobbed and you will see messages such as:

2001: T1 Maxed Out at 2.00000e-008
These messages are normal for the true video parts of your clip but should not be seen in the telecine parts of your clip. If you see them, it means t_max is to small and needs to be raised. The exact value can be discovered by looking at the differences for the surrounding frames. For example:
Diff 1999: 2 3.08506e-008
Diff 2000: 1 4.03734e-008
Diff 2001: 2 8.89810e-006
Diff 2002: 1 2.93221e-008
indicates that t_max should be at least 4.04e-8, but 4.5e-8 would be a safer value.

Finally, please note that "t_max" and "noise" both control the same internal parameter which is "t1_max". They just do it in a different way. "t_max" sets it directly while "noise" sets it indirectly based on an exponential formula. As as SmartDecimate 0.21 this formula is:

  t1_max = exp(17.65*noise - 20.71)
But the exact parameters can change between any release. The idea is that a noise value of 0.50 (the default) should work well with most clips while 0.80 can be used for really noisy clips, etc.

Using a Post Deinterlacer

Ideally, the fields rendered by SmartDecimate should not need to be deinterlaced if the parameters are properly tuned. Realistically, a post deinterlacer might be useful. However, since SmartDecimate works on the field rather than the frame level there are some things you should be aware of.

Most deinterlacers work by always choosing the top field (or perhaps the bottom) as the dominate field and selectively throwing information in the other field out and then interpolating or blending. For normal 30 fps (or 25 fps pal) this is the correct thing to do. However, for the output of SmartDecimate, this is not correct because the dominant field is not always the same. It will depend on which field SmartDecimate originally chose from the source video, and can either be the top or the bottom field. Thus, a traditional deinterlacer might throw out the wrong field. This might not even be noticeable, but you should be aware of it.

Authors of deinterlace filers can correct this problem by paying attention to the parity of the frame. SmartDecimate will always report the parity of the original field chosen as the parity of the final rendered frame. If the parity is true, then the top field should be chosen. If it is false, the bottom field. I will also be willing to pass hints on to the deinterlacer to indicate which fields are bobbed if someone will tell me how.

Dealing With Unwanted Motion

By using the "weave" option, you can use different clips for the input and the output. This is useful for dealing with subtitles or other motion that you do not want to be considered when matching frames. For example, to crop off subtitles you might want to try.
  b = Bob()
  w = DoubleWeave()
  SmartDecimate(bob = b, weave = w)
Then, the output video will not be cropped, but the last 64 lines will not be seen by SmartDecimate. If you use this method, then the bob source must also be specified. If you don't specify a bob source, then it will attempt to use the input clip for "Bob()". But the resulting clip will not have the same dimensions as the weave source.

Smart Decimate vs Decomb

Before Decomb 5 by Donald Graft (aka Neuron2), traditional telecine filters (that work by first matching telecine fields up and then decimating by removing duplicate frames) had a tendency to duplicate frames. With Decomb 5 Donald seems to have that problem solved. Nevertheless, the SmartDecimate approach does have a number of advantages over the Decomb approach and vice versa. So neither approach is necessarily better than the other. Which filter you use depends on the source material and the target frame rate.

Clean 3:2 pulldown material

Both Smart Decimate and Decomb will work great. Decomb may still leave some duplicate frames for highly irregular 3:2 pulldown material. Smart Decimate on the other hand, by the nature of how it works, will generally not, but it may end up bobbing some frames that it shouldn't. In my informal tests Smart Decimate is slightly faster than Decomb when Decomb's post processing is turned off. With post processing Smart Decimate is a lot faster.

Hybrid 3:2 pulldown and interlaced video

If for whatever reason you wish to leave the video at 30fps, then use Decomb. Smart Decimate will be able to match telecine frames up when going from 60 -> 30fps but it will also duplicate frames. Decomb has a special mode to deal with this by blurring frames together, which can lead to smoother motion.

If your target frame rate is 24fps, then the choice is based on personal taste, as both Smart Decimate and Decomb handle the situation completely differently, and with very different results.

Smart Decimate will handle video by selecting frames from a bobbed source (twice the frame rate) in a 3:2 pattern. That is, it goes from 60 -> 24fps. This leads to fairly smooth motion without having to resort to blurring frames together. However, the video is still slightly jerky. In my experience, the slight jerkiness is generally not noticeable except when there is scrolling text. For example, when decimating scrolling credits in this fashion, the results are awful. Since bobbed frames are used, you will also have some bobbing artifacts. The results will not be very good unless a smart bob is used.

Decomb, on the other hand, will try to decimate true video by going from a deinterlaced 30 fps source to 24 fps. It does this in one of two ways. The first thing it can do is to simply drop one in every 5 frames. This approach will lead to extremely jerky results. The other thing it can do it is to blend frames together. This approach will lead to smoother video than the Smart Decimate approach, but not without undesirable artifacts. Moving areas of the image will generally be blurry. With very high motion, double images can appear which can make it hard for the eye to follow the motion. Blurring frames together also negatively effects compression because it makes following motion more difficult.

Hybrid with 30 fps progressive

If your video has a decent amount of true 30 fps progressive material in it, then you're better off with Decomb. By the nature of how my filter works, it will drop one frame in every 5 when converting it to 24 fps.

Decomb on the other hand sees interlaced video and 30 fps progressive as the same thing and will thus be able to blur frames together for smother motion. If your clip is mostly video/30 fps progressive with some 3:2 pulldown Decomb can also keep it at 30 fps and blend the pulldown material for better results.

Strange Telecine Patterns

If your telecine pattern is not 3:2 pulldown (or simple 25 fps progressive in the case of pal) and you want to attempt to restore it to its original frame rate you should try both Smart Decimate or Decomb and see which one works out better. I have no experience in this area, so I really don't know.

Other Things to Try with Smart Decimate

Here are some other things you might want to try with Smart Decimate that can't be done using traditional telecine filters such as Decomb.

Better Bob of Telecine Material

If your material contains any telecine material and you want to bob deinterlace it to get 60 fps than you should try:
  SmartDecimate(1,1, tel=0.25, bob=DgBob(...))
which will lead to better results than using DgBob (or most other smart bob filters) alone, since telecine frames are duplicated rather than being bob deinterlaced. This could make a major difference with anime.

Dealing with Telecine with Blurred Frames

If you are dealing with a lot of blurred frames, here is something to try. Use SmartDecimate(1,1) and then attempt to pick out the non-blurred frames by only choosing frames that are duplicated at least once. You might be able to do the latter step with Decimate() from the Decomb package, or MultiDecimate. I have no idea how well this will work as I have never tried it but I thought I would mention it in case someone is interested in pursuing it.


When MMX/SSE optimization is used SmartDecimate may ignore up to 6 (14 for SSE2) pixels in the beginning or end of each row so that memory reads are aligned. If this bothers you, then set "unaligned" to true, which will force SmartDecimate to use the non-optimized code when reading frame data.

SmartDecimate will warn about any pixels ignored if the logging level is set at level 0 or higher.


To compile SmartDecimate you will need to install Gcc and Nasm, and perhaps GNU Make. I used MinGW (2.0.0-3) with MSYS 1.09, Gcc 3.3.1, and Nasm 0.98.37. Except for Nasm, all of the required utilities can be found on the MinGW Download page. Other configurations should work, but you may need to edit the Makefile. Once all the proper tools are installed and in the path, simply type:
from the MSYS shell and that is all that should be required.

Final Words

Feedback more than appreciated. Please send it to at


0.23 (Sep 16, 2003)

0.22 (Sep 12, 2003)

0.21 (Sep 7, 2003)

0.20 (Aug 29, 2003)

0.12 (Aug 22, 2003)

0.11 (Aug 18, 2003)

0.10 (Aug 16, 2003)