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Motion vectors calculation in MPEG-like codecs

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Not really sure if the right forum but hey - codecs display graphics so... :).

I've been wondering how to calculate motion vectors. When encoding a video offline I can imagine one could spend enough time to search a large neighbourhood to find a motion vector that maps the current frame block to the previous frame block with minimal differences (hence achieve better compression). But what about live broadcasting where time is of value? How would a codec estimate a motion vector? Search small neighbourhood?

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