Depth is one of the most important parameters in three dimensional videos (3DV). To improve the coding efficiency of depth maps, a virtual view oriented distortion criterion is proposed to substitute the mean squared error during the rate distortion optimisation process. By employing the proposed distortion criterion, the bit rates of depth maps could be reduced while maintaining the same quality of synthesised virtual views. Experimental results demonstrate that an average of -6.89- and a maximum of -23.04- coding bit rate reduction of depth maps could be achieved while maintaining the same quality of synthesised virtual view.
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