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Summary

MPEG-4 scenes are encoded according to the Binary Format for Scenes (BIFS). An extension of VRML, BIFS supports all VRML97 nodes in the second version of the MPEG-4 standard. In addition, BIFS introduces a number of new nodes and capabilities not found in VRML, including support for 2D shapes, 2D/3D composition, streaming, and facial and body animation. As a binary format that utilizes quantization compression, BIFS content is encoded in an extremely compact and efficient manner (BIFS files are typically 10 to 15 times smaller than corresponding VRML files).

To build interactive applications, BIFS defines commands that can modify, delete, or replace objects in the scene. The BIFS-Command protocol is used to send commands acting on a scene from a server to a client terminal in which the scene resides. Although the BIFS-Command protocol can be used to produce scene animation, the BIFS-Anim protocol (discussed in detail in the next chapter) offers better compression and synchronization capabilities for such purposes.


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