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Motion compensation in computing, is an algorithmic technique used to predict a frame in a video, given the previous and/or future frames by accounting for motion of the camera and/or objects in the video. It is employed in the encoding of video data for video compression, for example in the generation of MPEG-2 files. Motion compensation describes a picture in terms of the transformation of a reference picture to the current picture. The reference picture may be previous in time or even from the future. When images can be accurately synthesized from previously transmitted/stored images, the compression efficiency can be improved.

Visualization of MPEG block motion compensation. Blocks that moved from one frame to the next are shown as white arrows, making the motions of the different platforms and the character clearly visible.

Motion compensation is one of the two key video compression techniques used in video coding standards, along with the discrete cosine transform (DCT). Most video coding standards, such as the H.26x and MPEG formats, typically use motion-compensated DCT hybrid coding,[1][2] known as block motion compensation (BMC) or motion-compensated DCT (MC DCT).