Protecting premium video content with frame-based forensic watermarking

Digital watermarking is a quintessential tool to deter piracy on OTT platforms. It is the process of securely and invisibly embedding a meta key dependent signal into digital data. Some watermarking techniques take advantage of compression standard peculiarities, while others include watermarks in a 3D transform method.

Watermarking a series of frames is the most used forensic video watermarking approach nowadays. Imperceptible watermark information is placed in static video frames across the media content in the frame-based forensic watermarking techniques. Such watermarks stand the test of re-compression, geometrical deformations adding noise, frequency alteration, etc. Frame-based video watermarking employs one of two embedding strategies: Either a separate watermark is injected in each video frame or the same metadata is inserted in all the frames. Repeating the same sequence of watermarks has a potential security risk, since it allows attackers to group frames and undertake a watermark estimation re-modulation (WER) attack.

Watermarking is typically done as part of a soft or hard transcoder, such as SDK or from a standalone command line application. The SDK approach using a video frame-based data interactive interface that simplifies media asset manipulation while lowering the watermarking process’s performance requirements. The video frames are then decoded from the media source, which could be an offline video file, DRM protected content, or even live TV.

The SDK accepts video frames in the RGB format one frame at a time and returns watermarked frames with the same picture properties, such as width, height, and pixel format but with additional metadata. At this juncture, frames are ready to be transcoded into a media file. The SDK delivers the same pixel format as the output to the transcoder, allowing it to convert it to its final form.

Reducing the time and efforts required to process embedding and retrieving the watermark is at the core of frame-based forensic video watermarking method.The same method also offers the advantage of extracting data from tiny samples of films that are only a few frames long. As a result, frame-based watermarking techniques can assist provide an extra layer of protection to DRM protected content by securely encoding identifiable data that can be recovered in the event of a breach or leak.