A full reference video measures the impact of visual distortions on perceived quality by representing them in a perceptual domain (a domain in which signals have a representation and a magnitude related to visual perception) and comparing the measured video with its reference video. The reference video is the video which represent the same content as the measured video but which doesn't contain the distortions which must be taken into account.
Typically, to benchmark a video encoder, the reference video is the one located at the input of the encoder and the measured video is the one located at the encoder's output.
Our full reference video quality metric is the result of many years of research on human vision modeling and on the application of models to perceived video quality measurement.
This metric is generic: it is not dedicated to a given encoding format. Therefore, this metric can measure the quality of virtually any kind of video (having any type of distortions, using any encoding format).
Indeed, this metric doesn't try to detect codec-specific artefacts : our full reference metric extracts visual features that are similar to the ones used by the Human Visual System (HVS).
The features extracted from the tested video are then compared to the features extracted from the reference video. This comparison produces a quality score expressed on a DMOS (Differential Mean Opinion Score) scale.
A DMOS represents the perceived quality loss of the tested video with respect to the quality of the reference video. That's why the reference video that are used should have very good quality or even an excellent quality.
Related product: Video Quality Analyzer (get a free evaluation version).