A system and method for determining quantization level versus bit-rate characteristics of raw video signals in video frames during a pre-encoding phase for video technologies such as MPEG and MPEG-2. During a pre-encoding phase, various quantization levels are assigned to various parts of a frame, and the frame is then pre-encoded to determine a bit-rate for each quantization level used in the pre-encoding phase. Depending on the embodiment, quantization levels are assigned in one of many ways: checkerboard style, block style or any other distribution that avoids statistical anomalies. The method and system repeat the pre-encoding for plural frames, recording all quantization level versus bit-rate statistics on a frame by frame basis. These statistics are then used during encoding or re-encoding of a digital video to control the number of bits allocated to one segment of the digital video as compared to another segment, based on a target quality and target storage size for each segment. The resulting encoded digital video is stored on a digital storage medium, such as a compact disc.
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