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B frame bi-directional predictions and the DIRECT mode coding of the H.264video compression standard necessitate a complex mode decision process, resulting in a long computation time. To make H.264 feasible, this paper proposes an image backtrackbased fast (IBFD) algorithm and evaluates the performances of two promising fast algorithms (i.e., AFDM and IBFD). Evaluation results show that an image backtrackbased fast (IBFD) algorithm can determine DIRECT mode macroblocks with 13% higher accuracy, as compared with the AFDM. Furthermore, IBFD is shown to reduce the motion estimation time of B frames by up to 23% with a negligible quality degradation