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The latest under development video coding standard, H.264, uses multiple reference frames to improve the rate-distortion performance. However, the motion estimation process involved is computational intensive and increases linearly with the number of allowed reference frames. In this paper, a novel fast multi-frame selection method (FMFME) is proposed for H.264 video coding. The proposed FMFME can efficiently reduce the computational cost up to 76% with similar quality and bit-rate.