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Wavelet-based coding is emerging as a promising framework for efficient and scalable compression of video. Nevertheless, a number of basic tools currently employed in this field have been conceived for hybrid block-based transform coding. This is the case of motion estimation, which generally aims to minimize the energy or the absolute sum of prediction error. However, as wavelet video coders do not employ predictive coding, this is no longer an optimal approach. In this paper we study the problem of the theoretical optimal criterion for wavelet-based video coders, using coding gain as merit figure. A simple solution has been found for a peculiar but useful class of temporal filters. Experiments confirm that the optimally estimated vectors increase the coding gain as well as the performance of a complete video coder, but at the cost of an augmented complexity.