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Rate control regulates the output bit rate of a video encoder in order to obtain optimum visual quality within the available network bandwidth and to maintain buffer fullness within a specified tolerance range. In this paper, we propose a novel rate control scheme for H.264/AVC video compression with a number of new features. We first introduce a calculation approach of frame complexity based on the linear prediction theory. Then, we propose a joint rate-distortion model which is an integration of a liner rate-complexity model and an exponential rate-quantization model. Finally, we develop an effective target bit estimation approach. Experimental results show that, compared with JVT-W042, our scheme achieves more accurate rate regulation, provides robust buffer control, efficiently reduces frame skipping, and improves visual quality.