ACM Multimedia 95 - Electronic Proceedings
November 5-9, 1995
San Francisco, California

Automating the Creation of a Digital Video Library

Michael A. Smith
Smith Hall
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 268-8424

Michael G. Christel
Software Engineering Institute
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 268-7799

ACM Copyright Notice

Table of Contents


The InformediaTM Project has established a large on-line digital video library, incorporating video assets from WQED/Pittsburgh. The project is creating intelligent, automatic mechanisms for populating the library and allowing for its full-content and knowledge-based search and segment retrieval. An example of the display environment for the system is shown in Figure 1. The library retrieval system can effectively process natural queries and deliver relevant video data in a compact, subject-specific format, based on information embedded with the video during library creation. Through the combined efforts of Carnegie Mellon's speech, image and natural language processing groups, this system provides a robust tool for utilizing all modes of video data [Christel95]. The Informedia Project uses the Sphinx-II speech recognition system to transcribe narratives and dialogues automatically [Hwang94]. The resulting transcript is then processed through methods of natural language understanding to extract subjective descriptions and mark potential segment boundaries where significant semantic changes occur [Mauldin91]. Comparative difference measures are used in processing the video to mark potential segment boundaries. Images with small histogram disparity are considered to be relatively equivalent. By detecting significant changes in the weighted histogram of each successive frame, a sequence of images can be grouped into a segment. This simple and robust method for segmentation is fast and can detect 90% of the scene changes in video.

Segment breaks produced by image processing are examined along with the boundaries identified by the natural language processing of the transcript, and an improved set of segment boundaries are heuristically derived to partition the video library into sets of segments, or "video paragraphs" [Hauptmann95]. The technology for this process is shown in Figure 2.

<-- Table of Contents

Video Skimming

An initial use of the combined technology is the development of the video skim [Smith95]. By only displaying significant regions, a short synopsis of the video paragraph can be used as a preview for the actual segment. Compression rates as high as 20:1 make it possible to "skim" large amounts of data in a short time. A transcript is created by Sphinx-II from the audio track. Keywords are extracted from this transcript based on word frequency/inverse document frequency weightings [Mauldin91], and separated from the audio track [Hauptmann95]. Significant image frames are identified through the use of various image understanding techniques which interpret camera motion and object presence. At regular speed, the identified subset of image and audio information is combined to produce the skim with only a small number of selected regions displayed. Figure 3 shows an example of a video region isolated during skim creation from the "Destruction of Species" documentary (WQED/Pittsburgh).
<-- Table of Contents

Demonstration System

The demonstration shows the exploration of a digital video library consisting of various material from WQED's scientific video collection. Video paragraphing and alternate representations of the video such as text transcripts, image overviews, and skims allow the user of the library to retrieve relevant information more efficiently and easily.

The system utilizes the automated methods of image and audio segmentation for creating the video paragraphs. Image processing is used to create alternate representations for a video paragraph, from a single representative image or "poster frame" to a family of poster frames or "paragraph filmstrip" to a skim with a temporal component. Speech processing is used to create and augment these representations as well, from synchronizing text transcripts to the video to assisting in the creation of skims. At present, many of the other components used in the system are created in a computer assisted manner. Future library creation will be streamlined through improved integration of image and natural language processing for automated scene characterization and speech recognition for automated transcript generation. Forthcoming improvements will also include access to data transmitted by high speed networks, and empirically validated, age-appropriate user interfaces with multimodal query support.

<-- Table of Contents


Christel, M., Stevens, S., Kanade, T., Mauldin, M., Reddy, R., Wactlar, H., "Techniques for the Creation and Exploration of Digital Video Libraries," to appear as Chapter 17 in Multimedia Tools and Applications (Volume 2), B. Furht, ed. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995.
Hauptmann, A., and Smith, M., "Text, Speech, and Vision for Video Segmentation: The Informedia TM Project," AAAI Fall 1995 Symposium on Computational Models for Integrating Language and Vision, in press.
Hwang, M., Rosenfeld, R., Thayer, E., Mosur, R., Chase, L., Weide, R., Huang, X., Alleva, F., "Improving Speech Recognition Performance via Phone-Dependent VQ Code-books and Adaptive Language Models in SPHINX-II," ICASSP-94, vol. I, pp. 549-552.
Mauldin, M., "Information Retrieval by Text Skimming," PhD Thesis, Carnegie Mellon University. August 1989. Revised edition published as "Conceptual Information Retrieval: A Case Study in Adaptive Partial Parsing," Kluwer Press, Sept. 1991.
Smith, M., Kanade, T., "Video Skimming for Quick Browsing Based on Audio and Image Characterization," Carnegie Mellon University technical report CMU-CS-95-186, July 1995. Also submitted to PAMI Journal (Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence), 1995.
<-- Table of Contents