Grounding Spatial Prepositions for Video Search

Stefanie Tellex, Deb Roy


Spatial language video retrieval is an important real-world problem that forms a test bed for evaluating semantic structures for natural language descriptions of motion on naturalistic data. Video search by natural language query requires that linguistic input be converted into structures that operate on video in order to find clips that match a query. This paper describes a framework for grounding the meaning of spatial prepositions in video. We present a library of features that can be used to automatically classify a video clip based on whether it matches a natural language query. To evaluate these features, we collected a corpus of natural language descriptions about the motion of people in video clips. We characterize the language used in the corpus, and use it to train and test models for the meanings of the spatial prepositions “to,” “across,” “through,” “out,” “along,” “towards,” and “around.” The classifiers can be used to build a spatial language video retrieval system that finds clips matching queries such as “across the kitchen.”

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