A study of actor and action semantic retention in video supervoxel segmentation

Chenliang Xu, Richard F. Doell, Stephen José Hanson, Catherine Hanson, Jason J. Corso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Existing methods in the semantic computer vision community seem unable to deal with the explosion and richness of modern, open-source and social video content. Although sophisticated methods such as object detection or bag-of-words models have been well studied, they typically operate on low level features and ultimately suffer from either scalability issues or a lack of semantic meaning. On the other hand, video supervoxel segmentation has recently been established and applied to large scale data processing, which potentially serves as an intermediate representation to high level video semantic extraction. The supervoxels are rich decompositions of the video content: they capture object shape and motion well. However, it is not yet known if the supervoxel segmentation retains the semantics of the underlying video content. In this paper, we conduct a systematic study of how well the actor and action semantics are retained in video supervoxel segmentation. Our study has human observers watching supervoxel segmentation videos and trying to discriminate both actor (human or animal) and action (one of eight everyday actions). We gather and analyze a large set of 640 human perceptions over 96 videos in 3 different supervoxel scales. Furthermore, we design a feature defined on supervoxel segmentation, called supervoxel shape context, which is inspired by the higher order processes in human perception. We conduct actor and action classification experiments with this new feature and compare to various traditional video features. Our ultimate findings suggest that a significant amount of semantics have been well retained in the video supervoxel segmentation and can be used for further video analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-375
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Semantic Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


  • Semantic retention
  • action recognition
  • computer vision
  • video supervoxel segmentation

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