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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V002740/1
Title: Multimodal Video Search by Examples (MVSE)
Principal Investigator: Wang, Professor H
Other Investigators:
Bond, Dr R R Mulvenna, Professor MD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BBC
Department: Sch of Computing & Mathematical Sci
Organisation: University of Ulster
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2020 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 720,502
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Computational Linguistics
Human Communication in ICT Image & Vision Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
EP/V006223/1 EP/V002856/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Jul 2020 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel July 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
How to effectively and efficiently search for content from large video archives such as BBC TV programmes is a significant challenge. Search is typically done via keyword queries using pre-defined metadata such as titles, tags and viewer's notes. However, it is difficult to use keywords to search for specific moments in a video where a particular speaker talks about a specific topic at a particular location. Most videos have little or no metadata about content in the video, and automatic metadata extraction is not yet sufficiently reliable. Furthermore, metadata may change over time and cannot cover all content. Therefore, search by keyword is not a desirable approach for a comprehensive and long-lasting video search solution.

Video search by examples is a desirable alternative as it allows search for content by one or more examples of the interested content without having to specify interest in keyword. However, video search by examples is notoriously challenging, and its performance is still poor. To improve search performance, multiple modalities should be considered - image, sound, voice and text, as each modality provides a separate search cue so multiple cues should identify more relevant content. This is multimodal video search by examples (MVSE). This is an emerging area of research, and the current state of the art is far from desirable so there is a long way to go. There is no commercial service for MVSE.

This proposal has been co-created with BBC R&D through the BBC Data Science Partnership via a number of online meetings and one face to face meeting involving all partners. The proposal has been informed by recent unpublished ethnographic research on how current BBC staff (producers, journalists, archivists) search for media content. It was found that they were very interested in knowledge retrieval from archives or other sources but they required richer metadata and cataloguing of non-verbal data.

In this proposal we will study efficient, effective, scalable and robust MVSE where video archives are large, historical and dynamic; and the modalities are person (face or voice), context, and topic. The aim is to develop a framework for MVSE and validate it through the development of a prototype search tool. Such a search tool will be useful for organisations such as the BBC and British Library, who maintain large collections of video archives and want to provide a search tool for their own staff as well as for the public. It will also be useful for companies such as Youtube who host videos from the public and want to enable video search by examples. We will address key challenges in the development of an efficient, effective, scalable and robust MVSE solution, including video segmentation, content representation, hashing, ranking and fusion.

This proposal is planned for three years, involving three institutions (Cambridge, Surrey, Ulster) and one partner (the BBC) who will contribute significant resources (estimated at £128.4k) to the project (see Letter of Support from the BBC).
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