Action Search: Spotting Targets in Videos and Its Application to Temporal Action Localization

A human search steps history to spot a given action in a long video. Humans are remarkebly effecient in finding the target without observing a big portion of the video.


State-of-the-art temporal action detectors inefficiently search the entire video for specific actions. Despite the encouraging progress these methods achieve, it is crucial to design automated approaches that only explore parts of the video which are the most relevant to the actions being searched for. To address this need, we propose the new problem of action spotting in video, which we define as finding a specific action in a video while observing a small portion of that video. Inspired by the observation that humans are extremely efficient and accurate in spotting and finding action instances in video, we propose Action Search, a novel Recurrent Neural Network approach that mimics the way humans spot actions. Moreover, to address the absence of data recording the behavior of human annotators, we put forward the Human Searches dataset, which compiles the search sequences employed by human annotators spotting actions in the AVA and THUMOS14 datasets. We consider temporal action localization as an application of the action spotting problem. Experiments on the THUMOS14 dataset reveal that our model is not only able to explore the video efficiently (observing on average 17.3% of the video) but it also accurately finds human activities with 30.8% mAP.

In the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)


  title={Action Search: Spotting Targets in Videos and Its Application to Temporal Action Localization},
  author={Alwassel, Humam and Caba Heilbron, Fabian and Ghanem, Bernard},
  booktitle={The European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)},