Guidelines for the TRECVID 2004 Evaluation

(last updated: Thursday, 17-Feb-2005 14:01:38 EST)

0. Table of Contents:

1. Goal:

The main goal of the TREC Video Retrieval Evaluation (TRECVID) is to promote progress in content-based retrieval from digital video via open, metrics-based evaluation.

2. Tasks:

TRECVID is a laboratory-style evaluation that attempts to model real world situations or significant component tasks involved in such situations.

There are four main tasks with tests associated and participants must complete at least one of these in order to attend the workshop.

2.1 Shot boundary detection:

The task is as follows: identify the shot boundaries with their location and type (cut or gradual) in the given video clip(s)

2.2 Story segmentation:

The task is as follows: given the story boundary test collection, identify the story boundaries with their location (time). The story classification task from 2003 with only two types left too little room to do better than a baseline that always guesses "News" so it will not be continued.

A story can be composed of multiple shots, e.g. an anchorperson introduces a reporter and the story is finished back in the studio-setting. On the other hand, a single shot can contain story boundaries, e.g. an anchorperson switching to the next news topic.

The task is based on manual story boundary annotations made by LDC for the TDT-2 project. Therefore, LDC's definition of a story will be used in the task: A news story is defined as a segment of a news broadcast with a coherent news focus which contains at least two independent, declarative clauses. Other coherent segments are labeled as miscellaneous. These non-news stories cover a mixture of footage: commercials, lead-ins and reporter chit-chat. Guidelines that were used for annotating the TDT-2 dataset are available at Other useful documents are the guidelines document for the annotation of the TDT4 corpus and a similar document on TDT3, which discuss the annotation guidelines for the different corpora. Section 2 in the TDT4 document is of particular interest for the story segmentation task.
Note: adjacent non-news stories are merged together and annotated as one single story classified as "miscellaneous".

Differences from the TDT-2 story segmentation task:

  1. TRECVID 2004 uses a subset of TDT2 dataset: only video sources.
  2. Video stream is available to enhance story segmentation.
  3. The task is modeled as a retrospective action, so it is allowed to use global data.
There are several required runs with different inputs:
  1. Required: Video + Audio (no ASR, no transcripts, etc.)
  2. Required: Video + Audio + LIMSI ASR (no transcripts, etc.)
  3. Required: LIMSI ASR (just the ASR)
Additional optional runs can may use other ASR and/or the closed-captions-based transcripts provided with the test data (*.tkn), etc.

With TRECVID 2004's story segmentation task, we hope to show how video information can enhance story segmentation algorithms.

2.3 Feature extraction:

Various high-level semantic features, concepts such as "Indoor/Outdoor", "People", "Speech" etc., occur frequently in video databases. The proposed task will contribute to work on a benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of detection methods for semantic concepts

The task is as follows: given the feature test collection, the common shot boundary reference for the feature extraction test collection, and the list of feature definitions(see below), participants will return for each feature the list of at most 2000 shots from the test collection, ranked according to the highest possibility of detecting the presence of the feature. Each feature is assumed to be binary, i.e., it is either present or absent in the given reference shot.

Participants are encouraged to make their feature detection submission available to other participants for use in the search task. Donors should provide the donated detection over the search test collection in the feature exchange format by the date indicated in the schedule below..

Description of features to be detected:

The descriptions are meant to be clear to humans, e.g., assessors/annotators creating truth data and system developers attempting to automate feature detection. They are not meant to indicate how automatic detection should be achieved.

If the feature is true for some frame (sequence) within the shot, then it is true for the shot; and vice versa. This is a simplifaction adopted for the benefits it affords in pooling of results and approximating the basis for calculating recall.

NOTE: In the following, "contains x" is short for "contains x to a degree sufficient for x to be recognizable as x to a human" . This means among other things that unless explicitly stated, partial visibility or audibility may suffice.

Ten features were chosen from the set used in the common feature annotation for 2003 and those tested in 2003.

NOTE: Although no feature definitions were shared during the 2003 annotation effort, NIST will instruct the assessors during the manual evaluation of 2004 feacture extraction submissions as follows. The fact that a segment contains video of physical objects representing the topic target, such as photos, paintings, models, or toy versions of the topic target, should NOT be grounds for judging the feature to be true for the segment. Containing video of the target within video may be grounds for doing so.

Note the in the running numbering scheme across TRECVIDs, the features for 2004 are numbered 28 - 37. Please use these numbers in submissions.

2.4 Search:

The task is as follows: given the search test collection, a multimedia statement of information need (topic), and the common shot boundary reference for the search test collection, return a ranked list of at most 1000 common reference shots from the test collection, which best satisfy the need. Please note the following restrictions for this task:

  1. TRECVID 2004 will set aside the challenging problem of fully automatic topic analysis and query generation. Submissions will be restricted to those with a human in the loop, i.e., manual or interactive runs as defined below.

  2. graphic description of run types

  3. Because the choice of features and their combination for search is an open research question, no attempt will be made to restrict groups with respect to their use of features in search. However, groups making manual runs should report their queries, query features, and feature definitions.

  4. Every submitted run must contain a result set for each topic.

  5. One baseline run will be required of every manual system:

    1. A run based only on the text from the LIMSI ASR output and on the text of the topics.

  6. In order to maximize comparability within and across participating groups, all manual runs within any given site must be carried out by the same person.

  7. An interactive run will contain one result for each and every topic, each such result using the same system variant. Each result for a topic can come from only one searcher, but the same searcher does not need to be used for all topics in a run. Here are some suggestions for interactive experiments.

  8. The searcher should have no experience of the topics beyond the general world knowledge of an educated adult.

  9. The search system cannot be trained, pre-configured, or otherwise tuned to the topics.

  10. The maximum total elapsed time limit for each topic (from the time the searcher sees the topic until the time the final result set for that topic is returned) in an interactive search run will be 15 minutes. For manual runs the manual effort (topic to query translation) for any given topic will be limited to 15 minutes.

  11. All groups submitting search runs must include the actual elapsed time spent as defined in the videoSearchRunResult.dtd.

  12. Groups carrying out interactive runs should measure user characteristics and satisfaction as well and report this with their results, but they need not submit this information to NIST. Here is some information about the questionnaires to be used and how the team at Dublin City University will collect and distribute the data.

  13. In general, groups are reminded to use good experimental design principles. These include among other things, randomizing the order in which topics are searched for each run so as to balance learning effects.

3. Video data:

3.1 TRECVID 2004 development data

The development and test data for TRECVID 2003 plus various ancillary data created for 2003 (e.g., ASR from LIMSI) will become the development data for TRECVID 2004. TRECVID 2003 participants should already have this data. TRECVID 2004 participants who did not participate in 2003 are informed about how to get the 2003 data from LDC when they apply for TRECVID 2004. The data take up about 130 gigabytes.

The master shot boundary data was mistakenly left off of the TRECVID 2004 development data disk. That data is available here for download.

The Carnegie Mellon University Informedia project has provided a large set of low-level features for the 2004 development data (i.e. for the complete TRECVID 2003 development/test data) as a common reference for TRECVID researchers. Here is a brief README and here is the link to the features on CMU's website.

3.2 TRECVID 2004 test data

We will use 70 hours of video captured by the Linguistic Data Consortium during the last half of 1998 from CNN Headline News and ABC World News Tonight for test data. The video will be in MPEG-1 format. The data are estimated to take up about 80 gigabytes.

About 6 hours of test data will be randomly selected to be used solely as the shot boundary test collection. The remaining 64 hours will be used as test data for the story segmentation, feature extraction, and search tasks, i.e., the test data for those tasks will be identical to each other.

The shot boundary test data (~ 5 gigabytes) will be shipped by NIST to participants on DVDs (DVD+R). Distribution of the remaining test data will be handled by LDC using loaner IDE drives, which must be returned or purchased within 3 weeks of loading it on their system unless they have gotten an exemption from LDC in advance.. The only charge to participants for test data will be the cost of shipping the drive(s) back to LDC. More information about the data will be provided on the TRECVID website starting in March as we know more.

Note: Participating groups from TRECVID 2003 who received a loaner drive and have not returned or bought the drive, are not eligible to participate in TRECVID 2004.

2004 data license agreement for active participants

In order to elligible to receive the test data, you must have completed the following form and faxed it (Attention: Lori Buckland) to fax number in the US.

3.3 Ancillary data associated with the test data

Provided with the ABC/CNN MPEG-1 test data (*.mpg) on the loaner drive will be a number of other datasets.

Closed-captions-based transcript

A closed-captions-based transcript will be provided. The transcript will contain simple tokens (*.tkn) with no other information.

ASR output from LIMSI-CNRS:

Jean-Luc Gauvain of the Spoken Language Processing Group at LIMSI has graciously agreed to donate ASR output for the test collection . Be sure to credit them for this contribution by a non-participant.

   J.L. Gauvain, L. Lamel, and G. Adda.
   The LIMSI Broadcast News Transcription System.
   Speech Communication, 37(1-2):89-108, 2002.

Common shot boundary reference and keyframes:

A common shot boundary reference will again kindly be provided by Georges Quénot at CLIPS-IMAG. Keyframes will also be selected for use in the search and feature extraction tasks.

The emphasis in the common shot boundary reference will be on the shots, not the transitions. The shots are contiguous. There are no gaps between them. They do not overlap. The media time format is based on the Gregorian day time (ISO 8601) norm. Fractions are defined by counting pre-specified fractions of a second. In our case, the frame rate will likely be 29.97. One fraction of a second is thus specified as "PT1001N30000F".

The video id has the format of "XXX" and shot id "shotXXX_YYY". The "XXX" is the sequence number of video onto which the video file name is mapped, this will be listed in the "collection.xml" file. The "YYY" is the sequence number of the shot. Keyframes are identified as by a suffix "_RKF" for the main keyframe (one per shot) or "_NKRF" for additional keyframes derived from subshots that were merged so that shots have a minimum duration of 2 seconcds.

The common shot boundary directory will contain these file(type)s:

Low-level features for the 2004 test data - from CMU

The Carnegie Mellon University Informedia project has provided a large set of low-level features for the 2004 test data as a common reference for TRECVID researchers. Low-level feature OCR files are included. Here is the link to the features on CMU's website

3.4 Restrictions on use of development and test data

Each participating group is responsible for adhering to the letter and spirit of these rules, the intent of which is to make the TRECVID evaluation realsitic, fair and maximally informative about system effectiveness as opposed to other confounding effects on performance. Submissions, which in the judgment of the coordinators and NIST do not comply, will not be accepted.

Test data

The test data shipped by LDC cannot be used for system development and system developers should have no knowledge of it until after they have submitted their results for evaluation to NIST. Depending on the size of the team and tasks undertaken, this may mean isolating certain team members from certain information or operations, freezing system development early, etc.

Participants may use donated feature extraction output from the test collection but incorporation of such features should be automatic so that system development is not affected by knowledge of the extracted features. Anyone doing searches must be isolated from knowledge of that output.

Participants cannot use the knowledge that the test collection comes from news video recorded during the first half of 1998 in the development of their systems. This would be unrealistic.

Development data

The development data is intended for the participants' use in developing their systems. It is up to the participants how the development data is used, e.g., divided into training and validation data, etc.

Other data sets created by LDC for earlier evaluations and derived from the same original videos as the test data cannot be used in developing systems for TRECVID 2004.

If participants use the output of an ASR system, they must submit at least one run using that provided on the loaner drive from LDC. They are free to use the output of other ASR systems in additional runs.

If participants use a closed-captions-based transcript, they must use only that provided on the loaner drive from LDC.

Participants may use other development resources not excluded in these guidelines. Such resources should be reported at the workshop. Note that use of other resources will change the submission's status with respect to system development type, which is described next.

In 2003 a group of participants creating and sharing annotation of the development data for TRECVID 2003.See the Video Collaborative Annotation Forum webpage for details. The set of collaborative annotations created for TRECVID 2003 is part of the development data for 2004. If you use the collaborative annotations, please include the following citation in any publications, presentations, etc.:

  C.-Y. Lin, B. L. Tseng and J. R. Smith, "Video Collaborative Annotation Forum:
  Establishing Ground-Truth Labels on Large Multimedia Datasets,"
  NIST TREC-2003 Video Retrieval Evaluation Conference, Gaithersburg, MD, November 2003.

In order to help isolate system development as a factor in system performance each feature extraction task submission, search task submission, or donation of extracted features must declare its type:

3.5 Data license agreements for active participants

4. Information needs and topics:

4.1 Example types of informations needs

I'm interested in video material / information about:

As an experiment, NIST may create a topic of the form "I'm looking for video that tells me the name of the person/place/thing/event in the image/video example"

Topics may target commercials as well as news content.

4.2 Topics:

The topics, formatted multimedia statements of information need, will be developed by NIST who will control their distribution. The topics will express the need for video concerning people, things, events, locations, etc. and combinations of the former. Candidate topics (text only) will be created at NIST by examining a large subset of the test collection videos without reference to the audio, looking for candidate topic targets. The goal will be to create about equal numbers of topics looking for video of person, things, events, locations. As part of this process NIST will examine a log of almost 13,000 actual queries logged and provided by the BBC for the test time period. Accepted topics will be enhanced with non-textual examples from the Web if possible and from the development data if need be. The goal is to create 25 topics.

* Note: The identification of any commercial product or trade name does not imply endorsement or recommendation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology

5. Submissions and Evaluation:

Please note: Only submissions which are valid when checked against the supplied DTDs will be accepted. You must check your submission. Various checkers exist, e.g., the one at Brown University, Xerces-J,, etc.

The results of the evaluation will be made available to attendees at the TRECVID 2004 workshop and will be published in the final proceedings and/or on the TRECVID website within six months after the workshop. All submissions will likewise be available to interested researchers via the TRECVID website within six months of the workshop.

5.1 Shot boundary detection

5.2 Story segmentation

  • Here is a DTD for a story segmentation submission from a group and a partial example of a segmentation submission. Please check your submission to see that it is well-formed. Stories within a run result must be in chronological sequence with the earliest at the beginning of the file. Submissions should include boundaries for all the videos in the test set.
  • Please send your submissions (up to 10 runs) in an email to Indicate somewhere (e.g., in the subject line) which group you are attached to so that we match you up with the active participant's database.
  • Evaluation
    Comparability with TDT-2 Results

    Results of the TRECVID 2003/4 story segmentation task cannot be directly compared to TDT-2 results because the evaluation datasets differ and different evaluation measures are used. TRECVID 2003/4 participants have shown a preference for a precision/recall oriented evaluation, whereas TDT used (and is still using) normalized detection cost. Finally, TDT was modeled as an on-line task, whereas TRECVID examines story segmentation in an archival setting, permitting the use of global information. However, the TRECVID 2003/4 story segmentation task provides an interesting testbed for cross-resource experiments. In principle, a TDT system could be used to produce an ASR+CC or ASR+CC+Audio run.

    5.3 Feature extraction


    5.4 Search


    6. Milestones:

    The following was the schedule for 2004.

    12. Jan
    NIST sent out Call for participation in TRECVID 2004
    16. Feb
    Applications for participation in TRECVID 2004 due at NIST
      1 Mar
    Final versions of TRECVID 2003 papers due at NIST
    Training data (i.e., 2003 development and/or test data) available from LDC
    30. Apr
    Guidelines complete
    12. Jul
    Test data, common shot reference, and key frames available on IDE harddrives
    16. Jul
    Shot boundary test collection DVDs shipped by NIST
    13. Aug
    Search topics available from TRECVID website.
    16. Aug
    Shot boundary detection submissions due at NIST for evaluation.
    23. Aug
    Feature extraction task submissions due at NIST for evaluation.
    Feature extraction donations due at NIST
    25. Aug
    Feature extraction donations available for active participants
      7. Sep
    Story segmentation submissions due at NIST for evaluation
    27 Aug
    Results of shot boundary evaluations returned to participants
    30. Aug - 15. Oct
    Search and feature assessment at NIST
    20. Sep
    Results of feature extraction evaluations returned to participants
    22. Sep
    Search task submissions due at NIST for evaluation
    23. Sep
    Results of story segmentation evaluations returned to participants
    17. Oct
    Information on processing complexity of shot boundary runs due at NIST
    18. Oct
    Results of search evaluations returned to participants
    24. Oct
    Speaker proposals due at NIST
    31. Oct
    Notebook papers due at NIST
      8. Nov
    Workshop registration closes
    10. Nov
    Copyright forms due back at NIST (see Notebook papers for instructions)
    15,16 Nov
    TRECVID Workshop at NIST in Gaithersburg, MD
    19. Nov
    Workshop papers publicly available (slides added as they arrive)
    Some feedback from the workshop discussions
      1. Mar 2005
    Final versions of TRECVID 2004 papers due at NIST

    7. Guideline issues and resolutions:

    8 Contacts:

    National Institute of
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