The Big Picture of Video: Opportunities and Challenges for Automatic Video Analysis at Scale


August 2, 2013


Raffay Hamid


eBay Research Labs


Over the years, digital video has emerged as our medium of choice to capture and share information with each other across multiple platforms. These include everything from user-generated online content, to egocentric visual data captured using wearable devices. Systems that can automatically analyze videos are therefore becoming increasingly important, and will play a vital role in accomplishing several key objectives, such as building smarter robots, monitoring people’s health as they age, and preventing crime through improved surveillance. In this talk, I will address some of the big challenges in building automatic video analysis systems, particularly focusing on the ones that analyze video data at scale.

Using sports visualization as a motivating application, I will begin by discussing the problem of tracking key-objects in an environment captured from multiple overlapping static cameras. I will present results of our framework tested on close to 300,000 frames of real soccer footage captured over a diverse set of playing conditions. Furthermore, I will present extensions of this problem for user-generated videos captured using hand-held mobile devices.

I will then focus on the problem of detecting important interactions among the key-objects in videos that constitute interesting events. Using large-scale summarization of user-generated videos as a motivating application, I will discuss how millions of online images can be efficiently used as a prior to constrain our search to find representative frames of user-generated videos.

Finally, I will talk about analyzing event sequences that constitute everyday human activities. I will particularly talk about sequence representations that attempt to learn the global structure of activities by using their local event-statistics. I will discuss how such a data-driven approach towards activity modeling can help discover and characterize human activities, and learn typical behaviors crucial for detecting anomalous activities in an environment.


Raffay Hamid

Raffay Hamid is currently a Staff Research Scientist at eBay Research Labs. where he explores problems at the intersection of Computer Vision and Machine Learning. Before joining eBay Research, Raffay was a Research Associate at Disney Research Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University. He completed his PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. During graduate school, Raffay has worked as a research intern at Intel Research, Mitsubishi Electronic Research Lab., and Microsoft Research.

Raffay has published over 20 research papers and filed more than 10 industrial patents. His works have been featured on CNN, TechCrunch, ESPN and E! news. Raffay was awarded the critical talent award from eBay in 2012, and the National Merit Scholarship from the Government of Pakistan from 1994 to 2001. He regularly serves on the reviewing committees of top international conferences (such as CVPR, ICCV, UbiComp, HRI, etc.). He enjoys mentoring students and has so far had the privilege of mentoring several PhD students from top US schools.