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AVATech – Advancing Video Audio Technology in Humanities Research

This joint effort of Fraunhofer and Max Planck Institutes was to  investigate and develop technology for semi-automatic annotation of audio and video recordings used in humanities research.

Recognizers that are the outcome of this project are available via interactive annotation tools and via batch processing execution environment. 

Project history:

  • Motivation and requirements

The motivation for this project has two major aspects:

  1. The amount of AV recordings in typical humanities research institutes that can be manually annotated and used for theory building does not scale up with the amount of recordings created, increasing amounts of data are not being used.
  2. The currently available AV recognition technologies cannot cope with the material that is typically created in real world observations as they are used for modern linguistic theory building.

Currently even the simplest annotations of for example recorded dialogs take too much time and effort. One conclusion from this problem is that new ways need to be explored to overcome the current barriers hampering progress. By making the annotation process more efficient by using automatic detectors, we expect that more data can be annotated more efficiently, allowing new possibilities for search and corpus analysis and better theory building.

  • Research and Implementation phase

Our research has focus on the creation of recognizers which, given media recordings, generate lists of segments and annotations. Such recognizers can be invoked from within annotation tools such as the widely used and proven ELAN software and from a batch processing framework, to process a number of recordings in one effort.

In this project two Max Planck Institutes cooperated with two Fraunhofer Institutes to investigate, develop and apply advanced technology for semi-automatic annotation of collected audio-visual material that is the basis for humanities research. The Max Planck Institutes act as experts for the research driven questions resulting from an analysis of the AV material and for user friendly interaction tools. The Fraunhofer Institutes act as experts for digital sound and video processing methods.