Patent application title: EFFICIENT VIDEO SKIMMER
Mehmet Reha Civanlar (Istanbul, TR)
Ofer Shapiro (Fair Lawn, NJ, US)
Tal Shalom (Fair Lawn, NJ, US)
Tal Shalom (Fair Lawn, NJ, US)
DELTA VIDYO, INC.
IPC8 Class: AH04N514FI
Class name: Bandwidth reduction or expansion television or motion video signal specific decompression process
Publication date: 2010-10-28
Patent application number: 20100272187
Disclosed are a system, method, apparatus, and computer readable media
containing instructions for displaying video files for rapid searching.
In two different types of exemplary embodiments, a standalone video
skimming system, and a video skimming system includes a server and a
client system are disclosed, where the video file may be locally or
remotely stored, or can be obtained from a live feed. The system displays
many small windows simultaneously, in which different parts of the video
chosen by the user are shown at the same time to shorten the skimming
time. The video file is encoded using layered encoding to display smaller
versions using lower layers, and without needing any processing to
generate smaller versions of the video from the original full screen
version. A video extractor is described for extracting the necessary
bitstreams from a local video database containing layered encoded video
files according to user specified window sizes, and distributing the
signals over the electronic communications network channel. The system
also includes a skimming control logic which can receive control commands
from clients and invoke the video extractor to extract appropriate
audio-visual signals there from for each command.
1. A system for simultaneous display of a plurality chapters of a full
length video file, wherein the full length video file comprises video in
a layered coding format.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises:a first layer representing a first spatial resolution; andat least one enhancement layer based on the first layer representing at least one second spatial resolution.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein the first layer comprises a base layer.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises:a first layer representing a first temporal resolution; andat least one enhancement layer based on the first layer representing at least one second temporal resolution.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the first layer comprises a base layer.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises one or more video files located in a local database.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a live feed.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a digital video storage interface.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a remote video database.
10. The system of claim 1, further comprising an input, coupled to the display system, adapted for permitting a user to control the simultaneous display of a plurality of chapters through at least one user preference.
11. The system of claim 10, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a number of windows.
12. The system of claim 10, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a duration for a video chapter.
13. The system of claim 10, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a start time for a video chapter.
14. The system of claim 10, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to assign at least one chapter to at least one window.
15. The system of claim 1, further comprising one or more skimming control logic modules configured to control at least one aspect of a display system.
16. The system of claim 10, further comprising one or more skimming control logic modules configured to control at least one aspect of a display system.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the skimming control logic further comprises logic adapted to translate one or more user preferences into video extraction commands.
18. A method of video skimming, comprising:a. extracting a plurality of chapters of a full length video file, wherein the chapters are coded in a layered bitstream format,b. decoding the plurality of chapters, andc. simultaneously displaying each of the decoded plurality of chapters.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein the layered bitstream format comprises a first layer representing a first spatial resolution and at least one enhancement layer based on the first layer representing at least one second spatial resolution, the decoding further comprises:a. decoding the first layer of the plurality of chapters; andb. decoding at least one of the enhancement layers of the plurality of chapters.
20. The method of claim 18, further comprising extracting the full length video file from a local database.
21. The method of claim 18, further comprising receiving a full length video file content from a live feed.
22. The method of claim 18, further comprising receiving the full length video file content from a digital video storage interface.
23. The method of claim 18, further comprising receiving the full-length video file from a remote video database.
24. The method of claim 18, wherein the method further comprises receiving a user input to control the simultaneous display of a plurality of chapters through at least one user preference.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a number of windows.
26. The method of claim 24, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a duration for a video chapter.
27. The method of claim 24, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a start time for a video chapter.
28. The method of claim 24, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to assign at least one chapter to at least one window.
29. The method of claim 24, further comprising translating the at least one user preference into at least one video extraction command.
30. A computer readable media having computer executable instructions included thereon for performing a method of video skimming, comprising:a. extracting a plurality of chapters of a full length video file, wherein the chapters are coded in a layered bitstream format, andb. decoding the plurality of chapters, andc. simultaneously displaying each of the decoded plurality of chapters.
31. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the layered bitstream format comprises a first layer representing a first spatial resolution and at least one enhancement layer based on the first layer representing at least one second spatial resolution, the decoding further comprises:a. decoding the first layer of the plurality of chapters; andb. decoding at least one of the enhancement layers of the plurality of chapters.
32. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the method further comprises extracting the full length video file from a local database.
33. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the method further comprises receiving a full length video file content from a live feed.
34. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the method further comprises receiving the full length video file content from a digital video storage interface.
35. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the method further comprises receiving the full-length video file from a remote video database.
36. The computer readable media of claim 30, wherein the method further comprises receiving a user input to control the simultaneous display of a plurality of chapters through at least one user preference.
37. The computer readable media of claim 36, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a number of windows.
38. The computer readable media of claim 36, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a duration for a video chapter.
39. The computer readable media of claim 36, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to specify a start time for a video chapter.
40. The computer readable media of claim 36, wherein the at least one user preference comprises a preference to assign at least one chapter to at least one window.
41. The computer readable media of claim 36, wherein the method further comprises translating the at least one user preference into at least one video extraction command.
42. A video skimming server for preparing and distributing a plurality of chapters of a full length video file, wherein the full length video file comprises video coded in a layered bitstream format, comprising:(a) a video extractor for extracting a plurality of encoded audio-visual signals from a full length video file;(b) a streaming server for distributing the extracted audio-visual signals; and(c) skimming control logic server, coupled to the video extractor, adapted for receiving at least one control message from a video skimmer client and instructing the video extractor to extract the audio-visual signals.
43. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the full length video file comprises one or more video files located in a local video database.
44. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a live feed.
45. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a digital storage interface.
46. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the full length video file comprises content received from a remote database.
47. The video skimming server of claim 46, further comprising a transcoder, coupled to the video extractor and to the remote database, for transcoding the content received from the remote database.
48. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the video extractor comprises at least a portion of a distributed server.
49. The video skimming server of claim 42, wherein the skimming control logic server comprises at least a portion of a distributed server.
50. A video skimmer client for preparing a customized display of a plurality of chapters of a full length video file, wherein the full length video file is coded in a layered bitstream format, comprising:(a) at least one streaming client module configured to receive a plurality of chapters, wherein the chapters are in a layered bitstream format;(b) one or more decoders configured to decode the chapters;(c) a graphical user interface for receiving user input, wherein the graphical user interface is accessed through a video display; and(d) a skimmer control logic client for sending at least one control message to a video skimmer server.
51. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said video display comprises a television.
52. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said video display comprises a computer monitor.
53. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said video skimmer client comprises at least a portion of a television.
54. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said receiver comprises at least a portion of a general purpose computer.
55. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said video skimmer client comprises at least a portion of a set-top box.
56. The video skimmer client of claim 50, wherein said video skimmer client comprises at least a portion of a gaming console.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61,172,355, filed Apr. 24, 2009, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
1. Technical Field
The disclosed invention relates to techniques for searching for content in a compressed digital video file accessed from local storage or over a network such as the Internet. In particular, it relates to the use of layered video coding technology in connection with content searching for retrieving and displaying selected video segments.
2. Background Art
Subject matter related to the present application can be found in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 12/015,956, filed Jan. 17, 2008 and entitled "System And Method For Scalable And Low-Delay Videoconferencing Using Scalable Video Coding," 11/608,776, filed Dec. 8, 2006 and entitled "Systems And Methods For Error Resilience And Random Access In Video Communication Systems," and 11/682,263, filed Mar. 5, 2007 and entitled "System And Method For Providing Error Resilience, Random Access And Rate Control In Scalable Video Communications," and U.S. Pat. No. 7,593,032, filed Jan. 17, 2008 and entitled "System And Method For A Conference Server Architecture For Low Delay And Distributed Conferencing Applications," each of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entireties.
With increasing computing power and electronic storage capacity, and ubiquity of network bandwidth, the number of large digital video libraries accessible through the Internet is growing rapidly. On the low end of the performance spectrum, databases of popular websites such as YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com) are becoming sources for millions of user videos. Currently, these videos are often of small size and low resolution. Considering the continuous increase in the resolutions of consumer video equipment, however, such databases are likely to contain higher resolution videos in the foreseeable future.
On the other end of the performance spectrum, high resolution video presentation technologies such as High-Definition TV (HDTV) are frequently used in entertainment and news video files. Even after applying digital video compression techniques, high resolution video results in large file sizes. Movies and broadcast TV content in standard TV (SDTV) resolution are still of considerable size. Two other important applications where higher resolution video may be used are surveillance video and video segments recorded for scientific experiments.
With the amount of digital video content growing, and that content being spread around the Internet, a technology is needed to search for content in these databases effectively and rapidly. Searching for content in video files has significant applications. Users of such video content searching technology can, for example, include: police officers looking for a specific scene in surveillance videos (content which can be distributed over many sites on the Internet, and can be many hours or days long); students and teachers looking for a specific presentation module; biologists looking for the instance when a particular biological event is triggered; or consumers of movies or news looking for a specific movie scene or news segment. Many users may be interested only in a small portion--perhaps only few seconds of content--of a full-length video. A noteworthy aspect of content searching in video files is that it normally requires a user's full attention and can't be performed as a background task while multi-tasking.
The following terms are used throughout the disclosure. A "full length video" can be any video footage that is meaningful as a unit, for example, a movie, a TV show, and similar video. A full length video may be divided into segments, which are called "video chapters", or in short, "chapters". Therefore, a full length video includes one or more concatenated chapters. Meta information related to a chapter is called "video index", and the process by which video indices are generated is called "video indexing". A video index may include information about the starting and ending times of the chapter, textual information about the chapter's content, and one or more images derived from the chapter that may represents its content. Video chapters may be indexed. One simple form of automatic indexing is to sub-divide a full length video into video chapters of a length that may be configured in the system or specified by the user.
A "raw video" represents uncompressed digitized video. After processing by a video encoder/compressor, raw video becomes "compressed video". The term "transcoding" refers to the process of converting a compressed video into a different type of compressed video. Transcoding can involve, for example, the transforming of compressed video into raw video, and compressing this raw video into a different type of compressed video.
"Skimming" video, alternatively known as browsing, has been a technical challenge for a long time. There are some techniques commonly used to make skimming a full length video a more efficient process:
a. Fast forwarding: fast forwarding (also known as increasing the video playback speed) shortens the video viewing time. However, speeding up the video rate distorts the video information and may cause elimination of short events. This method has been the most popular browsing technique so far. Fast forwarding is discussed in more detail below.
b. Text Based Queries: This refers to a querying of metadata associated with the full length video or video chapters for specific textual information. For example, a text based query may be in the form of "scene with George falling off the bridge". Text based queries today require the video to be annotated, mostly a manual process, before the video can be queried. Although text-based video query has been in existence for a long time, only few applications can afford the required intense human effort needed to intelligently categorize and annotate the videos. One example of video content that contains metadata which enables text based queries is medical records used in some systems.
c. Automatic Indexing: In the academic literature [for example, Cees G. M. Snoek and Marcel Worring, "Multimodal Video Indexing: A Review of the State-of-the-art," Multimedia Tools and Applications, Volume 25, Number 1/January, 2005, Springer], techniques have been proposed to automatically index video for browsing representations based on information within the video. These indexing systems can use, for example, any of the following information aspects to generate video chapters: Motion of the video; Scene changes; Image statistics--such as color and shape; Audio information; and/or Specific object types in the video.
The prior art, for example, Michael A. Smith, "Video Skimming and Characterization through the Combination of Image and Language Understanding Techniques," p.775, 1997 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR '97), 1997, discloses techniques based on one or more of the above aspects that generate a so-called "video skim", a short synopsis version (or a small understandable portion) of the original indexed video. By viewing the video skim, a user may obtain an overview of the content of the full length video in a comparatively short period of time. A crude form of a video skim can, for example, consist of images or short scenes representing video chapters of a fixed duration. More complex skims may be generated using previously available text based annotation or automatic indexing techniques as mentioned above.
If a user becomes interested in one part of the skim, he/she can opt to view the associated video chapter in its relevant parts or in its entirety, and possibly at normal playback speed, without having to view the rest of the full length video. The critical aspect of creating a good video skim is context understanding, which is the key to choosing the significant images and words that should be included in the video skim. Today, when using any form of automated video skim generation, it is unfortunately quite frequent that a certain scene, in which a user may be interested, stays unidentified by the skimming process. Nevertheless, with advances in automated indexing techniques, video skims are becoming a useful reality today, and will likely be of even higher interest in the foreseeable future.
In summary, the automated context-sensitive generation of video skims, despite the significant research conducted over the past decade, has remained a task that is difficult, requiring high computational complexity and involving human interaction such as filtering and processing.
Once a video skim is generated, it often needs to be presented to the user.
In its crudest form, video skim generation and presentation can be performed simultaneously based on a full length video file that is available on the user premises. A software application running on the user's computer (or special purpose workstation), or dedicated hardware-based processing, can use any of the techniques mentioned below.
A) Video Skimming Using Raw Video: If the full length video on the local storage is in a raw format, then the skimming can be performed without the dedicated creation of a video skim, by simply "fast forwarding" until the desired segment is found. The fast forwarding process can be defined as "temporal sub-sampling", or time domain sub-sampling of the frames of the video (e.g., skip every other frame for a playback speed-up of two (i.e., a 50% reduction in playback time), or show every fifth frame for a speed-up of five (i.e., a roughly 76% reduction in playback time), etc.). For example, referring to FIG. 1, a full-length video (101) contains even numbered (102, 104) and odd numbered (103, 105) frames. Using temporal sub-sampling a temporal sub-sampled sequence (106) is created, in which only the even-numbered frames of the full length video sequence are present (107, 108). This temporal sub-sampling results in a 50% reduction in the playback time. The speed-up can be varied by other sub-sampling intervals. When sub-sampling every fifth frame (110, 111) of the original full length video sequence is used in the temporal sub-sampled sequence (109), the reduction in playback time is rough 76%.
Other linear or non-linear sub-sampling factors can also be used.
There are at least three disadvantages of fast forwarding are as follows:
(1) The search may still take a long time depending on where the specific video segment of interest is located within the full length video sequence (particularly if it is located towards the end).
(2) The video segment of interest may be made unnoticeable or totally lost during sub-sampling as it may fall on the deleted frames (especially when large sub-sampling intervals are in use).
(3) The associated audio information, if any, often cannot be meaningfully presented.
Another method for skimming raw video is to subdivide the full length raw video into video chapters (which may be of preconfigured lengths or configured in real-time by the user), and allow the user to view more than one video chapter in parallel using separate small windows for each chapter. This process may require "spatial sub-sampling" to reduce the resolution of the original video to fit into smaller windows, because of display size limitations as illustrated in FIG. 2. The full length video (201) may include pictures of a certain spatial resolution, illustrated here by the spatial size of one of the pictures in this sequence (202). In one very simple form, spatial sub-sampling may be, for example, averaging the brightness and/or color component values of four spatially adjacent pixels (203) so as to create a single sub-sampled pixel (204). Doing so for all pixels of all pictures of the full-length video (201) yields a series of sub-sampled pictures (205) at the same frame rate as the full-length video, but at half of the spatial resolution in each dimension.
There are at least two specific disadvantages of this approach are as follows:
(1) Performing spatial sub-sampling in real-time to generate smaller versions of the full-length video is computationally intensive and time consuming. Depending on how many windows are generated and the size of each window, the sub-sampling may require significant computing resources.
(2) The information may be lost during sub-sampling due to side effects of spatial sub-sampling such as filtering or aliasing.
B) Video Skimming Using Compressed Video: If the full length video is in a compressed format (for example, the full length video is compliant with video compressions standards such as ITU-T Rec. H.264 or other video compression standards), then additional factors come into play. Using a compressed format eliminates the need for the very large uncompressed video files and is, therefore, in most cases, advantageous. However, the compressed video file can't be temporally sub-sampled randomly as the sequence of compressed frames may depend on other frames due to inter-picture prediction. Unless the entire video is decoded, only independently decodable reference (IDR) frames can be used in fast forwarding. If there are no IDR frames or if their frequency is low, then fast forwarding will not be feasible without decoding a large percentage of the coded pictures of the full length video sequence. One way of remedying this may be to transcode the compressed video with more frequent IDR frames. The disadvantages of this approach are as follows:
(1) It may be time consuming and/or computationally expensive.
(2) With an increase of the number of IDR frames, the compression ratio decreases. The transcoded full length sequence with a higher number of IDR frames may be significantly larger than the original compressed full length sequence.
(3) The disadvantages of fast forwarding with raw files still remain.
Another method for skimming compressed video is to subdivide the compressed video into video chapters and view each segment in parallel in separate small windows (as described for skimming raw video). The process of sub-dividing a compressed file suffers from similar disadvantages as temporal sub-sampling. Further using traditional video compression technologies, spatial sub-sampling is not possible in the compressed domain. In order to generate the required spatially smaller video sequences, a transcoding step may be necessary, with the spatial sub-sampling being performed after the decompression of the original video data and before the compression. Moreover, although use of compressed video file eliminates the disadvantage of storing a large file, the need to decode the file several times in real-time introduces significant additional cost and processing complexity to spatial re-sampling.
If the full length video file, be it in raw or compressed format, is not available locally, the problem of video skimming according to the described techniques is further exacerbated by the need to retrieve it in real-time to a local computer over a network like the public Internet. Particularly, if the file is in raw format, then the bandwidth requirements are impractically large (i.e., 45 Mbps for a reasonable speed download of an SDTV resolution sequence). Accordingly, given the issues of using raw and compressed video, and using temporal and spatial sub-sampling, there has not been an acceptable implementation of a practical real-time video skimmer in the market place.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates temporal sub-sampling existing in the prior art.
FIG. 2 illustrates spatial sub-sampling existing in prior art.
FIG. 3 is an exemplary video display screen of the video skimmer in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary, system of a standalone video skimmer in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system with a client-server video skimmer server architecture in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary standalone video skimmer in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary client-server video skimmer in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 8 is an exemplary method flow for controlling MBW configurations in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 9 is an exemplary method flow chart for messaging between skimming control logic client and server in accordance with the present invention.
Throughout the drawings, the same reference numerals and characters, unless otherwise stated, are used to denote like features, elements, components or portions of the illustrated embodiments. Moreover, while the disclosed invention will now be described in detail with reference to the figures, it is done so in connection with the illustrative embodiments.
A video skimmer, according to the present invention, is a system which implements an approach of displaying multiple chapters of the full length video file, that may appear to the user as if it were spatially and/or temporally sub-sampled, simultaneously, by using a video file that has been compressed using a layered (also known as scalable) encoder. The video file may be indexed or un-indexed. According to the invention, no transcoding, or sub-sampling in either temporal or spatial dimension may be required in order to enable the skimming process. The system works efficiently when the full length video file is available locally, or remotely and accessible only over a network, for example the Internet.
According to the invention, the video may be compressed using a layered codec, such as the one disclosed in ITU-T Recommendation H.264 Annex G (also known as SVC). In order to take full advantage of the invention, the scalable video bitstream that is stored, among other things, in the full length video file, should contain at least one low resolution version of the video content, advantageously as a base layer. The low resolution can be stored in the form of a base layer and one or more enhancement layers; however, the mentioned combination of base and/or enhancement layers, after decoding, still results in the low resolution. The resolution can be chosen such that it is suitable, after decoding, for displaying in a mini browsing window (MBW) of the video skimmer display. An MBW can be smaller in spatial size than a full window, which can be optimized to view the full resolution video. Full resolution video may be obtained by decoding a base layer and at least one enhancement layer more than required for the lower resolution. The sizes of the full window and any MBWs can be chosen by the user according to his/her user preferences. The system can include a user interface that can display many MBWs, and each MBW can display a specific video chapter of the full length video. The user interface can also allow the user to set his/her user preferences, for example, number of MBWs, size of each MBW, start time or duration of each video chapter, assignment of chapters to MBWs, and so forth.
The term "codec" is equally used herein to describe techniques for encoding and decoding, and for implementations of these techniques. An encoder converts input media data into a bitstream or a packet stream, and a decoder converts an input bitstream or packet stream into a media representation suitable for presentation to a user, for example digital or analog video ready for presentation through a monitor, or digital or analog audio ready for presentation through loudspeakers. A transcoder converts an input bitstream or packet stream compressed using a compression technique into its original media representation suitable for presentation to a user and then re-converts into an input bitstream or packet stream using another type of compression technique. Encoders and decoders can be dedicated hardware devices or building blocks of a software-based implementation running on a general purpose CPU.
Set-top-boxes and personal computers (PCs) can be built such that many encoders or decoders may run in parallel or quasi-parallel. For hardware encoders or decoders, one way to support multiple encoders/decoders is to integrate multiple of their instances in the set-top-box or PC. For software implementations, similar mechanisms can be employed.
Traditional video codecs used in video distribution systems provide only a single bit stream at a given bitrate, and no layers. As explained above, when a lower temporal or spatial resolution is required from a full length video file (such as for fast forwarding or for display at a smaller spatial size in a MBW), first, the full resolution file must be decoded to regenerate the raw (uncompressed) video, which then needs to be sub-sampled in temporal and/or spatial dimension, as the case may be, to produce a lower spatio-temporal resolution appropriate for the MBW. This process wastes significant bandwidth (if the full length video file is in a remote location and needs to be transported over a network), time, and computational resources. However, support for lower resolutions is beneficial in the video skimmer to enable display of many video chapters simultaneously, and without consuming processing time and power to generate them. The network bandwidth required to transport video for many MBWs may also be advantageously minimized.
In one embodiment, a skimmer may support "spatial skimming". A full length video file available in a layered encoded format may readily carry a low resolution version of the actual video content, which may fit into MBWs of the video skimmer system without further spatial sub-sampling after decoding. The skimmer may simultaneously display more than one MBW showing more than one chapter. The user may enlarge the video of a chapter by clicking on the MBW once he/she identifies the scene of interest in an MBW. As a result, the skimmer can request and receive information that enables the skimmer to present to the user a high resolution version of the video content, as disclosed in the co-pending U.S. patent application entitled "Systems, Methods and Computer Readable Media for Instant Multi-Channel Video Content Browsing in digital Video Distribution Systems", concurrently filed herewith.
In the same or another embodiment, a video skimmer can support temporal skimming. A full length video file available in a layered encoded format may readily carry a temporally sub-sampled lower layer. The skimmer may disregard the timing information in the lower layer and present the video as fast forward video. For example, if the full length video were originally available at 30 fps, and the temporally sub-sampled lower layer is available at 10 fps, the skimmer may display the 10 fps lower layer at 30 fps, thereby speeding up playback at a factor of 3. Once the user clicks on the MBW presenting the fast forward video, the skimmer may display the MBW's content in original speed (in the example, by slowing down playback speed to 10 fps). It may further request and receive temporal scalable enhancement layers that enable full temporal resolution of the MBW's content.
The video skimming advantageously uses a lower resolution (spatial and/or temporal) version of the video content from several video chapters to fit into more than one MBW. The user may view several MBWs simultaneously, and may assign specific video chapters to these MBWs. The video chapters may be generated by any of the options discussed before.
In the same or another embodiment, video chapters may be the result of subdividing the full length video into video chapters of a given length. For example, video chapters may be assigned 10 minutes intervals of the first 40 minutes of the full length video sequentially, and those video chapters may be displayed in 4 MBWs.
In the same or another embodiment, the user may decide to switch the assignment of video chapter to MBWs during the skimming process (e.g., switch to assign every 10 minutes of the next 40 minutes of the video sequentially to 4 MBWs). An exemplary user interface with 4 MBWs skimming a 40 minutes full-length video in only 10 minutes is shown in FIG. 3. The first MBW (301) on the screen (305) displays the first 10 minutes of the full length video. The second and third MBWs (302) (303) on the left side of the screen display minutes 10-20 and 20-30 of the full length video, respectively. As disclosed in the co-pending U.S. patent application, entitled "Systems, Methods and Computer Readable Media for Instant Multi-Channel Video Content Browsing in digital Video Distribution Systems", concurrently filed herewith, MBWs can be of different shapes and sizes. Accordingly, the right MBW, which displays minutes 30-40 of the full length video, is twice the size of the other three MBWs. A person skilled in the art can easily construct other screen layouts with more or less MBWs in different sizes, covering different parts of the full length video.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 4 shows a standalone video skimmer (401) with an attached display (402). The video skimmer can receive video content from a variety of sources: live feed video content, for example from a camera (403) connected to the video skimmer through interface (404); video content from a DVD (405) attached to the video skimmer through interface (406); or even in the form of a full length video file from an external and/or remote video database (407). The external remote video database can be located on the Internet (409) or other suitable networks, using network interfaces (410, 411). The MBWs are presented on display 402 (as depicted in FIG. 3). The video skimmer logic is part of the video skimmer (401). The video skimmer can be implemented based on a general purpose computer, e.g., a PC, a standalone computer or some other type of hardware, such as a set-top box in IPTV environment where the set-top box may be attached to a suitable network (409) such as the Internet.
In case a video file is retrieved from a remote database, one of the well known file transfer protocols such as FTP (RFC959 available at http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc959.html) may be used to transmit video over the Internet (409) (or any other suitable network) over links (410, 411).
A set-top box can be hardware for the video skimmer (401). A TV connected to the set-top-box can be used as the display (402). The set-top-box translates the data received from the network (409) into a signal format the TV understands; traditionally, a combination of analog audio and video signals are used, but recently also all digital interfaces (such as HDMI) have become common. The set-top-box (on the TV side), therefore typically includes analog or digital audio/video outputs and interfaces.
Internally, a set-top-boxes can have a hardware architecture similar to a general purpose computer: a central processing unit (CPU) executes instructions stored in Random Access Memory (RAM) or read-only-memory (ROM), and utilizes interface hardware to connect to the network interface and to the audio/video output interface, as well as an interface to a form of user control (often in the form of a TV remote control, computer mouse, keyboard, or other input device), all under the control of the CPU. A set-top-box may also include one or more accelerator units (for example dedicated Digital Signal Processors, DSP) that may help the CPU with computationally complex tasks of video decoding and video processing, among others. Those units are typically present for reasons of cost efficiency, rather than for technical necessity.
General purpose computers can often be configured to act like a set-top-box. In some cases, additional hardware needs to be added to the general purpose computer to provide the interfaces a typical set-top-box contains, and/or additional accelerator hardware to augment the CPU for video decoding and processing.
The programmable parts of set-top-boxes, PCs, and other devices suitable as the basis of a video skimmer may require instructions, which may be supplied by a computer readable media (408).
The set-top-box or general purpose computer may run under an operating system such as Windows. The video skimmer is advantageously using an operating system that allows the simultaneous display of more than one motion video in on-screen windows.
Referring to FIG. 5, the internal architecture of a standalone video skimmer is now described. There are several options for video inputs to the video skimmer, as follows.
(a) Live video content may be fed from the camera (501), which attaches to a live video interface (502) through connection (503). The video interface may connect to frame capture (504). The frame capture may generate video frames that may feed into a layered encoder (505).
(b) Alternatively, the video may be obtained as a file download from a remote video database (506) attached to a network, such as the Internet (507), in which case the file download may be received through network connection and a file download interface (508). If the video database (506) delivers the video in an appropriate layered format then it can be processed directly (509). Otherwise the video may be transcoded into a layered encoded format by a transcoder (510).
(c) In the same or another embodiment, video content (in uncompressed format, or in a compressed format that may not be a layered format) may be received from a DVD or a similar storage medium such as a memory stick (511), in which case it is received on a digital video storage interface (512). If the received video is not in layered encoded format, then they may first be transcoded in transcoder (513) into layered encoded format; otherwise, it may be processed directly (514).
Regardless of the input mechanism as described above, the video may be sent as a full length video file in a layered encoding format in the local video database (515).
A video extractor (516) may be responsible to retrieve a video bit stream from video database (515) according to control commands it may receive from a skimming controller (517). The skimming control logic (517) may, for example, indicate the MBW size and the beginning and ending time markers of the video for that MBW to video extractor, which, in response to the indication, may find the corresponding layered encoded bitstream in the database.
The extracted video may be displayed in the MBW on display (519) after decoding by a layered decoder (518). A user interface (520) may send appropriate display commands to properly display the video. The user input commands may be received through a user interface device (521) (e.g., a keyboard, mouse or remote control device), which may be translated into proper display commands through user interface (520) and may be displayed on the display (519). The commands may be sent by the user interface (520) to the skimming control logic (517) for further processing. Such user commands can, for example, include: (a) selection of size and display location of a MBW, (b) a click or double click on a MBW that may result in a request to receive corresponding audio or full resolution video, (c) entering user desired skimming parameters such as index markers for video chapter, etc.
The skimmer control logic (517) may receive user commands and may translate them into appropriate actions for the video extractor (516), thereby enabling the video extractor (516) to extract only those video bits required for proper display.
An alternative implementation of a video skimmer may follow a client-server architecture as illustrated in FIG. 6. The video skimmer may be divided into two components: the video skimmer client (601) and the video skimming server (602). The video skimmer client (601) and display (603) are located at the user's premises. The video skimmer client (601) may be connected to the video skimming server (602) over a suitable network, such as the Internet (604). The video skimming server (602) may reside at any suitable location in the network and not necessarily in the user's premises. A local video database (605) may be advantageously placed co-located with the video skimming server (602).
The video skimming server may also serve non-co-located, but network attached databases, such as a remote video database (606), via a suitable network such as the Internet (604). However, if the video file is located in a remote video database, that video file may advantageously be downloaded to local video database (605) in its entirety before starting the skimming process, because the video extraction logic for skimming resides within the video skimming server (602).
A single video skimming server may serve many remote video databases and many video skimmer clients simultaneously. With the separation of the client and server, the video skimming service (server) may become a business for a service provider which can offer it to many subscribers, each subscriber deploying the client component for skimming.
Although, for simplicity, only a single client and a single server are shown in FIG. 6, the present invention also envisions distributed architectures of the skimming server. Similarly, one or more video skimming clients can run simultaneously on a single client computer.
The video skimmer server may be responsible for extracting the user-requested video file from a local video database, and may send layered encoded video chapters according to a user's requests across the Internet to the client. Note that the video chapters displayed in the MBWs may be sent using only those layers required for proper decoding and display in a MBW without spatial or temporal sub sampling, thereby significantly reducing the network bandwidth, compared to the transmission of all layers beneficial for decoding and display of the video in a main window (at full resolution).
In FIG. 7, the detailed architecture of the video skimming server (701) is shown. The video skimming server (701) can include, for example, a skimming control logic server (SCLS) (702) which can communicate with the corresponding skimming control logic client (SCLC) (704) in the video skimming client (703). The SCLC can, for example, specify the MBW layout (e.g., each MBW location and size, or number of MBWs) at the user's endpoint, and video chapter definitions when the video chapters are not indexed (e.g., video skimming start time, and/or video chapter lengths, or any other information that allows for suitable indexing). If the full length video is already indexed, then the server can have the capability to send indexed video chapters, and can also send the metadata associated with each indexed video chapter. If a skimmed version of the full length video is available at the server, then the server can have the capability to send the skims and the meta data associated with each skim.
The SCLS (702) can serve, and can be controlled by, many SCLCs (704) simultaneously.
One purpose of the SCLC (704) is to translate user input into a protocol format that the SCLS (702) understands. For example, when the user clicks on an MBW to view the content to a high-resolution video display in the main window, the SCLC (704) can send a request to the SCLS (702) to start sending all enhancement layers for decoding and display in the main window in high resolution, in addition to the layers for decoding and display in MBWs (MBW layers), for the video chapter associated with the MBW user clicks. Meanwhile, the server can continue to send the MBW layers of the video chapters being decoded and displayed in the other MBWs.
The skimming video may advantageously reside in a local video database (705). If the video file is in a remote database (706), then the file can be retrieved and placed in the local video database (705). The file in the remote database (706) can either be in suitable layered encoded format, in which case it can be placed directly deposited to the local video database (705). If the video file is encoded using another type of compression technology (including, for example, possibly loss-less compression or an uncompressed format), it can first be transcoded in transcoder (707), and then it can be deposited to the local video database (705).
The video skimmer server may reside in one or more computers. The video skimming client may reside in a PC, a standalone general purpose computer, or it may be an IPTV set-top box.
If the user endpoint is a set-top-box, it can use, for example, a TV as the display (708) to display the MBWs.
User commands for video skimming may be received through a user input device (709) (e.g., mouse, keyboard or remote control), which can be translated into information displayed on display (708) after the user interface (710). When a user selects a video file for skimming and the skimming configuration (e.g., number of MBWs, assignment of video chapters to MBWs), user interface (710) can send these requests to SCLC (704) which, in turn, may send appropriate skimming messages to the SCLS (702). The SCLS (702) can instruct video extractor (711) to extract appropriate layers of the encoded video that can be stored in the local video database (705). The video extractor (711) can extract the bitstreams and send them to the streaming server (712). The streaming server can send streamed bitstreams using protocols such as RTP (RFC 3550, available from http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc3550.html). On the client side, a streaming client (713) can receive the RTP packets, extract the bitstreams, and send the bitstreams to layered decoder (714) which can decode the bitstreams into raw format ready for display. User Interface (710) can collaborate with the SCLC (704) to assign received bitstreams from the layered decoder (714) to appropriate MBW on the user's display (708).
The SCLC (704) can communicate with its server component SCLS (702) to specify:
a. set or change MBW configuration (e.g., number or alignment of MBWs, size of MBWs, location of MBW windows on the display)
b. select video chapters (e.g., un-indexed, indexed, or skimmed)
c. configure video chapters (e.g., video chapter start times, lengths, chapter location in video file, mapping to MBWs, etc.)
d. MBW video controls (e.g., dump content to main window in higher resolution; receive audio, pause/restart/stop video).
In summary, the video skimming client (703) can include, for example, the following functionalities, although others could be added:
a. Receive and process streamed media;
b. Decode streams of video chapters for display;
c. Display video chapters in MBWs;
d. Control skimming logic (e.g., user selection of MBWs, video chapters, start-stop type video controls, and other controls); and/or
e. Receive user commands from user interface devices.
In summary, video skimmer server (701) can include, for example, the following functionalities, although others could be added:
a. Encode and Transcode remote video for storage in local video database;
b. Extract appropriate bitstreams from the video database for display in an MBW
c. Receive, process and react to commands from skimming control logic client
d. Stream and send video towards client applications.
As shown in FIG. 8, in the same or another embodiment, certain user activities, recognized by the user interface, can lead to certain actions of the skimming control logic--either the local SCLC or the logic that is distributed between SCLS and SCLC. The user activities can be listed in the form of a menu structure. The top level menu can be invoked by pressing (821) a "Menu" button or by a similar user input activity.
On its top level menu, the user interface can offer different pull-down menus to input various user preferences, for example, to: save user settings (801), restore user settings (802), select all MBWs (803), select one MBW (804), select skimming mode (805), and/or cancel (806). By selecting to cancel (806), the user closes the top level menu and all sub-menus that may be open without further interference in the state of the system. If the user selects any of the other selections, he/she is presented with a sub-menu as follows:
If the user selects to save user default settings (801), he/she is presented with certain related sub-menu choices, for example, to: save MBW configuration (808), save default skimming configuration (807), and/or cancel (809). Electing to cancel (809) closes the sub-menu without any change in state, and returns to the main menu. Selecting to save default skimming configuration (807) saves, possibly after a confirmation, the current skimming configuration as a default. The skimming configuration can include aspects such as the length of each chapter (e.g., select a uniformly assigned length such as 10 minutes, select a length that is determined by hints or context--e.g., based on metadata that may be included in the full length video indicating different scenes, or any other suitable length determination method). Selecting to save default MBW configuration (808) saves the current MBW configuration as a default. The MBW configuration is being determined through the two main menu items discussed next.
When the user selects the main menu item to restore user settings (802), once selected, restores the previously saved user settings, as stored using the menu item for saving user settings (801).
If the user chooses to select all MBWs (803), he/she can set properties related to all MBWs currently being displayed. Sub-menu items can include, for example, to: close all MBWs (810), arrange all MBWs on screen (811) (which distributes the MBWs evenly over the available screen area), to resize all MBWs (812) (which allows the user to set the size of all MBWs), and to cancel (813).
If the user chooses to select one MBW (804), he/she first selects the MBW to which the subsequent changes apply. Alternatively, or in addition, this menu item can also advantageously be implemented as a context sensitive menu. For example, right-clicking on an MBW triggers this submenu without requiring the user to go through the main menu. The sub-menus can offer different related actions, for example, to:
Map content to the main screen (814) (which closes the skimming user interface and shows the chapter assigned to the MBW in full screen resolution),
Change MBW size (815) (which allows to set the size of the MBW without changing the size of other MBWs),
Assign chapter (816) (which allows the user to assign a chapter of the full length video to the selected MBW),
Move MBW (817) (which allows the user to select the MB W's spatial position on the screen without affecting the positions of other MBWs,
Close MBW (818), to pause/start/stop video in MBW (819), and/or
The main menu item to select skimming mode (805) provides the following related options for skimming mode selection, which may include, for example, fixed interval (822), scene detection (823), hint track (824), and/or Cancel (825).
If the user selects the fixed interval sub-menu option (822), the user can select the length of the chapters by providing either an interval (in, for example, seconds, minutes, and/or hours), or by selecting the number of equally long chapters the full length video shall be divided into by the video skimmer.
If the user selects the scene detection sub-menu option (823) the video skimmer is instructed to assign each scene, as determined by a scene detection algorithm, to an MBW, up to a user-selectable maximum number of MBWs.
The hint track sub-menu option (824) determines the association of chapters to MBWs using a hint track that may be present in the full-length video; if the hint track is not present, this option may be grayed out.
The cancel sub-menu option (825) leaves the sub-menu without a state change.
FIG. 9 shows an exemplary message flow between the skimming control logic client (SCLC) (901) and the skimming control logic server (SCLS) (902), using a protocol such as HTTP, or employing other standard-based or proprietary protocol. The SCLC can request a specific video chapter mapping to an MBW for an already selected MBW configuration through a video chapter assignment request message (903). This message can contain information about the user (e.g., Client ID), the video file (e.g., File ID or file title), the MBW (e.g., dimensions), and/or the begin and end time markers of the requested video chapter.
If the request is valid (904), then the SCLS (902) can return a video chapter assignment response message (905) to the SCLC (901) indicating that the action is accepted, in which case the SCLS instructs (906) the video extractor to fetch defined bitstream for local database. If the request can't be implemented, then the SCLS returns a video chapter assignment response message (907) indicating that the action is not valid.
Patent applications by Mehmet Reha Civanlar, Istanbul TR
Patent applications by Ofer Shapiro, Fair Lawn, NJ US
Patent applications by Tal Shalom, Fair Lawn, NJ US
Patent applications by DELTA VIDYO, INC.
Patent applications in class Specific decompression process
Patent applications in all subclasses Specific decompression process