How Do You Do It? Fine-Grained Action Understanding with Pseudo-Adverbs


We aim to understand how actions are performed and identify subtle differences, such as ‘fold firmly’ vs. ‘fold gently’. To this end, we propose a method which recognizes adverbs across different actions. However, such fine-grained annotations are difficult to obtain and their long-tailed nature makes it challenging to recognize adverbs in rare action-adverb compositions. Our approach therefore uses semi-supervised learning with multiple adverb pseudo-labels to leverage videos with only action labels. Combined with adaptive thresholding of these pseudo-adverbs we are able to make efficient use of the available data while tackling the long-tailed distribution. Additionally, we gather adverb annotations for three existing video retrieval datasets, which allows us to introduce the new tasks of recognizing adverbs in unseen action-adverb compositions and unseen domains. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our method, which outperforms prior work in recognizing adverbs and semi-supervised works adapted for adverb recognition. We also show how adverbs can relate fine-grained actions.

CVPR 2022