Gesture Retrieval and its Application to the Study of Multimodal Communication

Mahnaz Parian-Scherb, Peter Uhrig, Luca Rossetto, St├ęphane Dupont, Heiko Schuldt
Appears in
International Journal on Digital Libraries

Comprehending communication is dependent on analyzing the different modalities of conversation, including audio, visual, and others. This is a natural process for humans, but in digital libraries, where preservation and dissemination of digital information is crucial, it is a complex task. A rich conversational model, enompassing all modalities and their co-occurrences, is required to effectively analyze and interact with digital information. Currently, the analysis of co-speech gestures in videos is done through manual annotation by linguistic experts based on textual searches. However, this approach is limited and does not fully utilize the visual modality of gestures. This paper proposes a visual gesture retrieval method using a deep learning architecture to extend current research in this area. The method is based on body keypoints and uses an attention mechanism to focus on specific groups. Experiments were conducted on a subset of the NewsScape dataset, which presents challenges such as multiple people, camera perspective changes, and occlusions. A user study was conducted to assess the usability of the results, establishing a baseline for future gesture retrieval methods in real-world video collections. The results of the experiment demonstrate the high potential of the proposed method in multimodal communication research and highlight the significance of visual gesture retrieval in enhancing interaction with video content. The integration of visual similarity search for gestures in the open-source multimedia retrieval stack, vitrivr, can greatly contribute to the field of computational linguistics. This research advances the understanding of the role of the visual modality in co-speech gestures and highlights the need for further development in this area.