Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 195–213 | Cite as

A Probabilistic Framework for Extracting Narrative Act Boundaries and Semantics in Motion Pictures

  • Brett AdamsEmail author
  • Svetha Venketesh
  • Hung H. Bui
  • Chitra Dorai


This work constitutes the first attempt to extract the important narrative structure, the 3-Act storytelling paradigm in film. Widely prevalent in the domain of film, it forms the foundation and framework in which a film can be made to function as an effective tool for story telling, and its extraction is a vital step in automatic content management for film data. The identification of act boundaries allows for structuralizing film at a level far higher than existing segmentation frameworks, which include shot detection and scene identification, and provides a basis for inferences about the semantic content of dramatic events in film. A novel act boundary likelihood function for Act 1 and 2 is derived using a Bayesian formulation under guidance from film grammar, tested under many configurations and the results are reported for experiments involving 25 full-length movies. The result proves to be a useful tool in both the automatic and semi-interactive setting for semantic analysis of film, with potential application to analogues occuring in many other domains, including news, training video, sitcoms.


narrative structure semantics multimedia content management film 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brett Adams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Svetha Venketesh
    • 1
  • Hung H. Bui
    • 2
  • Chitra Dorai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceCurtin University of TechnologyPerthW. Australia
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceCurtin UniversityCurtin
  3. 3.IBM T. J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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