Video genetics: A case study from YouTube

John R. Kender, Matthew L. Hill, Apostol Natsev, John R. Smith, Lexing Xie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We explore in a single but large case study how videos within YouTube, competing for view counts, are like organisms within an ecology, competing for survival. We develop this analogy, whose core idea shows that short video clips, best detected across videos as near-duplicate keyframes, behave similarly to genes. We report work in progress, on a dataset of 5.4K videos with 210K keyframes on a single topic, which traces sequences, not bags, of "near-dups" over time, both within videos and across them. We demonstrate their utility to: cleanse responses to queries contaminated by over-eager YouTube query expansion; separate videos temporally according to their responses to external events; track the evolution and lifespan of continuing video "stories"; automatically locate video summaries already present within a video ecology; quickly verify video copying via a direct application of the Smith-Waterman algorithm used in genetics - which also provides useful feedback for tuning the near-dup detection and clustering process; and quickly classify videos via a kind of Lempel-Ziv encoding into the categories of news, monologue, dialogue, and slideshow. We demonstrate a number of novel visualizations of this large dataset, including a direct use of the Matlab black-body "hot" false-color map, together with the GraphViz package, to display the gene-like inheritance of viral properties of keyframes. We further speculate that, as with genes, there are "functional roles" for semantic categories of clips, and, as with species, there are differing rates of "genetic drift" for each video genre.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMM'10 - Proceedings of the ACM Multimedia 2010 International Conference
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event18th ACM International Conference on Multimedia ACM Multimedia 2010, MM'10 - Firenze, Italy
Duration: 25 Oct 201029 Oct 2010

Publication series

NameMM'10 - Proceedings of the ACM Multimedia 2010 International Conference


Conference18th ACM International Conference on Multimedia ACM Multimedia 2010, MM'10


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