Reconstruct and Represent Video Contents for Captioning via Reinforcement Learning

Wei Zhang, Bairui Wang, Lin Ma, Wei Liu

In this paper, the problem of describing visual contents of a video sequence with natural language is addressed. Unlike previous video captioning work mainly exploiting the cues of video contents to make a language description, we propose a reconstruction network (RecNet) in a novel encoder-decoder-reconstructor architecture, which leverages both forward (video to sentence) and backward (sentence to video) flows for video captioning. Specifically, the encoder-decoder component makes use of the forward flow to produce a sentence description based on the encoded video semantic features. Two types of reconstructors are subsequently proposed to employ the backward flow and reproduce the video features from local and global perspectives, respectively, capitalizing on the hidden state sequence generated by the decoder. Moreover, in order to make a comprehensive reconstruction of the video features, we propose to fuse the two types of reconstructors together. The generation loss yielded by the encoder-decoder component and the reconstruction loss introduced by the reconstructor are jointly cast into training the proposed RecNet in an end-to-end fashion. Furthermore, the RecNet is fine-tuned by CIDEr optimization via reinforcement learning, which significantly boosts the captioning performance. Experimental results on benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed reconstructor can boost the performance of video captioning consistently.

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