In Defense of Image Pre-training for Spatiotemporal Recognition

Xianhang Li, Huiyu Wang, Chen Wei, Jieru Mei, Alan Yuille, Yuyin Zhou, Cihang Xie ;


"Image pre-training, the current de-facto paradigm for a wide range of visual tasks, is generally less favored in the field of video recognition. By contrast, a common strategy is to directly train with spatiotemporal convolutional neural networks (CNNs) from scratch. Nonetheless, interestingly, by taking a closer look at these from-scratch learned CNNs, we note there exist certain 3D kernels that exhibit much stronger appearance modeling ability than others, arguably suggesting appearance information is already well disentangled in learning. Inspired by this observation, we hypothesize that the key to effectively leveraging image pre-training lies in the decomposition of learning spatial and temporal features, and revisiting image pre-training as the appearance prior to initializing 3D kernels. In addition, we propose Spatial-Temporal Separable (STS) convolution, which explicitly splits the feature channels into spatial and temporal groups, to further enable a more thorough decomposition of spatiotemporal features for fine-tuning 3D CNNs. Our experiments show that simply replacing 3D convolution with STS notably improves a wide range of 3D CNNs without increasing parameters and computation on both Kinetics-400 and Something-Something V2. Moreover, this new training pipeline consistently achieves better results on video recognition with significant speedup. For instance, we achieve +0.6% top-1 of Slowfast on Kinetics-400 over the strong 256-epoch 128-GPU baseline while fine-tuning for only 50 epochs with 4 GPUs. The code and models are available at"

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