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Dataset Preparation with MediaSequence

Table of contents
  1. Overview
  2. Preparing an example data set
  3. Preparing a practical data set
  4. Preparing your own data set


MediaPipe is a useful and general framework for media processing that can assist with research, development, and deployment of ML models. This example focuses on development by demonstrating how to prepare video data for training a TensorFlow model.

The MediaSequence library provides an extensive set of tools for storing data in TensorFlow.SequenceExamples. SequenceExamples provide matched semantics to most video tasks and are efficient to use with TensorFlow. The sequence semantics allow for a variable number of annotations per frame, which is necessary for tasks like video object detection, but very difficult to encode in TensorFlow.Examples. The goal of MediaSequence is to simplify working with SequenceExamples and to automate common preparation tasks. Much more information is available about the MediaSequence pipeline, including how to use it to process new data sets, in the documentation of MediaSequence.

Preparing an example data set

  1. Checkout the mediapipe repository

    git clone
    cd mediapipe
  2. Compile the MediaSequence demo C++ binary

    bazel build -c opt mediapipe/examples/desktop/media_sequence:media_sequence_demo --define MEDIAPIPE_DISABLE_GPU=1

    MediaSequence uses C++ binaries to improve multimedia processing speed and encourage a strong separation between annotations and the image data or other features. The binary code is very general in that it reads from files into input side packets and writes output side packets to files when completed, but it also links in all of the calculators for necessary for the MediaPipe graphs preparing the Charades data set.

  3. Download and prepare the data set through Python

    To run this step, you must have Python 2.7 or 3.5+ installed with the TensorFlow 1.14+ package installed.

    python -m mediapipe.examples.desktop.media_sequence.demo_dataset \
      --path_to_demo_data=/tmp/demo_data/ \
      --path_to_mediapipe_binary=bazel-bin/mediapipe/examples/desktop/media_sequence/media_sequence_demo \

    The arguments define where data is stored. --path_to_demo_data defines where the data will be downloaded to and where prepared data will be generated. --path_to_mediapipe_binary is the path to the binary built in the previous step. --path_to_graph_directory defines where to look for MediaPipe graphs during processing.

    Running this module

    1. Downloads videos from the internet.
    2. For each annotation in a CSV, creates a structured metadata file.
    3. Runs MediaPipe to extract images as defined by the metadata.
    4. Stores the results in numbered set of TFRecords files.

    MediaSequence uses SequenceExamples as the format of both inputs and outputs. Annotations are encoded as inputs in a SequenceExample of metadata that defines the labels and the path to the cooresponding video file. This metadata is passed as input to the C++ media_sequence_demo binary, and the output is a SequenceExample filled with images and annotations ready for model training.

  4. Reading the data in TensorFlow

    To read the data in tensorflow, first add the repo to your PYTHONPATH


    and then you can import the data set in Python using

Preparing a practical data set

As an example of processing a practical data set, a similar set of commands will prepare the Charades data set. The Charades data set is a data set of human action recognition collected with and maintained by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. To follow this code lab, you must abide by the license for the Charades data set provided by the Allen Institute.

The Charades data set is large (~150 GB), and will take considerable time to download and process (4-8 hours).

bazel build -c opt mediapipe/examples/desktop/media_sequence:media_sequence_demo --define MEDIAPIPE_DISABLE_GPU=1

python -m mediapipe.examples.desktop.media_sequence.charades_dataset \
  --alsologtostderr \
  --path_to_charades_data=/tmp/demo_data/ \
  --path_to_mediapipe_binary=bazel-bin/mediapipe/examples/desktop/media_sequence/media_sequence_demo \

Preparing your own data set

The process for preparing your own data set is described in the MediaSequence documentation. The Python code for Charades can easily be modified to process most annotations, but the MediaPipe processing warrants further discussion. MediaSequence uses MediaPipe graphs to extract features related to the metadata or previously extracted data. Each graph can focus on extracting a single type of feature, and graphs can be chained together to extract derived features in a composable way. For example, one graph may extract images from a video at 10 fps and another graph extract images at 24 fps. A subsequent graph can extract ResNet-50 features from the output of either preceding graph. MediaPipe enables a composable interface of data process for machine learning at multiple levels.

The MediaPipe graph with brief annotations for adding images to a data set is as follows. Common changes would be to change the frame_rate or encoding quality of frames.

# Convert the string input into a decoded SequenceExample.
node {
  calculator: "StringToSequenceExampleCalculator"
  input_side_packet: "STRING:input_sequence_example"
  output_side_packet: "SEQUENCE_EXAMPLE:parsed_sequence_example"

# Unpack the data path and clip timing from the SequenceExample.
node {
  calculator: "UnpackMediaSequenceCalculator"
  input_side_packet: "SEQUENCE_EXAMPLE:parsed_sequence_example"
  output_side_packet: "DATA_PATH:input_video_path"
  output_side_packet: "RESAMPLER_OPTIONS:packet_resampler_options"
  options {
    []: {
      base_packet_resampler_options {
        frame_rate: 24.0
        base_timestamp: 0

# Decode the entire video.
node {
  calculator: "OpenCvVideoDecoderCalculator"
  input_side_packet: "INPUT_FILE_PATH:input_video_path"
  output_stream: "VIDEO:decoded_frames"

# Extract the subset of frames we want to keep.
node {
  calculator: "PacketResamplerCalculator"
  input_stream: "decoded_frames"
  output_stream: "sampled_frames"
  input_side_packet: "OPTIONS:packet_resampler_options"

# Encode the images to store in the SequenceExample.
node {
  calculator: "OpenCvImageEncoderCalculator"
  input_stream: "sampled_frames"
  output_stream: "encoded_frames"
  node_options {
    []: {
      quality: 80

# Store the images in the SequenceExample.
node {
  calculator: "PackMediaSequenceCalculator"
  input_side_packet: "SEQUENCE_EXAMPLE:parsed_sequence_example"
  output_side_packet: "SEQUENCE_EXAMPLE:sequence_example_to_serialize"
  input_stream: "IMAGE:encoded_frames"

# Serialize the SequenceExample to a string for storage.
node {
  calculator: "StringToSequenceExampleCalculator"
  input_side_packet: "SEQUENCE_EXAMPLE:sequence_example_to_serialize"
  output_side_packet: "STRING:output_sequence_example"