VideoTree: Adaptive Tree-based Video Representation for LLM Reasoning on Long Videos


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Video-language understanding tasks have focused on short video clips, often struggling with long-form video understanding tasks. Recently, many long video-language understanding approaches have leveraged the reasoning capabilities of Large Language Models (LLMs) to perform long video QA, transforming videos into densely sampled frame captions, and asking LLMs to respond to text queries over captions. However, the frames used for captioning are often redundant and contain irrelevant information, making dense sampling inefficient, and ignoring the fact that video QA requires varying levels of granularity, with some video segments being highly relevant to the question (needing more fine-grained detail) while others being less relevant. Thus, these LLM-based approaches are prone to missing information and operate on large numbers of irrelevant captions, lowering both performance and efficiency. To address these issues, we introduce VideoTree, a query-adaptive and hierarchical framework for long-video understanding with LLMs. VideoTree dynamically extracts query-related information from a video and builds a tree-based representation for LLM reasoning. First, VideoTree adaptively selects frames for captioning by iteratively clustering frames based on their visual features and scoring clusters using their relevance to the query. Second, it organizes visual clusters into a query-adaptive and hierarchical tree structure; the tree encodes varying levels of granularity, with higher resolution on relevant segments. Finally, VideoTree produces an answer by traversing the tree's keyframes and passing their captions to an LLM answerer. Our method improves both reasoning accuracy and efficiency compared to existing methods: VideoTree achieves a 7.0 on the EgoSchema, NExT-QA, and IntentQA benchmarks, respectively, while reducing inference time by 40
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