2 February 2011 Quality versus intelligibility: studying human preferences for American Sign Language video
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Real-time videoconferencing using cellular devices provides natural communication to the Deaf community. For this application, compressed American Sign Language (ASL) video must be evaluated in terms of the intelligibility of the conversation and not in terms of the overall aesthetic quality of the video. This work presents a paired comparison experiment to determine the subjective preferences of ASL users in terms of the trade-off between intelligibility and quality when varying the proportion of the bitrate allocated explicitly to the regions of the video containing the signer. A rate-distortion optimization technique, which jointly optimizes a quality criteria and an intelligibility criteria according to a user-specified parameter, generates test video pairs for the subjective experiment. Experimental results suggest that at sufficiently high bitrates, all users prefer videos in which the non-signer regions in the video are encoded with some nominal rate. As the total encoding bitrate decreases, users generally prefer video in which a greater proportion of the rate is allocated to the signer. The specific operating points preferred in the quality-intelligibility trade-off vary with the demographics of the users.
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Frank M. Ciaramello, Sheila S Hemami, "Quality versus intelligibility: studying human preferences for American Sign Language video", Proc. SPIE 7865, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XVI, 786517 (2 February 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.876733; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.876733

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