Revealing Single Frame Bias for Video-and-Language Learning, arXiv 2022

Jie Lei, Tamara L. Berg, Mohit Bansal

Official PyTorch code for Singularity, an efficient single-frame approach for end-to-end learning on video-text tasks. It adopts a single-frame training, and multi-frame inference strategy for efficient and accurate learning on a set of video-text tasks. It also shows competitive performance on image-text tasks. Supported tasks are:

  • text-to-video retrieval on MSRVTT, DiDeMo, ActivityNet Captions
  • video question answering on MSRVTT-MC, MSRVTT-QA, ActivityNet-QA
  • text-to-image retrieval on COCO, Flickr
  • image question answering on VQA

Besides, based on the action recognition dataset SSV2, we also provide two video-and-language tasks that requires fine-grained temporal modeling. These two retrieval tasks are also supported by this repo.

model figure


The specific packages used in our experiment are detailed in environment.yml, you can easily create a conda env containing these packages.

# create 
conda env create -f environment.yml
# activate
conda activate sl

In your .bashrc file, set the environment variables:

export SL_EXP_DIR="/path/to/ckpts_and_logs"
export SL_DATA_DIR="/path/to/data"

These variables are accessed by the yaml files in the configs/ directory and the shell scripts in scripts/.

[Optional] Our codebase support using wandb to monitor training. If you want to use wandb, you will need to set up it following this very short instruction, and also set wandb.enable in the configs to be True.



It is recommended to save the annotation files under ${SL_DATA_DIR}. For example, the config file configs/pretrain.yaml assume ${SL_DATA_DIR}/anno_pretrain is the directory containing all pre-training annotation files. Detailed statistics of these datasets are provided in our paper.

Checkpoints (size 1.6 GB – 4.0 GB)

For video-text tasks, each .tar.gz file includes both Singularity (1-frame) and Singularity-temporal (4-frame) models, pre-trained on 5M and 17M corpus, in total 4 ckeckpoints per file. For image-text tasks, each .tar.gz file contains two Singularity ckeckpoints per file.

Raw Videos and Images

We compile the resources and links for downloading and preprocessing (e.g., compressing for faster loading, etc.) the raw videos and images for all the datasets used in this work, in


Launch pre-training with the following command:

bash scripts/ EXP_NAME CORPUS NGPU local 

EXP_NAME indicates the name of the current run. CORPUS is the name of the dataset used for training, check configs/pretrain.yaml for available corpus. NGPU is the number of GPUs to use. The last parameter local specifies the program will be running on a local machine, instead of a slurm managed cluster. For training on WebVid and CC3M datasets, with 3 GPUs, run

bash scripts/ first_run webvid_cc3m 3 local

With 3 A100 GPUs, this pre-training takes about 1 day to finish. You can also change the other configs in configs/pretrain.yaml. For example, you can append wandb.enable=True to enable logging with wandb:

bash scripts/ first_run webvid_cc3m 3 local wandb.enable=True

If you are using slurm, simply replace bash with sbatch, and local with slurm:

sbatch scripts/ first_run webvid_cc3m 3 slurm wandb.enable=True

However, note that you may need to change #SBATCH configs in scripts/ for your specific slurm cluster, e.g., --partition. Also, the NGPU argument will be ignored, you need to specify #gpus using #SBATCH in the script.



Launch fine-tuning for text-to-video (or text-to-image) retrieval with the following command:

bash scripts/ EXP_NAME DATASET NGPU local \

EXP_NAME is the name of the training. DATASET indicates the dataset to use, it can be one of [msrvtt, didemo, anet, ssv2_label, ssv2_template, coco, flickr]. PT_CKPT_PATH is the path to the pre-trained checkpoint file. If msrvtt is used, the script will fine-tune the model using the config file here configs/ret_msrvtt.yaml.

bash scripts/ ft_msrvtt msrvtt 1 local \

Besides, if you want to use a different value than the default values in this config file, you may append options to the command above. For example, fine-tuning msrvtt with 4 frames per video, and use a 2-layer temporal encoder (this is the Singularity-temporal model):

bash scripts/ ft_msrvtt_4frm_2tlayer msrvtt 1 local \
 pretrained_path=PT_CKPT_PATH \
 video_input.num_frames=4 \
 add_temporal_embed=True \
 temporal_vision_encoder.enable=True \

Similar to pre-training, you can run this script on slurm, simply replacing bash with sbatch, local with slurm.

retrieval results

Question Answering

Launch fine-tuning for video (or image) question answering with the following command:

bash scripts/ EXP_NAME DATASET NGPU local \

DATASET can be one of [msrvtt, anet, vqa]. This script also supports slurm.

qa results


For retrieval, run


DATASET is the name of one of the retrieval datasets, CKPT_PATH can be a path to fine-tuned checkpoint, or pre-trained checkpoint. In the later case, it evaluates zero-shot performance. SAVE_DIRNAME is a string name of the directory where the evaluation results will be saved. To evaluate didemo zero-shot performance on both val and test splits, with 12 inference frames, one can use

bash scripts/ didemo /path/to/pt_ckpt.pth eval_12frm local 1 \
 test_types=[val,test] video_input.num_frames_test=12

For question answering, run



This code used resources from transformers, ALBEF, ClipBERT, frozen. The code is implemented using PyTorch. We thank the authors for open-sourcing their awesome projects.


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