The goal of this work is to recognise phrases and sentences being spoken by a talking face, with or without the audio. Unlike previous works that have focussed on recognising a limited number of words or phrases, we tackle lip reading as an open-world problem – unconstrained natural language sentences, and in the wild videos.
Our key contributions are: (1) a ‘Watch, Listen, Attend and Spell’ (WLAS) network that learns to transcribe videos of mouth motion to characters; (2) a curriculum learning strategy to accelerate training and to reduce overfitting; (3) a ‘Lip Reading Sentences’ (LRS) dataset for visual speech recognition, consisting of over 100,000 natural sentences from British television.
The WLAS model trained on the LRS dataset surpasses the performance of all previous work on standard lip reading benchmark datasets, often by a significant margin. This lip reading performance beats a professional lip reader on videos from BBC television, and we also demonstrate that visual information helps to improve speech recognition performance even when the audio is available.