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DaFEx - a Database of Kinetic Facial Expressions

DaFEx is composed by 1008 short videos in which Ekmans prototypic emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise) plus the neutral expression are shown.

Facial expressions were recorded by 8 italian professional actors (4 male and 4 female) on 3 intensity levels (low, medium, high) and in 2 different conditions:

  • Utterance Condition: actors played emotions while uttering a phonetically rich and visemically balanced sentence (In quella piccola stanza vuota c'era per soltanto una sveglia, Italian for: In that little empty room there was only an alarm clock).
  • Non-Utterance Condition: actors played emotions without pronouncing any sentence. Before starting the recordings, actors were given a sheet containing 6 scenarios, one for each emotion, which were meant to help the actor to elicit the corresponding emotion. Cue stories were emotionally coloured and were a paragraph long. Cue stories had also the function of inducing all the actors to play the same emotion in a similar way. Each video started and ended with the actor showing a neutral expression. Both video and audio signals were recorded. Each actor recorded a sub-set of 126 videos, which includes all the emotions considered, at the three intensity levels and in the two different conditions.

During the recording sessions we paid attention to control the video quality such as the colour of the background, the position and the intensity of the lights, and the position of the camera. For the recording we used a digital camera (Canon MV630i) and a directional microphone (Sennheiser MKH 406T). Videos were then compressed with Indeo 5.10 compression and audio signal has been filtered in order to eliminate external noise. Finally, videos have been saved in .avi format and have a size of 360 x 288 pixels.


  • Battocchi, A.; Pianesi, F.; Goren-Bar, D.. A First Evaluation Study of a Database of Kinetic Facial Expressions (DaFEx). Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces ICMI 2005, October 04-06, 2005, Trento (Italy), pp. 214-221. ACM Press New York, NY, USA (pdf)

  • Battocchi, A.; Pianesi, F.; Goren-Bar, D.. The Properties of DaFEx, a Database of Kinetic Facial Expressions. In Jianhua Tao, Tieniu Tan, Rosalind W. Picard (Eds.): Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, First International Conference, ACII 2005, Beijing, China, October 22-24, 2005, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3784 Springer 2005, pp. 558-565 (pdf)

DaFEx is freely available with a Creative Commons License.

For more details or requesting the dataset, please contact Nadia Mana (mana AT