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Video shot boundary detection is the initial and fundamental step towards video indexing, browsing and retrieval. Great efforts have been paid on developing accurate shot boundary detection algorithms. However, the high computational cost in shot detection becomes a bottleneck for real-time applications. The problem of making a balance between detection accuracy and speed is addressed in this paper, and a novel fast detection framework is presented. The general framework that employs pre-processing techniques can improve both detection speed and precision. In the pre-processing stage, adaptive local thresholding is adopted to classify non-boundary segments and candidate segments that may contain shot boundaries. The candidate segments are refined using bisection-based comparisons to eliminate non-boundary frames. Only refined candidate segments are preserved for further detections; hence, the speed of shot detection is improved by reducing detection scope. Moreover, prior knowledge about each possible shot boundary such as its type and duration can be obtained in the pre-processing stage, which can accelerate the consequent hard cut and gradual transition detections. Experimental results indicate that the proposed framework is effective in accelerating the shot detection process, and it can also achieve excellent detection accuracies.