Abstract : Action recognition in uncontrolled video is an important and challenging computer vision problem. Recent progress in this area is due to new local features and models that capture spatio-temporal structure between local features, or human-object interactions. Instead of working towards more complex models, we focus on the low-level features and their encoding. We evaluate the use of Fisher vectors as an alternative to bag-of-word histograms to aggregate a small set of state-of-the-art low-level descriptors, in combination with linear classifiers. We present a large and varied set of evaluations, considering (i) classification of short actions in five datasets, (ii) localization of such actions in feature-length movies, and (iii) large-scale recognition of complex events. We find that for basic action recognition and localization MBH features alone are enough for state-of-the-art performance. For complex events we find that SIFT and MFCC features provide complementary cues. On all three problems we obtain state-of-the-art results, while using fewer features and less complex models.