Video investigators often receive files with little or no information surrounding the source, acquisition or handling. The files are often created by people with little knowledge of the legal requirements of data type and continuity. These issues, and quite a few others, all impact on the initial investigation as discrepancies can cause major problems further along in a case.
Let’s look at this file for example…
All images with sensitive data have been redacted.
Upon viewing in Windows, the thumbnail and extension are
shown, and hovering over the thumbnail reveals further information.
I am being told that it’s a Windows Media Video, it’s just
under 4Gb and has a length of just under 27hrs.
The CCTV request for footage did detail a time duration of 27hrs so it all looks good so far.
As the title of this blog post is, “Where Is the Rest of the Video?”, you just know that things are going to go wrong!
I am currently going through the last few years of Amped FIVE training and it has highlighted several useful points that I want to pass on. All the points can get wrapped up neatly under one word: Workflow! And where does this get used the most? In our Amped FIVE projects.
A workflow is a repeatable pattern of activity and processes through which work passes from initiation to completion. Having workflows is a core requirement of any Forensic Image and Video Unit (FVIU), ensuring that the quality of work is maintained through standard operating procedures. The challenge for FVIUs, though, is that they are starting with a non-standard product; with every case, video and frame being different. Therefore, any workflow set for a technician or analyst must be dynamic, placing the importance on their competency to select the right tool, method and/or process to complete the objective.
Let us say that two analysts are requested to complete the same tasks – to locate a vehicle in CCTV footage, enhance the license plate and then create a small video clip for use within a legal system.
Analyst No.1 starts by copying the data from a media exhibit and then uses the tool they know best to quickly screen capture the video within its dedicated video playback software. This creates a new ‘working’ video file. This can be imported easily into the court presentation software, which creates another file for presentation. The analyst uses the working file to create several still images. They do this by utilizing another piece of software, and then they import those still images into image editing software. Attempts are made to conduct restoration and enhancement but with no success.
Analyst No.1 has used six different pieces of software and has created several files, that will all need to be saved and documented. Although they have completed the tasks, the workflow is complicated, the integrity of the exhibits could be questioned, and the processes used have caused a loss in the visual information that resulted in the enhancement being unsuccessful.
How about analyst No.2?
They use Amped FIVE (of course). With FIVE’s ability to control
everything from ingest, through file analysis and into the restoration process,
a trained user is much more likely to avoid many workflow problems and get the
results they require.
Hi everyone, great to be back writing a quick blog post on here. We are SO busy here at Amped with so much going on… but I do like to chat with you all when I can.
This year’s LEVA event was in San Antonio, Texas.
What a place! If you ever get the chance to get down there, it’s a wonderful city.
During the event, I held a 12-hour workshop on using Amped FIVE. Many people had received some training before, but some were new users, and some didn’t even have the software yet. That’s one of the many things I love about FIVE — it’s so quick to get using, once you understand the interface.
The workshop concentrated on task and question orientated workflows — how to complete a desired task, and how to answer a specific question. The magic of FIVE is that you can do multiples of these in a single project.
No need to reformat or transcode in one piece of software, then edit images in another, then process video in one more. Keeping things simple means a much quicker result and that’s what we are here — to help you with getting results!
We looked at many functions and filters so I thought I would give a rundown here. It may help as a review to those who attended or be of interest to all you guys out there who may have missed a blog post over the past few years.
Please note though that workshops like these allow you to see just some specific features of Amped FIVE — you really should attend the official Amped FIVE training to learn about all the possibilities in FIVE. Check the schedule here.
David Spreadborough here, the International Trainer at Amped Software. It’s great to be back writing a blog post. The past few months have been very busy at Amped and our image authentication software, Amped Authenticate, has become the ‘go-to’ tool for many requiring an image’s history or to identify signs of manipulation. Helped maybe by the huge amounts of press detailing fake stories and images.
In this crazy world of multimedia forensics, we cannot stand still. The tech wizards at Amped HQ have been hard at work integrating new filters and tools to assist you further. So, let’s dive in and take a look!
Social Media Identification Filter
Under the File Analysis category, you will find this new filter.
Its purpose is to detect traces in the file formats left on images by social media platforms. As most of you probably already know, it is very easy to save other people’s images from sharing sites. With a simple right-click, you can save the displayed image to your computer.
An image from someone’s Facebook timeline
This filter now enables you to identify if the images you are examining originate from a Social Media Platform.
Otherwise known as ‘The Science of Single View Metrology’
The first common question asked to a forensic video analyst is, “Can you tell me what that license plate is?”. The second question is, “What is the height of that person?”.
It is then the forensic video analyst’s responsibility to analyze the video, assess its suitability to answer the question, process and prepare the images, and then finally use science to provide the answer, based on facts.
Taking a ‘workflow’ approach can often safeguard the user from missing vital information that may be relevant further along in the process.
There are a few different methods to attempt an answer to this height question, with different constraints, reliability, and drawbacks. In this post I will be taking an in-depth look at the technique built into Amped FIVE, using the filter Measure 3d.
It’s a common question during training – “What Monitor to use?”
One of the many reasons why people start using software like Amped FIVE is that it installs and runs on any modern Windows PC. There is no need to have huge amounts of hardware or specific configurations. A good, stable setup will work perfectly well.
For those unaware, this is the airport in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
I’m often here as I use this airport as a layover for many international flights when I can’t get one from my local airport in the UK.
This time though I have stayed here, in the Netherlands, delivering more Amped FIVE training.
It’s an easy airport to find a quiet spot to type!
I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like over the past few months as I have been running many different training sessions and workshops. During these, I have noticed an emerging trend but never made the connection until this week.
To lay the foundations for this subject, let’s look at how a large law enforcement agency or a country made up with smaller agencies are commonly organised. I know there are many, many configurations but you should get the picture!!
During a recent workshop on image authentication, I ran a few practical sessions. One concentrated on the changes that online services and social media platforms make to the images that we upload. It turned out to be an interesting experiment that has had some structured research over the past few years.
These are excellent starting resources when developing any internal Standard Operating Procedure:
It’s a crazy busy time here at Amped Software, but that doesn’t stop development. Yes, it’s time for another update to Amped FIVE.
The craziness has meant that I have been a little quiet on here and I apologize for that. I really enjoy reaching out to you via the medium of this blog, so I do feel it when I don’t have the time to do so. Conferences, training, workshops, seminars and exhibitions—it’s fantastic that more and more people are seeing how Amped Authenticate, Amped DVRConv, and Amped FIVE can help them solve their video and image challenges.
With this latest update to Amped FIVE, more help is available today!
Let’s start things off with a big one! One that we have been working on for a while and one that shows the true power of partnerships really working…