A crime occurs and is “witnessed” by a digital CCTV system. The files that your investigation wants/needs are in the system’s recording device (DVR). What do you do to get them? Do you seize the entire DVR as evidence (“bag and tag”)? Do you try to access the recorder through its user interface and download/export/save the files to USB stick/drive or other removable media?
Answer: it depends.
There are times when you’d want to seize the DVR. Perhaps 5% of cases will present a situation where having the DVR in the lab is necessary:
- Arsons/fires can turn a DVR into a bunch of melted down parts. You’re obviously not going to power up a melted DVR.
- An analysis that tests how the DVR performs and creates files. For example, does the frame timing represent the actual elapsed time or how the DVR fit that time into its container? Such tests of reliability will require access to the DVR throughout the legal process.
- Content analysis questions where there’s a difference of opinion between object/artifact. For example, is it a white sticker on the back of a car or an artifact of compression (random bit of noise)?
If you’re taking a DVR from a location, you can follow the guidance of the computer forensics world on handling the DVR (which is a computer) and properly removing it from the scene.
People often ask, “How can we speed up the processing of files in Amped FIVE ?” (As if it’s not fast enough :). “Can we create actions/templates?” The answer is yes. Here’s how.
Load a video file. In this case, we’ll load a BWC file from an Axon Body 2 camera.
Then, we’ll rename the processing chain. Right mouse click on the processing chain – Rename Chain.
What’s wrong with this video? Hint: look at the Inspector’s results for width / height.
Unfortunately, the answer in many people’s minds is …. nothing. I can’t begin to count the number of videos and images in BOLOs that attempt to depict a scene that looks quite like the one above. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, it’s hard to say what’s actually wrong with this video.
I’ve had a few questions about our tool’s reporting feature, so I thought a blog post would help explain and illustrate the philosophy behind our report creation process. Here it goes.
To understand why we format our reports in the way that we do, you must first understand the legal and regulatory environment in which forensic analysis exists in much of the world. We don’t just create tools in a vacuum. We didn’t make a tool for another industry and repurpose it for forensic science. Amped FIVE is purpose built for the forensic analysis of video and images.
Thus, we’ll start our tour at the ASTM. ASTM’s E2825-12 is at the heart of why our reports are formatted as they are.
More specifically, in Section 4 of E2825-12 it notes the following:
4.2.1 – Processing steps are documented in a manner sufficient to permit a comparably trained person to understand the steps taken, the techniques used, and …
Amped FIVE’s reports are created to satisfy this guidance – every time, automatically.
We’re back from the Axon Accelerate Conference. What an incredible experience to meet so many law enforcement professionals who are enthusiastic about going from Capture to the Courtroom with reliable tools based in science and fact, not tools repurposed from the art world.
I’d like to share today the answer to a question posed to us at the Conference. The question was, “how do you quickly get rid of that annoying orange color cast that you find in images / videos taken in underground locations or grow houses.”
The answer is the Temperature Tint filter (found in the Adjust filter group). But, before we look at the filter and how it works, let’s talk about about Colour Temperature.
The chart above is from my old book, Forensic Photoshop. It’s helpful to look at colour temperature from the standpoint of the Sun as it rises – the horizon going from warm to cool. Another way to look at colour temperature is with the chart below that places temperature (the Planckian locus in Kelvin) as it relates to the CIE XYZ Color Space.
If you’ve wondered at the filters in the Extract Filter group and asked yourself, what are these for, you’re not alone. Depending on your specific use case with Amped FIVE, there are likely a few filters for which you have no use in your current context. Others, you may use in a very specific way each time – but others may use them differently.
Thus it is that I encountered a request for a feature that’s been in Amped FIVE for quite some time. I’ve responded to the request with details on how to accomplish the task. Now, I’ll expand on the question and share a more detailed look at an often overlooked filter – Add Text. (click on the images to see the full-res versions)
The pace of change here at Amped Software is brisk. Each big update to our software brings new filters and updates based on user feedback and requests. Thus, it can be hard to keep track of what’s new and improved as time moves on.
In a recent conversation with a brand new customer, they noted that one of their pain points in using their old tools was changing frame rates. They’d get a request to slow things down and their tool would make the video look like a scene from a ghost movie. The results just didn’t look realistic – nor was the work handled in a scientific way.
I mentioned that Amped FIVE has the ability to change the frame rate of videos. It does so in an intelligent/scientific way. This functionality was added over two and a half years ago. Here’s the announcement from 2014.
There are a number of reasons why one would want to change the frame rate of a video, beyond the usual trial-prep functions of “slowing things down.” Most of the reasons center on the quality of the encoding and the file’s having correct frame rate information within the header.
What you don’t want to have happen is to add/subtract frames when you change the frame rate. With Presentation > Change Frame Rate, no frames are added or removed. The playback rate is changed. That’s all – but that’s huge. If you have a file with 1500 frames and the time/date stamp shows that from start to finish, 5 minutes elapse, then you need a playback rate that tracks with the number of frames/time. What you don’t want is added frames. Amped FIVE’s Change Frame Rate is the answer.
5 minutes = 300 seconds. 1500 frames/300 seconds = 5 frames per second. Just click on Presentation > Change Frame Rate and choose 5 (or choose the value based on your file’s properties). Your video is now set to play back at 5 frames per second. When you write out the video file, it will be written out to play at 5 frames per second.
Simple things should be easy, and fast. With Amped FIVE, they are.
If you’d like more information about our products or training options, contact us for more information.
Law enforcement officials have been sending out recordings of interviews to transcription services (or in-house transcribers) for decades. A complete and accurate text file of statements made in suspect / witness interviews has been a valuable aid to Detectives and Attorneys alike. Now that agencies have implemented new recording technologies (Body Worn Cameras, In-Car Video, & Interview Room recorders as examples), LEOs are looking to have the recordings made by these devices transcribed as well.
There are many services out there offering transcription for law enforcement. When choosing a service (when sending sensitive information outside of the LE agency), important considerations come into play. Not the least of these considerations are information security (CJIS) and standards compliance. There are plenty of services out there offering security and speed – both of which come at a cost. The most important consideration, however, is the format of the deliverable file. If the text is going to be used as subtitles for a video, it has to be formatted in a specific way. To be used as a subtitle file, It has to be formatted as a subtitle file. Not all transcription services offer this service. So it’s vitally important to choose a vendor that supports transcription that includes timing information and can produce a subtitle file. Without the timing information, synchronization of the text to the video becomes a manual (time consuming) process. With the timing information (see below), it’s fast and easy.
The good news is, we’ve got you covered. In fact, we’ve been supporting the insertion of subtitles for years. Let’s take a look at how this is done.
A crime has occurred. Your investigators comb the area looking for clues. Your media relations staff hit the airwaves asking for the public’s help. Your social media cyber team trolls the Internet for images taken about the time of the crime and in the general location.
An image shows up on social media that was taken a few minutes before the crime occurred, looking down the street at what is now your crime scene. But, what’s wrong with this picture?
Taken into the setting sun, the features of the scene are back-lit. Useful information is lost.
Or is it? Continue reading
When a driver wraps his car around a tree, the damage is likely rather obvious. Same again for a head-on collision at high speed. There’s not much car left to repair, so the insurance companies will likely pay out on the policy.
But in today’s app-driven world, minor dents and scratches are now being handled by the policy holder through the use of mobile device apps. Simply snap a picture or video of the damage and upload it to the insurance company. Claims are processed the same day and your money arrives quickly. Folks love this mobile claims processing functionality so much that insurance companies are featuring their time-saving apps in their advertising.
Whilst customers love this convenience, so do crooks. It turns out that fraudsters are using photo editing software to create fake photo evidence in support of bogus claims. This type of activity affects all policy holders as losses are spread out across all customers, keeping rates higher than they should be in a fraud-free world.
Enter Amped Software.
Without naming names (I don’t want to ruin the fraud-catchers’ fun), our software is being employed as both a risk management function (catching fraud), as well as to assist claims processors when folks turn in proprietary CCTV files in support of claims. Continue reading