Compression Artifacts: Hiding or Adding Details to the Scene

Dear friends, welcome to a new video pitfall post! This time we’re dealing with a very sneaky part of video analysis: can we trust what we see? Sometimes, distinguishing the real detail of an object from that of an artifact is not easy. Today’s post will review some of the most common video artifacts and their possible effect on your work.

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Timestamps: Not Always Showing the Right Time

Dear friends, welcome to this week’s video evidence pitfall! In this post, we’re focusing on a crucial element of forensic video analysis: timestamps. Timestamps allow us to locate in time what’s shown in a recording, or reference an event to a specific moment in time. Although virtually all surveillance systems do record timestamps, you should be aware of several pitfalls in accessing and interpreting them, so keep reading!

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Join Us at the Amped User Days 2021 in April

We’re excited to once again bring you Amped User Days 2021. This free virtual event is taking place from April 20-22, 2021 with a rich panel of speakers from Amped Software and experts from the industry. Register today and join us!

REGISTER NOW

It’s always such a great opportunity to catch up with our users from around the world and experts from the industry, to exchange ideas and get product feedback. In this three-day event, you will be able to meet the team behind Amped Software products, ask questions, discuss product improvements, and interact with other Amped users.

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Receiving Video Evidence: Usually It’s Not the Original

Dear friends, welcome to another video pitfalls pill! Today’s post concludes our mini-series about using the “best possible evidence.” In the previous weeks, we always assumed you had control from the beginning. Today, we focus on a different yet widespread scenario: you receive the “evidence” from someone else and are asked to work on that. Want to know the undercover pitfalls in this situation? Just keep reading!

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Screen Capture: It’s Not the Evidence, It’s a Video of the Evidence

Dear friends, welcome! Here we are with one more post for the “best possible evidence” mini-series. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen that you should not film the display and that proprietary players often alter the original pixels. Today, we’ll close this mini-series talking about screen capture. We’ll see that, while being much better than filming, this approach still has its issues and should be used only as a last resort. Keep reading!

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Proprietary CCTV/DVR Players: Often Not Showing the Original Pixels

Dear friends, welcome! This week’s post continues the “best possible evidence” mini-series. Last week, we showed why filming the display is not good. This week, we address a related topic: can we trust proprietary players? You’ll be surprised by the number of pitfalls hidden in the bare playback of a surveillance video, so keep reading!

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Photo Geek Measurement Experiments

Hi everyone, it’s my first blog post here, so let me introduce myself. My name is Gabriele Guarnieri and I am an electronics engineer specialized in Digital Image Processing. I received my degree in 2005 at the University of Trieste, Italy, with a thesis on High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, at a time when nobody outside a research lab knew what it was. In the following Ph.D. I also worked on medical displays. After a period of research and teaching I moved to work at Amped Software, which I knew well because it began as a start-up from the same laboratory I was working in. At Amped I mainly work on the filters, the image processing algorithms behind them, and the graphical interface of Amped FIVE.

Image processing is both a job and a hobby. I like to take photographs that involve some technical challenge and then process the results with software that I wrote. I also like to experiment with uncommon types of lenses. I am not a professional photographer, and my budget is therefore limited, but sometimes I still get some interesting results with second-hand vintage equipment.

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Cell Phone Snaps: Bad Quality and Reliability

Dear friends, welcome to your weekly dose of fear! Starting from today, we’ll be addressing a fundamental issue, perhaps the most important in your video forensic workflow: using the best possible evidence. We’ll dedicate some posts to this important topic, covering the various pitfalls you may encounter. Today, we’ll see why using a mobile phone (or even a professional camera on a tripod) to capture footage is, well, not recommended. Keep reading!

Issue: Filming the Display Creates Awful Footage

Let’s start with a quote from one of our esteemed users:

The jobs I manage never get that far as we work with appalling quality footage in the vague hope of securing a conviction.

Well, it’s certainly true that, sometimes, there’s not much we can do. But in many cases, the “appalling quality” is due to how the evidence video has been acquired, or how the working copy has been produced. Let’s go practical with an example. Can you get this license plate?

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Amped Has a Chat With Victor Bystrom from the Swedish National Police

Despite being a fairly small country, Sweden has an active and skilled forensic community, which highly values the importance of proper processes, tools and training. I’ve met Victor a few times and have always enjoyed our interesting conversations, not only during his several visits to our headquarters in Trieste, Italy, but also at the LEVA conference in the US. He has a long experience in video investigations and is an Amped FIVE and Amped Authenticate expert user.

Martino Jerian, Amped Software CEO and Founder

Victor, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role at the Swedish National Police?

I started working for the police almost 14 years ago. Back then as an analyst in the intelligence service. And already at that time, I started working with the retrieval of surveillance videos. In the last 5 years, however, I have dug deeper into what is the forensic part of video analysis within the Swedish National Police.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The best thing about what I do now is that I can pretty quickly see results in what you do and hopefully lead an investigation forward.

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Color Fidelity: It’s Hard to Objectively Evaluate Colors on Video

Welcome to this week’s Video Evidence Pitfalls post, dear friends! Today we’re dealing with the reliability of colors in CCTV footage (and with any kind of digital images in general). Colors are an essential part of human perception, but can often be misleading in surveillance footage. Keep reading to find out why!

Issue: Colors Are Often Unreliable in CCTV Footage

As part of an ATM fraud robbery investigation, you are reviewing footage from two cameras in the same area. This is the image of the suspect as he walks away from the ATM.

He’s suspected of having visited another ATM of a bank nearby. So you review the footage of that camera as well, but… you don’t find anyone with a blue jacket and beanie hat. After syncing the clocks and checking frame by frame, you realize that it could be him:

But you also realize you will have a hard time convincing anyone about it. Why are the colors completely different?

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