Monthly Archives: May 2017

Are Amped Software products validated or certified officially for forensic use?

We work in the field of forensic video analysis, which is generally intended as the analysis of the images themselves and their context in a legal setting. For this reason, our customers often ask us if our products are valid for court use and if they have been validated and certified. We have written this post as an answer to the most common questions related to this topic.

You can also download this as a PDF document here


What are the scientific foundations of Amped Software products?

All the processes implemented in our software follow the principles of scientific methodology. Any process follows these basic principles:

  1. Accuracy (Reliability): our tools and training program help users avoid processing errors caused by the implementation of an inappropriate tool or workflow and help mitigate the impact of human factors / bias.
  2. Repeatability: the same process, executed by the same user at a different time, must lead to the same result. The project format in Amped FIVE, for example, does not save any image data. Every time a project is reopened, all the processing happens again starting from the original data. In the event that a project file is lost or as a part of a validation or other test scenario, the same user can repeat the steps and settings, guided by the tool’s report, and achieve the same results.
  3. Reproducibility: another user with the proper competency, should be able to reproduce the same results. Amped FIVE generates a complete report detailing all the steps of the processing, the settings / parameters applied, a description of the algorithms employed in the processing and the scientific references for those algorithms (when applicable). In this way, another user, with a different tool set or by implementing the same algorithms, should be able to reproduce the same results. Given the huge number of implementation details and possible differences, it is not expected to produce a bit by bit copy of the results, but only to produce an image of similar informative content.

Additionally, we apply strict due diligence on the applicability of the algorithms for the forensic environment. Not every algorithm is, in fact, properly applicable in a forensic science setting. We cannot use algorithms which have a random component because they would not be reproducible and repeatable (when we do, we set a fixed seed for the random number generation) and we cannot use algorithms which “add” external data to the original, for example improving the quality of a face with information added from an average face. All information is derived from the actual evidence file.

We employ algorithms which have been validated by the scientific community through peer review, such as university textbooks, scientific publications, or conference papers. If for some specific task, there are not good enough algorithms available or we need to adapt existing algorithms, we describe the algorithm and attempt to publish them in scientific journals. Continue reading

Interview with Marco Fontani, Forensics Consultant, FORLAB

This is the first in a series of interviews with a number of our users that will share their story. If you are interested in being profiled, let us know. We would love to hear from you!


In this first post, we speak with Marco Fontani from FORLAB, one of the main laboratories in Italy specialized in image and video forensics. We started working together in the European project MAVEN and since then, we cooperate with FORLAB on several fronts, including the technology transfer from the world of research into practical applications.

Marco, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role at FORLAB?

My background is mostly in academics. I have a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering and a PhD degree in Information Engineering and Sciences. I’ve authored and co-authored several publications on novel image, video and audio forensic algorithms. My current role at FORLAB includes a mix of consultancy and training plus some research activity (mostly carried out by following master/PhD students).

What made you decide to enter the field of multimedia forensics?

I’ve always been interested in multimedia security because multimedia content is much too easily trusted/relied upon. When I began my PhD in 2010, an important research project funded by the European Commission (REWIND project) was about to start, and I joined the research group of professor Barni to take part in this project. After the PhD, I thought it would be interesting to put my studies to work in practical cases. Hence I, together with other colleagues, pushed the growth of FORLAB, where the scientific and technological innovative results are transferred to the real needs of the forensic environment.

What would you say are the biggest challenges with multimedia digital evidence and investigating crimes?

In the age of terrorism, I believe the main challenges are related to: a) analysis and interpretation of massive data (e.g. images/videos shared through social networks, but also video surveillance footage captured by cameras spread in a city); b) poor quality of CCTV cameras, that makes recording useless in so many cases. Continue reading

CSI effect: the role of a forensic video analyst is a little more than just special Hollywood effects

“Often seen but rarely understood, the role of a forensic video analyst is a little more than just special effects”. David Spreadborough, Amped’s International Trainer and Forensic Video Analyst, explains what forensic video analysis actually entails.

Read the full article published in Safety & Security International magazine

Police Oracle interviews Amped to discuss how imaging software can help growing ‘question’ of authenticity

David Spreadborough, Amped’s international trainer and ex-officer at Cheshire Police for 24 years, tells Police Oracle how Amped Authenticate is designed to help law enforcement underpin the veracity of images submitted to them externally, allowing officers to apply the appropriate level of ‘weight’ to evidence.

Read the article on Police Oracle or click here.

Amped FIVE Update 9223: New Hikvision Loader, New Tool, New Functions

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…

Hikvision Video Loader

Continue reading

CCTV is More Useful Than We May Perceive

One of the things that fascinate me the most in forensic video analysis is the relation between the subjective digital data and the objective human interpretation involved in any investigation. Psychological biases and the fallacies of human perceptions easily verifiable with any of the popular optical illusions are just some of the factors which must be taken into account while doing investigations.

But this time I want to look at things from a higher level and talk about the usefulness of video as evidence and our perception of it. Chances are you have already seen the very interesting article: “The Value of CCTV Surveillance Cameras as an Investigative Tool: An Empirical Analysis” (link).

The abstract provides some impressive numbers: “This study sought to establish how often CCTV provides useful evidence and how this is affected by circumstances, analysing 251,195 crimes recorded by British Transport Police that occurred on the British railway network between 2011 and 2015. CCTV was available to investigators in 45% of cases and judged to be useful in 29% (65% of cases in which it was available).”

For reference, this is the decision workflow used in the classification (image from the above paper).

This really made me feel good. It looks like what we are doing here at Amped Software is having an impact on society, and more than we expected. I think most people in our community would be surprised by the numbers. At Amped, we see hundreds of cases every year, and for more than half of the images and videos that we receive, we just say that they are useless. Continue reading

Amped in Rome for the Digital Forensics Meeting

Visit us at the Digital Forensics Meeting 2017 event, held in Rome, Italy on Tuesday 9 May 2017.

This one-day event is dedicated to computer forensics and mobile forensics experts to discuss the latest developments in digital investigations and intelligence. Guests will have the opportunity to attend presentations and interact directly with vendors and international experts. There will also be an exhibition area where participants can meet software vendors, including Amped Software, to receive personalized demos and exchange information.

For more information and registration, visit the event website.