Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Temperature Tint Filter

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.

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Learning & Development

I’m at Schiphol again!

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!!

First, we have a Regional Police Force.

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Amped Authenticate Update 9446: CameraForensics Integration, New Quantization Tables Database and Much More

We’ve just launched some pretty important additions to Amped Authenticate. Not only have we integrated it with CameraForensics, but we have also made some major improvements to the quantization tables in addition to many other internal improvements. Read below for the details.

CameraForensics Integration

The main purpose of Amped Authenticate is to verify if a picture is an original coming from a specific device or if it’s the result of manipulation using image editing software. One of the main tests to verify the file integrity is to acquire the camera that is assumed to be the one that has generated the photo (or at least the same model) and verify if the format is compatible with the file under analysis.

While this sounds easy in practice, many devices have so many different settings and because of this it can be challenging to recreate the same conditions. Furthermore, the camera is often not available.

What if we look on the web for pictures coming from a specific device? While we cannot, in general, guarantee the integrity of files downloaded from the web, we can triage them pretty easily and do a comparison with the image under analysis.

But how do you search for images on the web in an efficient manner? We have had “Search for Images from Same Camera Model…” in Authenticate for quite some time. It allows you to search on Google Images and Flickr, but the search is not always optimal, as it has to apply different workarounds to work efficiently in a forensic setting.

So, what if someone built a database of pictures on the web, optimized for investigative use, enabling you to instantly search for images coming from a specific device and with specific features such as resolution and JPEG quantization tables? Turns out the guys at CameraForensics did exactly this (and much more) and we partnered with them to provide a streamlined experience.

Let’s see how it works. Continue reading

Axon Accelerate Conference: Intro to Axon Forensic Suite

The Axon Accelerate Conference is on! Attend this two-day event to learn how to deploy the cutting-edge technologies available to you on the Axon platform, network with other law enforcement professionals, and help design the new devices and apps that let you focus on what really matters.

From June 20-21, 2017 you can attend numerous breakout session and choose the ones that are most relevant and important to you. Sessions cover topics on policy, products, security, Force Science, hardware, futures, media training, and so much more.

Join Jim Hoerricks, Director of Customer Support and Training, Amped Software Inc., for the INTRO TO AXON FORENSICS breakout session on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017 from 11:00 AM-11:45 AM. 

This session will illustrate the many workflows that are possible with the Axon Forensic Suite of products (powered by Amped Software), both as standalone tools and together with Evidence.com. The Axon Forensic Suite includes tools for the conversion of proprietary file types to standard formats (Axon Convert/Amped DVRConv), the restoration / clarification / analysis of images and video (Axon Five/ Amped FIVE), and the authentication
of images prior to their use in case work and court (Axon Detect/Amped Authenticate).

Click here for more info: https://global.axon.com/info/conference-2017

Understanding how online services change images

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:

A Classification Engine for Image Ballistics of Social Data: https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.06347

A Forensic Analysis of Images on Online Social Networks: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6132891/

Why is this important?

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The Flexibility of the Add Text Filter

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)

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Changing a Video’s Frame Rate

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.

Change frame rate in a videoThere 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.