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.
You may remember the announcement of our partnership with Griffeye, some months ago. This partnership is especially interesting since we both work on images and videos, but in a different, yet complementary way. Griffeye focuses on finding the needle in a haystack, while Amped focuses on sharpening the needle and verifying it is actually a needle and not a stick.
In the latest release of Griffeye Analyze, the Amped FIVE plugin has been added to the Analyze Forensic Market, but in the near future we plan to also add apps for Amped Authenticate and Amped DVRConv. In this post, we will show you how to start with the integration and how the two software work together.
First of all, we assume that you have installed Amped FIVE (build 9010 or later) and Griffeye Analyze (17.1.0 or later) on the same machine.
In order to enable the integration, you need to click on the button “Analyze Forensic Market”.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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