Category Archives: How to

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.

Working with Subtitles in Amped FIVE

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.

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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.

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Can you see in the dark?

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.

Bingo!

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

Advanced File Information – A Closer Look!

In the recent Amped FIVE Update (Rev. 9010), there were some big additions to the advanced “File Info”.

The updated tool has already received high praise from regular users who can now do all their frame, stream, hex and format analysis from within the same application – Amped FIVE!

It’s time therefore to take a much closer look at this new and powerful functionality.

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Amped DVRConv: The Beginner’s Guide

Simplicity, speed, and forensic integrity all come together in Amped’s latest software, providing law enforcement and digital forensic labs with a quick and easy stand-alone solution to the challenge of video conversion.

It’s been a few months since its release, so hopefully by now, you will have seen the blog posts and press releases regarding Amped DVRConv. It is a very easy program to use…it really is. You tell the application that you have a video file that you cannot play, the software analyzes the file and format, and then it gives you a video file that you can play in any standard playback software, along with the conversion log for full disclosure.

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How do you tell it? That’s easy as well. You either use drag and drop, copy and paste, or even have it ‘watch’ a specific folder and then convert immediately.

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Amped Advent Calendar: useful tips and tricks in Amped FIVE

This year, our great trainer Spready got into the holiday season by creating a special Amped Advent Calendar.

Every day, over the month of December, he opened one door on the calendar. Hidden behind each door was, not a small piece of chocolate, but an Amped FIVE top tip!

We hope you enjoyed these tips and found them useful. For those of you who missed them, we thought we would wrap them into one big blog post to put under the tree and open on December 25th. Let us know which door was your favourite. Enjoy!

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From the entire team at Amped Software, we wish all of you a safe and very happy holiday season!

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Amped FIVE Direct Preview from DVR Examiner

Direct Preview in Amped FIVE from the DVR HDD Application, DVR Examiner, now means a seamless workflow between the two products.

Native data recovery from DVR HDD’s can be a tricky business. DVR Examiner, by DME Forensics, can take a lot of this pain away.

When viewing a directly attached (write blocked) HDD, or a forensic disk image, if the file system is supported, all the clips will be viewable.

Right clicking a clip brings up various options. Under Preview With.. you will now see Amped FIVE as a choice.

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Video Input

One of Amped FIVE‘s many input features is having the ability to preview and capture a video signal, directly within the interface.

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Any Directshow compatible video device can be used. When selected, the Input Filter settings dialogue box will open, giving you the ability to choose the device and configure its settings.

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