Thursday, May 30, 2013

Analysis or demonstratives?

In response to many of my recent posts, I was asked "Amped FIVE or Avid MC or Photoshop or Premiere Pro or ImageJ or MATLAB or ... which is your favourite tool?" My answer, it depends. It depends on what's requested and how the investigator or customer wants the final product delivered.

Photoshop's analysis tools are very limited, so I was thrilled to find FIVE on the market. FIVE isn't a tool for creating demonstratives, so I'm a happy Creative Cloud subscriber. I may be asked to repeat another expert's work, so I try to have all the latest tools out there (I know, I'm a bit spoiled). For images: Photoshop, FIVE, ImageJ, MATLAB, Gimp, and etc. For video: Photoshop, FIVE, Premiere Pro, Avid MC, Vegas, iMovie, Final Cut, and etc. For audio: Audition, DC Live, Audacity, Sound Forge, and etc. For mobile devices, FINALMobile, Cellebrite, XRY, and so on.

What I've found is that results often vary by the tool. Can I reproduce the results of an Avid MC project in Sony's Vegas? Can I follow a Photoshop project's notes exactly in FIVE? Sort of. But, will sort of work for your case and your court? Maybe.

These are some of the issues that I'll bring up when I present Forensic Image & Video Analysis at this year's LEVA Conference in September.

Our juries are becoming more sophisticated. They’re demanding deeper responses and better explanations to questions about your clarification / enhancement / analysis techniques. What did your program do? What’s the scientific basis for your work? Can you cite published references for the tools that you employ in your workflow? Remember, part of your testimony (telling your story) now involves framing the science of your analysis in a way that your jury can understand.

In this session, we'll move beyond workflows and checklists and enlist the help of some of the legends of mathematics to focus on the science that lies beneath the surface of the filters that we use every day. Unlike your use of other tools (which are largely used for creating demonstrative exhibits), in this 16-hour class, we’ll approach forensic image & video analysis from a scientific perspective, relying on the scientific method to guide our path to discovery. Along the way, will discover whom Joseph Fourier and Carl Friedrich Gauss were and what do they have to do with our work as analysts.

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