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Monday, November 30, 2009


George wrote a bit ago to wake me up ... wondering where I'd been for a few weeks. I had built up a stack of stuff for posting, and some e-mails that needed addressing ... but lacked the time to get on it.

I'm in the home stretch on my Master's degree and the next, and final semester sees me going more than full time to get it all done by spring.

Full time work, more than full time school, part time practice, volunteer work, social life, wife, kids, ... it's a good thing that I don't require much sleep.

That being said, I may need to take a week off here and there ... then dump the stack of stuff. I'm here, just a little busy.

For the future, I'm working on a piece from a recent court case of mine involving authentication/comparison that is a bit eye-opening. I haven't decided if I should post it here, or offer it to the IAI, NATIA, or LEVA for their newsletters.

Thanks again for checking on me. If you are in the DC area, I'll be in town next week. Yes, one more thing to add to the list.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Study to look at HD CCTV

From the Hattiesburg American:

"The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at Southern Miss will conduct real-time testing and evaluation of surveillance technology in conjunction with the Golden Eagles’ home football game against the University of Tulsa today at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

A total of 12 high-definition cameras will be positioned outside and inside the stadium complex to monitor fan activity. Two national surveillance companies – Avigilon and Pixel Velocity – have teamed up with the NCS4 to test the equipment and related procedures.

This exercise serves as the launch of the national lab at NCS4 in which sophisticated testing of this nature will be conducted on a regular basis.

“Video surveillance has surfaced as the top issue facing the security industry right now,” said Lou Marciani, NCS4 director. “The goal with our lab is to vet security solutions for sports at all levels, from college to professional. There is no one else right now doing what we are for collegiate venues through this lab.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video in Photoshop CS4 Extended

"What am I missing?" - writes an reader in a recent e-mail. "I apply an effect to a video in Photoshop, but the effect is only applied to a single frame. What gives?"

When you first open a video file in Photoshop CS4 Extended, you'll see a layer icon that looks like the one below.

You'll want to right click on the layer and select Convert to Smart Object.

Once done, the layer's icon will change to that familiar look ... and your video layer will become a Smart Object.

Once done, you can apply effects to your heart's content - all non-destructively.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LEVA Highlights

Didn't make the LEVA conference? Here's some of what you missed:

"At the 2009 conference of the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association this week, Graeme Gerrard, Cheshire’s deputy chief constable and one of Britain’s top CTTV experts, spoke of the kingdom’s experience, and it’s not all as clear-cut as one might think.

While surveillance technology has exploded over a couple of decades, there are still a host of issues with coordination and operation—most notably the lack of standards on digital multipixel cameras.

Gerrard framed the issue as dual policy mission: How does government do its job of keeping people safe without diminishing the individual rights that lie at the heart of the free society? What are the costs of living in a free society? And just because we have the technology to implement, should we do so?

He offered a little history.

First of all, he said, Britain has no privacy laws along the lines of those in the United States and Canada—not even a consitution. In the United Kingdom, he said, the police can do pretty much anything they want, in terms of surveillance, unless there’s a specific law saying they can’t. They can wiretap communications without warrants, for example.

Combine that absence of American-style individual rights with an exponential growth in crime from the 1970s to the 1990s, along with high-profile bomb attacks from the Irish Republican Army, and the public largely cheered the security improvements."

Read the rest of this interesting article by
clicking here.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Adobe is looking for feedback on the future of Photoshop

From John Nack at Adobe:

... Below you'll find some of the ideas that have bubbled up in discussions on this blog and elsewhere. The list isn't exhaustive (I tried to keep the length reasonable), and it's not a promise or a hint about what might be in development. Think of it as just a quick straw poll to gauge temperature. ...

Richer Smart Objects
File Organisation / Mgmt.
Output / Integration.

Click here to read more and respond.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Telnet into DVRs?

A reader writes in asking about various ways to connect to network enabled DVRs. Often times, the manufacturer provides software to connect a Windows PC to the DVR through TCP/IP, but the files that come out are transcoded ... leaving no way to get to the proprietary data.

One of the more popular low-end DVRs is Q-See. They are available all over the place on-line from $200.

I friend of mine has found a way into some Q-See models using Telnet (root/123456) go get to the DVR (on a port other than 80). The files that were transfered were encoded using Q-See's proprietary h.264 codec. He couldn't get them to play on anything - but he had them secured none-the-less.

(If you are reading this and you have a networked Q-See DVR on your network, you should think about changing that password)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Exporting stills from Premiere Pro 4.2

I've covered this before, but folks are still searching Adobe's site for help with exporting stills from video. This from Adobe's Steven Muratore:

"A recent search terms report shows that a number of users searched for "capture frame," or "frame capture," when they wanted to find the topic about grabbing a still from video. Reasonably, these users thought of frame capturing as a kind of capture or import. However, the Help topic for it lives at the other end of the Help system, not under "capturing," but under "


Choose TIFF

Make sure that the settings match ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Check out Adobe Story

This one is for the production folks:

Test Drive New Adobe Story!

I'm excited to let you all know that Adobe Story, the new collaborative script development tool designed for creative professionals, producers, and writers working on or with scripts and screenplays is now available (and currently free) on Adobe Labs!

The current lab preview version of Story will let you try out many of the tools that will be part of the overall features in the final version of Adobe Story.

Adobe Story in the future will go beyond just script writing, it will tightly integrate with future versions of Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium tools too.

Click here for more info on Adobe Story on Adobe Labs

Click here to see the Adobe Story Overview on Adobe TV


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Camera Raw 5.6 now available

From John Nack at Adobe:

Camera Raw 5.6 and Lightroom 2.6 are now available for download from Adobe Labs. These releases add new camera support for the following models:

Canon EOS 7D
Canon PowerShot G11
Canon PowerShot S90
Leaf Aptus II 5
Mamiya DM22, DM28, DM33, DM56, M18, M22, M31
Nikon D3s
Olympus E-P2
Pentax K-x
Panasonic FZ38
Sigma DP1s
Sony A500
Sony A550
Sony A850

According to Camera Raw/Lightroom PM
Tom Hogarty, "The Lightroom 3 beta has not been updated with this new camera support. If you're working with one of these newer cameras and the Lightroom 3 beta, please use the DNG Converter 5.6 Release Candidate to convert proprietary formats to DNG files that can be used in the Lightroom 3 beta."

Because this is a release candidate, we'd be glad to get your feedback via the Camera Raw
User to User forum.

ed. note: Canon PowerShot G11? I was just breaking in my G10.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thirty top tricks for Acrobat 9

Check out Rick Borstein’s 30 Top Tricks for Acrobat 9 (helpful download link) from the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Examiners testify remotely via video

From NWANews.com

A closedcircuit television system linked to the state crime lab is seeing a lot more use in Washington County Circuit Court these days.

In the latest example, prosecutors have asked to allow examiners to testify via closed circuit television at the rape trial of 40-year-old Avery Laray Scott.

Scott is accused of engaging in sexual activity with a female who was too drunk to consent or was unaware sex acts were occurring. The incident happened on the University of Arkansas campus.

The trial is set for Dec. 11 before Washington County Circuit Judge William Storey.

Three examiners are expected to testify, including Sammy Williams, a toxicologist, Heather Farrell, who examines physical evidence, and Mary Simonson, a DNA evidence examiner.

The link allows examiners at the crime lab to testify without leaving their office.

“I’m very pleased with it and I’ve encouraged the prosecutors and defense attorneys to agree to do it,” Storey said. “It allows technicians to spend their time working in the lab rather than driving up and down I-40. It certainly does not adversely effect the testimony of the crime lab technicians and it saves the state a lot of time and money.”

The system was implemented because of the huge amount of travel time involved for evidence examiners testifying around the state. Crime lab officials say employees spend as much as half their time traveling.

It also allows examiners to work on other cases in the lab right up until they are summoned to testify.

“We like to use it whenever we can,” Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet said. “You’re talking about a six-hour minimum drive (from the crime lab in Little Rock to Fayetteville and back). It saves them a lot of time.”

Typically, an examiner will only be on the stand for a short time.

“It lasts 10 to 15 minutes on TV and they go back down the hall to work,” Threet said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Microsoft's Photosynth: A Future Forensic Tool?

From Forensic Magazine:

The digital camera is by far one of the most common tools for documenting accident and crime scenes all over the world. The low cost, ease of use, and its value as an important communication tool makes it a standard instrument for anyone in Forensic Identification. Even though film cameras are now almost completely obsolete and digital formats are the modern successor, many of the methods and techniques for capturing photographs have remained relatively unchanged. However, with the advent of new software and technologies that have branched out of photogrammetry (i.e. science of getting measurements from photographs), digital cameras are finding new uses as accurate measuring instruments too.

If you haven't heard about Microsoft's Photosynth, you might want to check out this neat little application that is provided freely by Microsoft. Photosynth is a new way of organizing your photos of a particular object or environment such that the photos are spatially oriented with respect to one another. Unlike panoramic images, where you can stitch a number of photographs together to create a 360° image of a scene, Photosynth is a combination of technologies that solve for the common features between photos and how each of the photos are oriented with respect to one another in 3D space. As the images are matched, the camera positions can be calculated and the matching points in each of the images are created as a 3D point.

These "points" define accurate features in 3D space that are common between photos and by taking enough photographs of an object, it is possible to construct a point cloud from the "synthed" images. In effect, this makes it one of the only free 3D scanners that can be utilized to get relative distances between point features of an object.

Although Photosynth was originally intended as a new and creative means of presenting photographs, what makes it technically appealing is that it can solve for the relative spatial relationships between photographs without knowing anything about the camera that took the photograph, and it does it relatively quickly.

The impact of this type of technology is that first responders, forensic technicians, and investigators can quickly gather a large number of overlapping photographs without the need for special targets, expensive equipment, or complicated software. The user just needs to take a lot of photos that cover the object all around and close up (either by physically moving closer to the object or by using a zoom lens). Once the photos are captured, they can be easily processed in Photosynth by a user with little to no training. There are actually very few steps involved in creating a "synth".

However, this simplistic approach is one of the areas where further development is needed since there is little control over the resulting point cloud and there are no integrated measuring tools. The solved points are somewhat a by-product of the technology and currently, exporting the point cloud requires a rather complicated process, (not for the faint of heart). Any post analysis of the point cloud requires the use of third party software for viewing and cleaning of stray points and "noise". (Another possible area of development).

Read the rest of the story by
clicking here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Judge Approves New Voice Technology to Monitor Sex Offenders

From Forensic Magazine:

"Sex offenders can be required to submit to a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) examination as part of their post-release supervision to determine if they are telling the truth, a federal court has ruled. Northern District of New York Chief Judge Norman A. Mordue ruled that the technique is analogous to polygraph examinations, which have been accepted by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a way to monitor the activities of those under post-release supervision.

The 2nd Circuit in United States v. Johnson, 446 F.2d 272 (2006), held that both the CVSA and polygraphs were reliable, that they could be validly related to the post-release supervision of an offender, and that they did not deprive a defendant of his rights under the Fifth Amendment."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Automate Your Critical Business Processes with SmartForm Solutions

This just in from Adobe - Adobe LiveCycle Webcast:
Automate Your Critical Business Processes with SmartForm Solutions

With Avoka solutions for Adobe LiveCycle ES, you can quickly and affordably deploy easy-to-use, highly-interactive, and intelligent SmartForms to connect customers, partners, citizens, or employees to your existing business processes. Avoka solutions eliminate paper forms while ensuring that users can complete complex online business applications, such as mortgage applications, purchase orders, and enrollment applications, without requiring a support agent.

Join us for an encore presentation of our LiveCycle Avoka SmartForms webcast to learn how Avoka Solutions make it easy to:

Publish and manage PDF SmartForms
Seamlessly couple SmartForms to business processes
Quickly create feature-rich and great looking SmartForms
Shift users onto a web-service model, which significantly reduces operating costs
Deliver a compelling return on investment, usually within six months

If you are unable to attend at this time, please register and we'll send you a copy of the recording after the event.

ed. note: I'm a long time fan of LiveCycle ... so it's nice to see it moving along so well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Learn Acrobat Online - free seminar series

From the Adobe Acrobat for Legal Professionals team:

"Can you name something free which makes you more productive? I can . . . just attend our free "Learn Acrobat Online" eSeminar series! We're going to kick it off this Friday with an "Acrobat 9 Tips and Tricks" Session."

Click here to register or to read the full agendas.

Snow Leopard update - 10.6.2

There's another SnowLeopard update (10.6.2). This time, Adobe is recommending it to fix some issues with Fireworks CS4.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Premiere Pro and Media Encoder Updates

Premiere Pro and Media Encoder CS4 (4.2) have been updated.

You can find the list of fixes by clicking here and here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lightroom 3 beta - resources

With the news of some really cool features in Lightroom 3 beta, folks are scrambling to get a handle on the changes, improvements, and so forth.

Tom Hogarty's blog post has a good list of resources for Lightroom 3 beta.

I've got the beta myself. I'll begin testing it in a wee bit to see if the issues that I found with 1 & 2 are still there. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mapping plug-ins can help with Crime Analysis

Crime Analysis units regularly put together crime maps of neighbourhoods for daily patrol and command briefings. This new plug-in can help add some life to these maps.

"MAPublisher® cartography software seamlessly integrates over 40 GIS tools into the Adobe Illustrator environment to help you create maps the way you want, how you want. Import the most widely used GIS data formats, including those from ESRI, MapInfo, MicroStation, AutoCAD, Google and the U.S. Government. All GIS data attributes and geographic parameters are maintained, are fully accessible and editable. Cartography is now faster, easier and better than it has ever been."

It's worth a look.

Friday, November 6, 2009


The Photoshop.com app comes to the new droid phones. It was only a matter of time.

Click here for the info.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sony AVCHD Support in Premiere Pro CS4

With the price drops that are happening - retails scrambling to get consumers in the door - some readers were concerned that desirable HD handy cams would prove problematic when it comes to editing the footage shot and contained on the massive internal hard drives.

Not to worry. Take the Sony HDR-SR11/12. The 11 gives you 60GB and the 12 has 120GB of internal storage. Up to 40 hours of 1080i recording on something that fits in the palm of your hand? Amazing. But what about editing?

Some readers with older versions of software will be disappointed. You'll need updated software and hardware to edit AVCHD. Users of Adobe's Premiere Pro CS4 need not worry, your software supports the Sony cams mentioned above, as well as many others.

Start with the right project settings. Select the appropriate preset for your camera. In this case, I'm choosing 1080i non-anamorphic.

Once the project is built, import your assets. Right click in the bin and select Import.

You'll need to find your files. It's best if you transfer them off the device to your hard drive. Just transfer all the files off the camera. Then browse to the ACHD>BDMV>STREAM folder. You'll see .mts files.

.MTS stands for MPEG Transport Stream.

Select all the files and click on Import.

From there, the files work the same as any other.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Photography Unplugged

I realise that there are many photography purists that read this blog. Even though I'm a "Photoshop guy*," I still love raw, unfiltered photography. I can remember back to my youth, discovering photography with my grandmother - listening to stories about how her father created a darkroom in their basement in Toronto. Admiring the sprit of adventure that was evident in her, and his photographs.

Harald Mante's photographs remind me of those taken by by grandmother and great grandfather. The straight forward approach to photography, with an unmodified - uncropped view of the world brings back memories for me. Like my grandmother, Mante loved slide film.

With Photography Unplugged, Mante's photos - all captured on Kodachrome slide film - show how simple and uncomplicated photography can be beautiful and inspirational.**

The book*** displays some of his best work, recalling the analogue days that are sadly behind us. It also serves as a good-by and thank you to Kodak, who has - sadly - chosen to discontinue the production of Kodacrhome slide film.

*FTC compliance notice: I am actually a typical American male from a mixed ethnic background (yes, the Scots and Irish do mix - but it's kind of loud - you'd have to see it to understand) who loves photography, design, the "forensic" uses of many products, and tossing cabers. References and incriminating pictures available upon request.
**FTC compliance notice: results not typical. As we do not share grandparents or great grandparents, you should not expect to have similar feelings when reading Photography Unplugged by Harald Mante.
***FTC compliance notice: the book was provided to me without cost by the publisher, Rocky Nook. It has since been re-gifted to an entirely worthy photographer (name withheld). I have derived no material gain from the book or the publisher whatsoever.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Expert Witness Preparation and Testimony Training

From LEVA.org - Expert Witness Preparation and Testimony (Nov. 15-17): This 24 hour seminar is designed to teach you what to expect in court, what your role is and how to make the most out of testifying. Having important information to give is not enough. You must also be able to effectively communicate that evidence to the jury, lawyers and judge. Practical in format, this seminar will help you to become an effective witness and a true contributor to the administration of justice. Satisfies LEVA Certified Forensic Video Analyst (CFVA) requirement.

Most agencies will send you to the local DA's testimony prep course. Sitting in mine, I couldn't help but think how much more I could have gotten out of it if it was specific to my discipline. That's what's great about LEVA's offering ... it is specific to our discipline. This helps you get the most in-depth training possible.

If you are planning to go to the LEVA conference, this is a "must attend" module.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Print to PDF? Not in Snow Leopard

I spend a lot of time on-line researching this and that. When I find something that I'll need to cite later, I usually make a PDF of the web page. Up until very recently, I would right-click on the page and select Print Page from the menu.

In the resulting dialog, I'd select Adobe PDF - which would launch the Distiller.

With Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6), things have changed. Distiller no longer works. Adobe says that the change has to do with added security in Snow Leopard.

The new dialog features a PDF button on the bottom of the box.

Click on it, and you'll see a variety of options. Choose the one that suits you best.

According to Adobe, this new way works better than Distiller. But, some folks hadn't heard about the change. Others, didn't know that Distiller was the little bugger that did all of Acrobat's print work behind the scenes. So, when they were searching the web for a solution - it was just out of reach.