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Welcome to the Forensic Multimedia Analysis blog (formerly the Forensic Photoshop blog). With the latest developments in the analysis of m...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Encoding settings for multiple screens using Adobe Media Encoder CS5

From Adobe.com: "Today at Adobe MAX, we announced new encoding profiles for Adobe Media Encoder CS5 (part of the Adobe Creative Suite 5) to help publishers deliver a consistent experience across multiple screens with full adaptive bitrate.

There is no single general encoding setting that fits all business cases, so we have provided 7 settings that will get you started. These settings will cover screen sizes ranging from mobile phones, tablets, desktops and televisions. If you produce your video using Adobe Production Premium CS5 you now have a simple workflow that will make your video look great across many screens.

Once installed, you will have these encoding settings available to you directly in the Adobe Media Encoder CS5 interface.

We divided the 7 encoding profiles into 3 categories and optimized for sreen-size, encoding and bitrate."

Click here to download the new settings. Click here to continue reading the story.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Some details about scaling in Premiere Pro CS5

From Adobe.com: "A lot of people are talking about CUDA and the GPU in the context of Premiere Pro CS5. But the talk is almost always about speed, speed, and more speed. Yeah, using CUDA on the GPU to process a lot of effects does speed things up (a lot!) in many cases, but that’s not the whole story.

Moving a lot of processing to the GPU can also make things better, not just faster.

A good example is scaling. There are lots of different scaling algorithms, and they each have their pros and cons. Some are better for scaling things up, some are better for scaling things down; some are better for sharp graphics, and some are better for gradual changes in color across an image. The real tradeoff, though, is that the high-quality algorithms are also—in general—the slow algorithms.

However, these higher-quality algorithms are only really slow if you are forced to execute them serially, but they are relatively fast when you can run them in parallel. One of the huge advantages of GPU processing is that GPUs are massively parallel, with hundreds of parallel processing units. There are a lot of pixel operations that are very amenable to parallel processing, since you don’t need to know the result of the operation on one pixel to do the same operation on its neighbor in the same image. Scaling is just such an operation. When you move scaling operations to the GPU, you get to take advantage of scaling algorithms that were just plain unfeasible on the CPU.

Click here to continue reading this story.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Video evidence in the news

Here's a couple of interesting cases involving video as evidence:

Video key in nailing Oak Harbor man for assault. Click here for the story.

Mullins v. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Click here for the ruling.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

New and changed features in Adobe Media Encoder CS5

From Adobe.com: "In a recent forum thread, someone said that they hadn’t seen much about what’s new and changed in Adobe Media Encoder (AME) CS5. So, let’s fix that.

64-bit application
Adobe Media Encoder CS5 now comes in a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version. The version that works with Premiere Pro and After Effects is the 64-bit version. (You don’t need to manually choose which one to use. This is taken care of automatically.) A 64-bit application can address more memory, which gives it the ability to work with larger frames and tends to make the application more stable.

export settings that automatically match sequence settings in Premiere Pro
Choose Match Sequence Settings when exporting from Premiere Pro. See “Workflow and overview for exporting”.

Similarly, when you choose a format, AME CS5 will in many cases automatically select the most appropriate encoding preset for that format based on characteristics of the source item. See “Encoding presets”.

much better controls for cropping and trimming before encoding
You can crop and trim the portion of the item to be encoded much more easily. One such improvement is the ability to select the work area (as defined in Premiere Pro or After Effects) as the area to be encoded and exported. See “Crop and trim source before encoding”.

Click here to continue reading the story.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DCCTV Flipbook now available as a PDF

The Best Practices for the Retrieval of Video Evidence from Digital CCTV Systems is now available in electronic form and can be found by clicking here.

Hard copies may still be purchased from TSWG.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DI Magazine for iPad on the iTunes App Store

DI magazine is the new interactive publication for all Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom users. Built from the ground up specifically for the iPad, the magazine provides essential step-by-step techniques, not-to-be-missed insights into the inner workings of your editing software and inspirational folios and is designed for image makers of all skill levels and interests. The publication is brought to you by renowned photography specialist Philip Andrews and Dark Glass Media in association with Better Photoshop Techniques print magazine. This iPad only magazine combines the multi-touch abilities of the device with internationally respected photographic content in a new compelling format that will fast track the way that you learn about your favorite imaging programs. And for a limited time, your first issue is free.

Click here to learn more.


Monday, October 18, 2010

House Bill Requires Federal Law Enforcement to Record Interrogations

From Government Video.com: "A House bill requiring federal police agencies to record all suspect interrogations or forfeit the statements a suspect said during all questioning, will protect both law enforcement officials and suspects, says a Capitol Hill staffer who works for the House member who introduced the bill.

Rep. Henry Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced the proposed “Effective Law Enforcement Through Transparent Interrogations Act” (HR 6245) in the House on Sept. 29, and the bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee. However, action on the bill by the committee is not expected until the Congress reconvenes in a “lame duck” session after the November elections, according to Andy Phelan, who works for Johnson.

The bill says “a statement by an individual during a custodial interrogation that is not electronically recorded, and all statements made thereafter by such individual during such interrogation, including statements that are electronically recorded, are inadmissible against such individual in a prosecution for a federal felony.” Under that provision, all questioning of a suspect accused of a federal crime would have to be recorded, or none of the information acquired from a suspect could be used to prosecute the suspect, except in circumstances outlined in the bill.

That exception is “if the court determines an imminent threat of bodily injury or other exigent circumstance made the electronic recording of a custodial interrogation impracticable.”

Other provisions of the bill require the attorney general to provide a copy of the recording to the individual who was subject to the interrogation. In addition, the attorney general would be responsible for maintaining the recording for “all appeals, post-conviction, habeas corpus proceedings, and all other orders and judgments” until the suspect has exhausted all judicial avenues; or by “the deadline by which such individual must file such proceedings,” or once the deadline has expired; or until “the statute of limitations” of the federal felony, or any related offenses, for which an individual was subjected to an interrogation has expired.

The law enforcement community, suspects who are being questioned, and the general public, will all benefit from HR 6245, said Phelan. By recording interrogations, the law enforcement community is protected from false claims of abuse or coercion, he said, adding electronic recordings will also help the law enforcement for the recordings may contain admissions that will strengthen the prosecution’s case. Recordings can be reviewed later to observe the suspect’s responses and to detect inconsistencies, and they can be useful in training officers how to properly conduct interrogations.

In addition, suspects who might actually be innocent will benefit from the bill because the recording of custodial interrogations might help prevent wrongful convictions stemming from false confessions, Phelan said. Such a recording might provide the courts with information necessary to accurately assess whether a defendant’s statement is reliable and voluntary, he said. Fewer wrongful convictions stemming from false confessions will help increase public confidence in the judicial system, and electronic recording could also contain exculpatory statements that are favorable to the defense, he added.

Most importantly, recording helps develop the strongest evidence possible to convict the guilty and ultimately protect the public, Phelan said. Ensuring that the criminal justice system convicts the right person for a crime will keep the public safe, and the public does not benefit when an innocent person is convicted, and the guilty culprit remains on the streets to commit more crimes."


If your agency is looking at digital recording systems for your interview / interrogation suites and you need help sorting out fact from fiction, feel free to contact me. I've looked at the different recorders out there and have found what works and what doesn't.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Stack Modes for Noise Reduction

Not 24 hours have gone by and I've received an e-mail from Texas asking about the Stack Mode process that we demonstrated in Dallas. So ... here it is.

Starting with a series of very noisy security camera images such as the one shown above, open Bridge CS5 and select all of the images to be used in this process.

Then, from Bridge, select Tools>Photoshop>Load Files into Photoshop Layers.

This command will take the selected files into Photoshop CS5 and put them into a single document as layers.

Next, select all of the layers and choose Convert to Smart Object from the Layers flyout menu.

Notice that the layers are gone, replaced by the single Smart Object icon.

All that's left to do is to head over to the Layers menu and select Layers>Smart Objects>Stack Mode>Mean.

You'll be left with an image that looks much better that the original.

In this case, I had to blur out the license plate to protect the innocent - it was that clear.

Here's the before and after. Notice the remarkable difference.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Acrobat X tutorials

We're at the Adobe LE road show today in Dallas, Tx. This time next week, we'll be in Miami, Fl. Whilst were busy at the front of the room, feel free to check out these Acrobat X tutorials.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The what & why behind the Acrobat X UI changes

AcrobatUsers.com talked with Chris French, a senior product manager for Acrobat at Adobe Systems, about the changes -- and the thinking behind the decisions -- in the simplified and streamlined user interface (UI) of Acrobat X.

Click here to read the interview.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Acrobat X: How to work with the new interface

From Acrobat Users' Donna Baker: "Were you surprised the first time you opened Acrobat X (that's Acrobat Ten, not Acrobat X)? Did you feel a bit disoriented? I know I definitely did. The toolbars are nearly empty, there's lots of missing menus, and what's with the labels at the right? In this article, I'll give you a quick overview of what's where, and how to work with the new interface.

Adobe Acrobat has been around for many years. Each new version brought new tools, features and capabilities, requiring more toolbars and menu commands, like those in Acrobat 9 ..."

Click here to continue reading.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Public Safety and Law Enforcement Solutions Seminars

Today, public safety entities — from first responders to law enforcement personnel — are facing a new set of external and internal technology-based challenges. Externally, criminals are using smarter technologies to commit crimes, and natural disasters and fires are still a very real threat, while internally the technologies and applications for dealing with these issues lag behind. Shrinking budgets compound these challenges.

To meet these challenges, public safety agencies need to start by leveraging existing tools, employing the latest relevant technology, and using external resources to help them think outside the box to ensure public safety and justice.

Join me and the Adobe team for a complimentary seminar dedicated to Adobe's Public Safety and Law Enforcement Solutions, designed to help your agency meet the unique challenges you face today. I'll be joining the Adobe team at their Dallas and Miami tour stops. The Dallas stop is this Thursday, October 14, and the Miami stop is the following Thursday, October 21.

Click here to register.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shooting and editing HD video from DSLR cameras with Premiere Pro CS5

From Adobe.com: "Jason Levine has a series of video tutorials on Adobe TV that show how to shoot and edit HD video from DSLR cameras using Premiere Pro CS5 and other applications in Creative Suite 5 Production Premium. These videos are aimed at photographers and other folks who are somewhat new to video editing, so this series serves as a pretty good overview of Premiere Pro CS5 in general.

These videos are collected on this page, which will accumulate more videos as Jason and others create new videos in this series.

(You can find even more information about DSLR/HDSLR video workflows using Premiere Pro CS5 using this Premiere Pro Community Help search.)

Jason’s videos are a whirlwind tour, covering a lot of material very quickly. I figured that some viewers might need links to additional information to fully understand everything that Jason was trying to communicate.

Click here to continue reading this story.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Media Forensics for the disadvantaged?

Everyone is, by now, used to hearing the Miranda warning read to suspects. ... you have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, one will be appointed for you ... But what about all the other bells and whistles? If a suspect (who is innocent until proven guilty in the US) can't afford an attorney, how can he/she afford to run DNA, finger prints, and so forth? What if there is video evidence? How can the suspect afford to retain a video forensics expert?

When arrested, the Detectives dump the suspect's cell phone, take prints, maybe a DNA swab, grab video from the area surrounding the crime scene, and so forth. The Detective relies on a team of forensic specialists that can number in the dozens. If the suspect can't afford an attorney, what kind of forensic team does the suspect have?

I think that questions such as these are part of what's driving the NAS report's comments about separating the forensic labs from police agencies. While I don't necessarily support this move, I think that there is a happy medium. There are court qualified experts in private practice - they're just pricey. How do we get the price of competent forensic services down to where they are affordable to someone who can't afford an attorney?

A few of us in the field have begun exploring this issue. It seems to us that there is a need for services. One of the avenues that we've begun exploring is a charitable foundation where media forensics professionals in private practice could register as service providers in their respective geographical areas - and match these folks with donors and other support. In this way, everyone wins. Public Defenders have access to a media forensic talent pool, media forensics professionals have access to case work, and donors find a charity and a cause worthy of their support.

The ideas are just in their infancy. Stay tuned for more info.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Presenting: Adobe Presenter

I received an e-mail about Adobe Presenter - what is it, how can I get it, and what can I really do with it? Is it worth the added expense of upgrading to Acrobat 9 Pro Extended?

Well, there's a lot to the question. In lieu of a direct answer, I'll turn you over to the good folks at AcrobatUser.com. Here's their tutorial on Adobe Presenter.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Camera Raw Presets - product review

Here's a fun one for you.

I've recently spent a lot of time on the other side of cases from wedding photographers / videographers who decided to add forensic image and video analysis to their portfolio of services. While they tend to not do so well on the legal and technical aspects of the forensic side of our work, somehow they think that their knowledge of imaging and video will carry them through. It rarely works out OK for them and their clients.

With that in mind, and as they seem to be fishing in our pool, I thought it was about time some of us started fishing in theirs. Here's the set up ... we are all good with cameras and Photoshop, on the technical side. We can choose lenses and lights, and we can work the forensic workflow with the software. What tends to be missing for forensic folks is the artistic eye. Here's where the product review starts ...

Gavin Phillips has canned that artistic flavour into a ton of presets that can be loaded into Adobe Camera Raw (CS3/CS4/CS5 - MAC/PC). Now we can shoot weddings, birthdays, glamour shots, and the like ... in our spare time ... and save a ton vs. what a professional photographer would charge. (remember, they're fishing in our pool, it's time we fished in theirs)

Once loaded in the appropriate folder, the Presets can be applied from Bridge or ACR. Once applied, they can be tweaked in infinite ways in ACR.

Right-click on the image in Bridge, and scroll down to Develop Settings. 
You'll see the Presets fly out. You can make a quick choice here.

You can also choose a Preset from the Presets menu in ACR.

You can choose Apply Preset from the fly-out menu in the Presets panel 
to find your new Presets.

I think that you'll find these Presets to be a fun diversion. It'll also help you learn how ACR can be used to maximum effect. (the cost includes a complimentary set for Lightroom, but you didn't hear that from me) If you factor in the cost savings vs. having to hire a photographer for your next big event, these bad boys will pay for themselves on the first go.

Click here to find out more.