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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mouse scroll wheel behaviour in Premiere Pro

This just in from Adobe's Kevin Monahan: "The scroll wheel on the mouse can be useful to speeding up workflow in Premiere Pro, that is, if you know how to use it. This is especially true if you are switching to Premiere Pro from another application. For example, Final Cut Pro editors are used to using the scroll wheel to move the timeline vertically to see more tracks. In Premiere Pro, the scroll wheel moves the timeline horizontally. This may seem disorienting at first, but you should know that you can use the mouse to scroll vertically. To do this, hover the pointer over the scroll bars in the timeline, then use the scroll wheel on the mouse to move the timeline vertically.

The scroll wheel has an additional function, and that is zooming in and out of the timeline. Sure you can type the = and – keys to zoom into and out of the timeline, but if you hold down ALT (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and scroll with your mouse you can zoom in and out that way. Scrolling down with the modifier key enabled zooms out of the timeline while scrolling up zooms in.

Just a couple of tips for your scroll wheel that should save you time as you manipulate the timeline in Premiere Pro."


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Free sample chapters and videos from An Editor’s Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro

From Adobe" Todd Kopriva: "Peachpit Press recently released An Editor’s Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro, by Robbie Carman, Jeff Greenberg, and Richard Harrington.

This book is an excellent resource for experienced editors to learn Adobe Premiere Pro. It begins from an assumption that you already know about video editing in general and only need to learn the details of the features and workflows specific to Adobe Premiere Pro and its companion applications.

You don’t need to take my word for it, though. The fine folks at Peachpit Press have made four chapters available as free samples: three as PDF documents and one as an HTML document ..."

Click here to read the whole article and access the sample material. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Monday, August 29, 2011

LEVA Announces Activation of Forensic Video Analysis Response Team

In support of LEVA member agency the Vancouver Police Department and the Integrated Riot Investigation Team (IRIT), LEVA announces the activation of the Forensic Video Analysis Response Team.

IRIT investigators are innundated with over 1600 hours of video depicting criminal acts that took place immediately following this summer's Stanely Cup hockey finals, including arson, looting, and serious assaults.

Between September 26th and October 9th over 40 LEVA Forensic Video Analysts will converge on the National Digital Multimedia Evidence Processing Lab at the University of Indianapolis to undertake the mass processing of DME.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Picture Package is dead? Long live Picture Package.

Many miss the old Picture Package feature from Photoshop CS3 and earlier. But did you know there are several ways to create packages in current Adobe apps?

Photoshop legend Michael Salinero provides several options, including a clever technique that uses Smart Objects to create flexible package layouts.

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Need every nth frame of a video?

One of the questions that came up in yesterday's class was how to get every nth frame of a video. Why would you want to do that? Multiplexed video. If you only want one camera view and that view shows up in the video stream on a regular interval, you should be able to say to your software ... "give me every nth frame."

So, how do you do it? It turns out that Amped Five does it really well.

Once you load the range selector, just input the interval.

It's really that easy.

This handy feature is one of the reasons that I am liking Amped Five more and more.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Expert’s Exclusion Upheld by 10th Circuit

From the BullsEye blog: "In what proved to be a dramatic turn of events for the plaintiff in a products liability suit against pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this month that a trial judge’s ruling to allow expert testimony is not final and may be reversed by a second trial judge who takes over the case.

The 10th Circuit refused to accept the plaintiff’s argument that the “law of the case” legal doctrine should preclude the second trial judge from revisiting the first judge’s ruling. The court said it would not apply the doctrine to rulings revisited prior to entry of final judgment, reasoning that judges generally remain free to reconsider their earlier interlocutory orders. This holds true even when a case is reassigned from one judge to another, the circuit panel said.

The underlying lawsuit arose out of truly tragic circumstances. Plaintiff Mark Rimbert alleged that Eli Lilly’s anti-depression medication Prozac caused his father to kill his wife and himself. Rimbert’s father committed the murder-suicide shortly after he was diagnosed with moderate depression and started taking the drug.

After the parties concluded discovery, Eli Lilly filed motions for summary judgment on various grounds and a motion to exclude the testimony of Rimbert’s expert witness on causation under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). After conducting a Daubert hearing, the judge denied the motion to exclude the expert.

Later, the judge made a disclosure “of a personal nature” to the parties in the case. Although he did not believe the circumstances required him to recuse himself, he offered to have the case reassigned if any party was uncomfortable with his continued participation. Eli Lilly took him up on that offer and the case was reassigned to a new judge.

As soon as the new judge took over the case, Eli Lilly renewed its previous motions. Relying on the transcript of the first judge’s Daubert hearing and the evidence presented there, the second judge reversed the first judge’s ruling and granted Eli Lilly’s motion to exclude the testimony of Rimbert’s causation expert. He also refused to give Rimbert more time to find a new expert. Leaving Rimbert with no evidence of causation, the second judge granted summary judgment in favor of Eli Lilly.

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comments Sought on Police Vehicle Camera Standards

The U.S. government is seeking comment on the latest version of its proposed standards for police vehicle audio and video equipment.

On Aug. 22, 2011, the Department of Justice (DoJ) posted a Federal Register notice, “Vehicular Digital Multimedia Evidence Recording System (VDMERS) Standard, Certification Program Requirements, and Selection and Application Guide,” announcing that the DoJ, the Office of Justice Programs, and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) have made available to the general public three draft documents related to VDMERS used by law enforcement agencies:

Draft VDMERS Standard for Law Enforcement
Draft Law Enforcement VDMERS Certification Program Requirements
Draft Law Enforcement VDMERS Selection and Application Guide

The notice says, “The opportunity to provide comments on these documents is open to industry technical representatives, law enforcement agencies and organizations, research, development and scientific communities, and all other stakeholders and interested parties.” The deadline for comments is Sept. 21, 2011.


Friday, August 19, 2011

DSI-Vegas next week

I'm getting things ready to head to Las Vegas and the DSI-Vegas conference next week. For a refreshing change, I'm presenting a demo and workshop on Premiere Pro CS5.5. I'm sure that I'll sneak another product or two into the mix.

I'm going to break from the usual teaching routine and focus on specific cases and video files to demonstrate the power of the program. From weird sized video to hiding faces, we'll really kick the tyres next week.

See you there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CCTV User Group looks at UK riots

"... the Met Police alone, have identified 3,296 criminal incidents related to the riots and have already made over 1,883 arrests and charged over 1,074 people, principally based on recordings from the Public Area CCTV cameras, but also their own 'body worn' cameras and owners systems, a remarkable achievement!

This is echoed the results from Birmingham (by the 13th 509 arrested and 141 charged), Manchester(256 arrested, 166 charged), Merseyside (by the 15th 216 arrested and 86 charged), Nottingham and other Town and Cities similarly affected. A fantastic result that couldn't have been achieved without the Local Authority Public Area CCTV systems, and the support of all the 'back office staff' within the Police Forces!

Now, hopefully the additional resources, proposed by the Police, have quietened things down, but be under no dis-illusion the work of the Police and Local Authorities behind the scenes is still at fever pitch ..."

Click here to read the whole article.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easing the transition to Adobe Premiere Pro

Last week, Al Mooney presented a seminar on easing the transition to Adobe Premiere Pro from another NLE, such as Final Cut Pro.

Here’s the recording.

(Note: If the Adobe Connect session loses audio/video synch, just click the playhead in Adobe Connect, and it will re-synchronize.)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why doesn't Photoshop support my camera?

From Adobe's Jeff Tranberry: "I just got a new camera and Photoshop won't recognize my files.

First, make sure you have the latest updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. (The process to update Lightroom is similar. Launch Lightroom and choose Help>Check for Updates…) It’s always a good idea to have the latest updates installed.

Second, if updating to the latest version doesn’t give you joy and let you open your camera raw files, verify your camera make and model is on the list of supported cameras.

Third, if your camera isn’t on the list of supported cameras check on Adobe Labs for a release candidates of the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in or Adobe Lightroom. A release candidate is a very close to done version of the plug-in that Adobe shares with the community prior to full release for additional testing.

Finally, if your camera came out within the past 90 days, be patient, as you may need to wait for the new camera support. Adobe goes through a rigorous process of adding support for and testing of each new camera raw format. Adobe generally releases updates of the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in and Lightroom to provide new camera support about once a quarter, or about every 90 days. Feel free to drop us request or vote for specific camera support on our Feedback Site."


Monday, August 15, 2011

Amateur Photographers Beware

This just in from the Long Beach (Ca) Post: "Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures "with no apparent esthetic value" is within Long Beach Police Department policy.

McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.

"If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery," says McDonnell, "it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual." McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer's subject has "apparent esthetic value," officers make such judgments "based on their overall training and experience" and will generally approach photographers not engaging in "regular tourist behavior."

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD's "policy … to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism."

Among the non-criminal behaviors "which shall be reported on a SAR" are the usage of binoculars and cameras (presumably when observing a building, although this is not specified), asking about an establishment's hours of operation, taking pictures or video footage "with no apparent esthetic value," and taking notes ..."

Makes me think ... no esthetic value? One of my favourite photographers is Henk van Rensbergen of Abandoned Places fame. One man's disused factory is another's photo-op.

Click here to read the whole article.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Exporting from Lightroom and running Photoshop Droplets / Actions

This just in from Adobe's Julieanne Kost: "To Export files from Lightroom and automatically launch Photoshop in order to run Droplets (batch actions), place the droplet in the Export Actions folder:

• Mac (user)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Export Actions

• Win (user)/Application Data/Adobe/Lightroom/Export Actions

Then, in the Export dialog box under the Post Processing section, choose Post Processing > After Export > (name of droplet). For more information on using Photoshop Actions with Lightroom click here …"

Yes, I know that I've spoken and written against the use of LR for law enforcement. I've also written about the fact that I love LR for my personal and professional, non law enforcement use. :) Enjoy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Searching for a Safe Expert

With the downturn in the economy, there are a few people finding their way into the expert pool with less than stellar qualifications. Some of these people have no education and little experience in their chosen field - and know little about how to present themselves and their evidence in court. Here's a cautionary tale from the BullsEye Blog: "Experts, unfortunately, are not always honest about their credentials, as numerous examples have recently proven.

A dramatic example in 2007 occurred when a New Orleans federal judge threw out a jury verdict in favor of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. after a cardiologist who testified for the defense in a Vioxx trial was found to have misrepresented his credentials.

In 2009, the expert witness for a suspended NASCAR driver was found to not have the medical degrees or certifications he claimed.

A year later, a Northampton County grand jury found fire investigator Edmund G. Knight III guilty of lying about his credentials. At the time, District Attorney John Morganelli said that Knight’s case was important because of the “integrity of our judicial system, particularly expert witnesses.”

As these cases prove, knowing how to verify the background of an expert – whether yours or your opponent’s – could prove critical to your case. What can you do to confirm the credentials of experts?

The internet has, in recent years, hosted a variety of resources and tools that contain potentially valuable information but that many attorneys overlook in researching an expert’s background. Of course, these tools are neither foolproof nor exhaustive.

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Plug-in security fix for Photoshop CS5

As analysts, we get images from all sorts of sources. Lately, I've been processing a lot of images that were stored in cell phones. With this in mind, Adobe has announced the latest security update to Photoshop CS5: "Maliciously coded GIF files could cause Photoshop to crash, so the team has posted an update. If you open GIFs in Photoshop, please download the update for Mac, Win64, and/or Win32. They recommend making certain that you’re running the most recent version of Photoshop. To check/update, choose Help->Updates inside Photoshop CS5 and apply all of the updates listed under Adobe Photoshop CS5."

Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Expert's Gut Feeling Good Enough?

From the BullsEye Blog: "Although expert opinions must be based in fact, they are still individualized opinions and are occasionally, as the New Jersey Appellate Court stated on July 5, based on an expert’s “gut feeling”.

In a construction claim case involving real estate valuation, expert witness J. Anthony Dowling admitted to basing his opinion on a “feeling of costs”. The testimony in Nevins v. Toll Brothers, Inc. reveals that approximately 90 percent of Dowling’s cost estimations were “gut feelings” without any data tying them to the plaintiff’s specific location or project. You can read a portion of the exchange between defense counsel and Dowling in this blog post on the decision.

Because Dowling is a professional construction cost estimator and has sufficient credentials to serve as an expert witness, the appeals court found his opinion to be valid testimony. The other factor influencing the decision was the precedent of similar testimony admitted in a similar case.

Despite this ruling, other cases suggest there is a trend toward requiring a more factual basis for expert testimony. Numerous cases have addressed the issue of what is, and is not, admissible testimony according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Daubert and other standards. The common theme is a demand for more detail and more specific analysis related to the facts of the case.

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Monday, August 8, 2011

In an Expert, Passion Equals Credibility

Helpful advice from IMS Expert Services: "Credibility is a key attribute in an expert witness, every trial lawyer would agree. But how do you gauge a potential expert's credibility? What attributes provide the best predictors of how the expert will measure up in the eyes of a jury?

For Kirkland & Ellis partner Andrew R. McGaan, a lawyer who has tried and won jury and non-jury cases throughout the United States, experience has taught him to look for something other than what he was taught as a young lawyer.

Conventional wisdom teaches lawyers to look for well-credentialed experts with degrees from prestigious schools, honors in their field and experience testifying. That wisdom carries kernels of truth, the Chicago-based McGaan says, but credentials are not at the top of his list.

"Credibility comes first and foremost from having an expert with direct experience in exactly the same problem as you are dealing with in the courtroom – experience in the real world, not as a testifying expert," he explains.

But hands-on experience is only half the equation. The other trait McGaan looks for in an expert is passion about his or her work. "If they have an innate passion for what they do, that comes through in their ability to explain the field to everyday people on the jury who have no background in it and probably don't care about it."

An expert McGaan found with the help of IMS ExpertServices provides a case in point, he says. He was defending a pipe manufacturer in a products liability claim brought by an oil refinery after a large fire forced it to shut down. His defense called for close scrutiny of how the refinery maintained its pipes, responded to the fire and rebuilt in its aftermath.

The expert he sought would have to be thoroughly familiar with the design, maintenance, and construction of an oil refinery. IMS helped him find someone with precisely that experience. He was a petroleum engineer who had spent years running and maintaining refineries and budgeting and overseeing their rebuilding after fires. He had even been president of an oil company that owned a refinery.

There was one problem. He had never testified in court. That worried McGaan, but the veteran trial lawyer weighed the expert's lack of testimonial experience against his track record and passion for his work and made the decision to retain him. He was glad he did.

"While telling the story, whether on direct or cross-exam, it was obvious to everyone that he loved what he did – that he had a natural interest and passion for worrying about refinery problems and repairs," McGaan said.

With an untested expert, his ability to stand up to cross-examination is McGaan's biggest worry, he says. "Experts can get eaten alive on cross, if they don't understand what an artificial dialogue it is."

But in the case of the oil-refinery expert, he proved to be particularly effective when being cross-examined, McGaan recalled. "Every time he was asked any question along the lines of, 'How do you know that?' his answer was, 'Because I've done exactly that.' Even though he was on the witness stand, his physical demeanor remained that of a petroleum engineer who felt most comfortable standing around pipes."

In fact, too much testimonial experience can sometimes be a detriment during cross-examination, McGaan believes, because what comes through to the jury is the expert's courtroom experience, not his passion for the topic.

McGaan draws an analogy to hiring a plumber for your home. "When a plumber comes to your home for the first time, you can quickly tell if he's done this work before and if he has a passion for getting it right."

Jurors look for similar qualities in a trial witness. "The jurors know that the spotlight is on them," McGaan explains. "They look at every witness with the same question, 'Are you someone who is going to help me sort through this problem or not?'"

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Hiring Experts You Don't Plan to Use

Here's a cautionary tale for expert witnesses from IMS Expert Services: "Do lawyers ever retain experts just to lock them out from being hired by the other side? If so, is the tactic fair play in the hardball game of litigation? Or are lawyers who would do this, as one court suggested, short on scruples?

Ask either lawyers or experts whether they see this done and their answers range from "often" to "never." Ask them whether they approve of the practice and their answers vary just as widely. But ask lawyers whether they do it themselves and no one's hand goes up.

"Lawyers do occasionally contact or 'retain' experts solely to disqualify them from working for the other side," says Erik Anderson, senior attorney in the corporate legal department of Safeco Insurance Company of America. He should know: he faced this situation in a case not long ago in which one party sought to disqualify the other's expert.

Another lawyer who has seen it done is David W. White, a trial attorney in Boston who is also president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. Although he would never do it himself, he once found himself the victim of this tactic.

"It was an antiques case, where fraud was alleged," White says. "There wasn’t an available independent expert on the east coast of the U.S. because the plaintiff had consulted them all."

This tactic of "locking out" experts occurs most commonly in either of two scenarios, lawyers and experts agree. Either the field is highly specialized and there is a limited pool of qualified experts or the expert is so uniquely distinguished that he or she is highly sought after.

Consider Werner Engelmaier, for example. He is one of only a handful of experts who specialize in the design, manufacturing and reliability of electronic packaging. When he first became an expert witness, colleagues warned him of the practice. And then something similar happened to him.

"The law firm contacted me and made disclosures to me about the case before ever retaining me," he says. "They never did retain me, but they had disclosed so much that I had to recuse myself from working with anyone else in the case."

Ever since, Engelmaier has structured his retainer agreement in a manner designed to insulate himself from similar taints. He requires a steep retainer, $10,000, and blocks potential clients from disclosing anything about the case to him until the retainer is paid.

If the client retains him, then once his billing exceeds $10,000, he returns the retainer. Of course, if the client does not retain him, he refunds the retainer. "This serves to discourage preemptive disclosures that would disqualify me from the case," he says.

Click here to read the whole article.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Denver crime lab wins prestigious seal of approval

"The closest the real world comes to the fictitious sleuths of television's "CSI" is now in Denver.

Every unit of the Denver Police Department's crime lab has now won seals of approval based on the most rigorous international standards — one of just a handful of labs in the nation to achieve the standard across all the disciplines it utilizes.

Lab director Greggory LaBerge has even grander plans for his department, which he hopes can become a regional forensics hub after a move into a new $39 million building next summer.

LaBerge touts the economic benefits of low crime rates and the police resources saved by reliable forensics work. But more important, he said, is peace of mind for crime victims.

"It's all about trust. The first thing you want to know is if people are going to catch the person who did this to me," LaBerge said. Evidence "could get thrown out of court if you don't meet certain standards. . . . We are meeting and surpassing those standards."

The 42 employees and 20 volunteers at the Police Department's lab pitch in on up to 15,000 investigations a year. Nearly every day, one of them presents their findings in criminal court cases, LaBerge said.

The International Organization of Standards in Switzerland sets guidelines for any type of profession that requires scientific precision, among them forensics work in police labs.

Denver's chemistry, DNA, fingerprinting, trace evidence and ballistics units met those ISO standards in 2005. In late July, the lab's final two units — those that handle crime scenes and video evidence — met those standards too.

Denver's is the second crime lab in the country to win approval of its forensic imaging unit, which scrubs audio, video and photos for clues. They produce the Crime Stopper images that generate tips from the public and isolate license plate numbers from grainy surveillance video, among other jobs.

Continue reading this story by clicking here.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scripting an Expert Witness?

Here's a cautionary tale for Expert Witnesses from IMS Expert Services: "How do you fit a square expert witness into a round case? You don't, of course, but many lawyers make the mistake of trying. Rather than tailor their theory of the case to fit the expert's opinion, they try to shape the expert's opinion to fit their theory.

It is a mismatch that can weaken a case and undermine an expert, says veteran trial lawyer Albert L. Jacobs Jr., National Chair – Intellectual Property with Greenberg Traurig in New York.

"I want to build the case based on the expert's view of the issues," explains Jacobs, a patent lawyer for more than 30 years. "I have my own ideas about the case, but I'm not hiring an expert to read from a script."

Far too often, Jacobs says, it is obvious to him that the opposing party has hired its expert for the specific purpose of propounding a point of view. But when an expert is testifying from a script, it is much easier for the other side to trip him up.

For this reason, Jacobs says, he advocates bringing the expert on board at the earliest possible opportunity.

"If I'm the plaintiff, I want the expert on board before we file suit. I want to work together with the expert and formulate the strongest possible position."

The same holds true when he represents the defendant. "I want the expert on board as quickly as I can. I want to discuss with the expert his or her views on infringement or noninfringement and validity or invalidity."

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Choosing the right settings in Premiere Pro CS5.5

One reader asks about choosing settings when setting up Premiere Pro. The reader has a clip with unknown properties. In older, consumer versions of Sony Vegas, you used to be able to tell the program to create a project based on the properties of a clip, the reader said. She wants to be able to do that in Premiere Pro.

... well .... you can.

Here's how. In Premiere Pro CS5.5, you can create a new sequence from a selected clip by one of the following methods:

Drag and drop a clip onto the New Item button.
Choose File>New>Sequence from Clip.
It's actually pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.