Video Enhancement Preliminary AnalysisClient attorneys submit video recordings to us for preliminary analysis. During this phase, we spend one hour of lab time to review the statistics of the video recording. We examine the compression, pixels, format and aspect ratio to name a few. During the preliminary analysis, we communicate to our client whether or not forensic video enhancement is possible. Nobody should pay high forensic laboratory rates until a forensic expert believes a video recording can be enhanced. The main reason we are called many times every day here at Primeau Forensics for video enhancement is that our clients want to better see the events as they occurred. This is mostly because they want the truth about an event, crime, or altercation.
Purpose and Goals for Video EnhancementOne of the goals of forensic video enhancement, in some cases, is to be able to see person’s faces better than they are when viewing the video without video enhancement. In this case, a comparative analysis is performed after video enhancement in an attempt to determine the identity of a person in a video recording. Other reasons for forensic video enhancement is to enlarge and clarify a video in order to identify, for instance, the license plate on a car. This is more difficult, especially if the car is in motion and the camera is not near the license plate. When the car is not moving and the license plate is in close proximity to the camera, a video forensic expert can use frame averaging to combine the best pixel quality for successful video enhancement.
Audio Enhancement for Video RecordingsAudio portions of video recordings can also be enhanced to help an investigation. On occasion, audio portions of video recordings fail or are not clear. In the laboratory, we can remove the audio portion of a video recording and forensically enhance the audio to better hear the events as they originally occurred. With forensic video enhancement, we can only enhance what is possible to enhance. Hollywood has distorted the public perception of what can be enhanced forensically and what is impossible to forensically enhance. In some cases, the video is of too poor quality for forensic video enhancement. Some reasons for low video quality include; the video recording was not exported properly and the camera lens is dirty (keep your outdoor cameras clean). Frame rate is set low in the digital video recorder will also lower the potential for successful video enhancement. If the video recording size (aspect ratio) is small, we have a lower chance for successful video enhancement. We can not zoom and clarify the objects of interest. These objects become blurry and distorted. Even while using the best forensic video enhancement tools and software programs available, a successful enhancement isn’t always possible.
We Ask Questions About Your Video RecordingWhen we initially speak to a client-attorney, government agency, or private individual, we ask a lot of questions about the video recording. Is the video recording still stored on the system that created it? This is always the best practice when a video recording has captured a crime. That way, a video forensic expert can be brought in to examine the recording system and video quality to make sure we have the highest quality of video recording for video enhancement. We have learned to ask a lot of questions before our clients spend any money that may be wasted. We always make sure we have the best quality export from the system or device that created the video recording when performing forensic video enhancement. At Primeau Forensics, we have a team of trained forensic experts, forensic technicians, and investigators that work on a daily bases with all kinds of video recordings.
How to Enhance a Video RecordingThis section is designed to better help you understand the forensic video enhancement process. One tip that we can present to you, as previously mentioned, is to make sure you always have the highest possible quality export from the equipment that created the video recording. Types of equipment that create video include a CCTV surveillance system, mobile video surveillance device, police dash camera, police body camera, and smartphone to name a few. Another tip is to keep the video recording stored on the device that created the video recording. There are methods for recovering video recordings for forensic video enhancement. A more desirable method is exporting the highest quality video recording. Another is to play the video recording while simultaneously recording the video onto another device. Here is another tip, do not use your smartphone to record the playback screen of a video surveillance system and expect a successful video enhancement. Police departments often send us video recordings created on a surveillance system that were not exported through the equipment that created it but rather recorded out of the equipment onto another device. Once the device plays the recording while another device simultaneously recordings the playback signal. An output like ‘VGA’ is used which records the same quality that can be viewed on the systems video monitor. This is much better than recording the screen with your smartphone. Some of the time this is the only way to get a video recording exported from the system that created it.
There are several companies that manufacture turnkey evidence retrieval systems.In some cases, a simultaneous video recording is better than what the system that created the recording is capable of exporting. When in doubt, it is best to perform both processes and send us both versions. Screen capture or VGA as well as an export from the system. To further explain, an export is a process that can be verified in the operator’s manual of the system. Call the manufacturer of the surveillance system tech department if you need help. Do not wait too long and risk the important video recording to be erased or overwritten. Put the export on a thumb drive and make back up copies. Do not change the file format or any other settings when making copies. If you have any questions about video enhancement, forensic video enhancement, or forensic video recovery, call our experts at 800.647.4281.
What is CCTV Enhancement?CCTV Enhancement is done using non-destructive techniques to preserve the video evidence integrity and pixel quality. Some of the most requested forensic video enhancement are license plates. Clarifying or enhancing the events as they occurred assists the trier of fact to make determinations about the video events. As video forensic experts, we are asked to enhance recordings used as video evidence to clarify the events as they occurred. Video recordings used as evidence can be enhanced regardless if they were recorded during the day or at night. The success of the CCTV Enhancement is directly proportionate to the quality of the video recording. We can perform a preliminary analysis to make sure we are confident in meeting our client’s expectations. Often times, we are also asked to provide forensic image enhancement for identification purposes. We use various software programs and CCTV enhancement tools to help us enhance or clarify the desired video images. We create customized filtering to sharpen the video image and remove video noise for identification and enhancement of the images in the CCTV surveillance video.
Steps to Enhance Video QualityA variety of CCTV enhancement techniques are applied in different arrangements on CCTV surveillance video recordings, smartphone video recordings, law enforcement dash camera recordings, as well as other types of recordings used as video evidence. The most important ingredient to this scientific process is to maintain the highest quality of the video recording and establish a chain of custody. This yields the highest success possible throughout the investigation. If the analog video or digital video file has undergone additional compression, this video evidence will be limited to the enhancement possibilities.
- Scaling/Pixel Interpolation: Re-size, or scale an image or video to a larger resolution to further identify suspects.
- Sharpening: Enhances the edge contrast of an image or video.
- Warp Stabilization: This is most common today with smartphone video evidence. Reduces the amount of movement from the user that created the video evidence.
- Shadow and Highlight Adjustments (Exposure): Reveals subtle detail in the shadow and/or highlight areas of your images.
- Frame Averaging: Increase the quality of the image by combining data from surrounding frames as well as a better signal to noise ratio (SNR) in your images or videos.
- Speed Reduction: Decrease the original playback of video evidence to view the events as they occurred in more detail.
CCTV Enhancement TipsFirst, take the necessary steps to preserve your original CCTV recording. You may have various export options for extracting the CCTV video from your system that you are not aware of. By preserving the original evidence, the opportunity for questioning the integrity of the CCTV video diminishes. This is especially true if the video recording is extracted from the original system. You can also consult a video forensic expert about the best methods and file format exporting options that your CCTV system is capable of. Second, if a crime has been captured on a CCTV video system, you will want to export a copy for the local police. Most consumer-based CCTV camera video systems have easy to follow instructions for exporting AVI files (courtroom ready format) directly to mobile storage. Most consumer-based CCTV camera systems require a flash drive storage medium to export to. These drives are easily available at any office supply store like Office Max or Staples. The AVI formatted video is also easily viewable by a video forensic expert or investigator for immediate review. CCTV enhancement is done using various software programs by a trained and qualified professional like a video forensic expert. Pixels are enlarged, or otherwise adjusted, in order to bring out the necessary details or information about the crime that was committed. Most CCTV systems and their cameras have night vision that will record clear images of events as they occurred for forensic enhancement.
Contact Us for a Pro Bono ConsultationIf you have a video that you question or need help understanding, contact us for a pro bono consultation. We apply forensic expertise to cases in the United States and many countries around the globe. Any and all formats of audio and video accepted. Click HERE to email your questions or call 800-647-4281 in the USA or +01-248-853-4091 Internationally.
- Far better image quality
- The ability to view cameras, live or recorded, from another location through the internet
- Ease in copying images from crime scenes
- No VHS tapes to change
After the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the FBI immediately went to work investigating all available video evidence to begin the video forensic process. Several sources of video evidence were available for FBI forensic examiners, including:
The first camera that FBI investigators began working with to clarify images was from …Read More
You have had a crime committed at your place of business but you do not have a closed-circuit television system in place that could have captured some video recording of the crime as it was committed.
With the large number of closed-circuit television systems that are currently installed in businesses today …Read More
It is a well-known fact that closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems help to deter crime. In fact, if a building has a CCTV system installed, any crime committed at that building will be recorded on video from the closed-circuit television system. In addition to being a deterrent to crime, CCTV systems …Read More
One of the day to day activities of a video forensic expert is to determine if a digital video recording is an exact representation of the facts as they occurred at the time of the recording. In order to do this, the video expert must know how the digital video …Read More