Secrets of Forensic Video Enhancement
So you are probably reading this blog post because you have been watching too much CSI or because you have tried Amped FIVE on your crappy DVR video and weren’t able to obtain the miracles that you can see on our samples page.
The point is that experts don’t do miracles, they are just scientists. They work with number sequences that incidentally happen to represent some visual information called an image or a signal called a video. However, they use many crime scene measurement tools that help them to analyse the data accurately.
Some people may even wonder if the images on our website’s samples page are fake and they artificially introduced defects on good images in order to show how the software works. They assure you that what you see are results of real pictures or video, most of them have been taken by myself to reproduce typical situations you will find working in forensic cases and with CCTV videos.
Of course, they are not going to put on the web confidential and personal data belonging to real cases that they receive from customers or that they are asked to analyze. They are a professional company, they keep those cases strictly confidential, so they never would appear as samples.
They view more than a few hundred cases every year from customers, but even with the continuous improvement of image processing algorithms, very often they simply look at the video/image and realize that there is nothing to do. The bottom line is this: they are analyzing the picture to get some information (identifying a face, reading a license plate…); if this information is present in the image but not visible because of some defect, within certain limits and with the proper scientific procedure, they are able to recover it and make it visible.
If the information is not there in the original footage, experts cannot (and they must not, since they are in a forensic context and not the photo editing or art world) add it or recreate it.
More than half of the cases that they receive are quickly analyzed and then discarded because the enhancement is not feasible or will not bring any useful result. Without the necessary experience, it is difficult to quickly evaluate the feasibility of a case and very often, potential customers evaluate it giving a completely wrong assessment.
Sometimes a license plate is looking like it’s almost readable, so very little should be needed to make it readable, but actually, it’s not possible to get anything. Other times situations that look hopeless can give amazing results. As a forensic video analyst working every day on multiple cases, it’s very important to acquire the expertise to evaluate the feasibility in a fast manner in order not to waste precious time on activities that will not bring any results.