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Glossary of terms

Glossary of terms
Pixel - A pixel is a single dot on a display screen or printed page. Each dot is of a specific color and brightness. When a high quantity of these dots are placed close together, they create an image.

Resolution - The total number of uniformly sized pixels expressed in Megapixels (one million pixels), or as a grid of horizontal rows by vertical columns (e.g. 640x480). Higher resolutions result in a higher quality recordings and larger file sizes. Once a video has been recorded, its quality cannot be improved by increasing resolution.

Frequency - Measured in Hertz (Hz), a healthy adult can hear from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, and vision frequencies are far above human hearing. Audio frequency is commonly called “tone” while video frequency is called “color”. Most of what we see and hear is composed of many different and overlapping frequencies. Computer software can electronically isolate and clarify each of these frequencies.

Intensity - Audio intensity is called “volume” and video intensity is called “brightness”. Audio and video frequencies at any moment in time can be at nearly any level of intensity.

Contrast - Contrast is the intensity difference between adjacent pixels. Changing video contrast is a destructive process that can cause objects to have an unrealistic or washed out appearance.

Histogram - A graph of intensities at one moment in time ranging from the scene’s darkest to brightest object. Stretching the intensities to span from absolute black to pure white (aka “a balanced Histogram”) is a non-destructive method to convert a seemingly black nighttime video into a brightly lit scene.

CoDec - Short for “Compression-Decompression”, CoDecs are computer instructions on how to squeeze audio and/or video to occupy less space, and then how to best reverse that process. Most CoDecs are “lossy”, meaning that they permanently throw away information, trading quality for a reduced file size. CoDec methods and options vary so wildly that thousands of variations are currently in active use. Each time a file is re-saved using a lossy CoDec, additional details are discarded even though the resulting file size may actually grow larger.

Noise - Distracting artifacts resulting from less than optimal recording conditions is called noise. Noise artifacts overlap, and often replace, the intended data. Even though noise usually occupies a tiny frequency over a very short time period, its intensity and quantity may be so extreme that it prevents interpretation of the audio or video data.

Enhancement - A chain of independent processes designed to improve the auditory and/or visual quality of a recording. Noise is typically averaged into the usable portions, effectively destroying media data to aid in perceived clarity. Audio and video resolution is increased by analyzing or interpolating adjacent media data, effectively creating new data. Because they are completely independent steps, focus and motion blur corrections are considered to be types of video enhancements.

Clarification - A hybrid of the enhancement process that uses residual CoDec artifacts to rebuild visual clarity. The process pairs any two of time, frequency and intensity, and then uses each pair as a training set to repair the third. Every step is co-dependent and may require massive computing resources. Clarification should be performed prior to traditional enhancement methods.

Calibration - The process of using an uncontested portion of the target recording to determine the optimal clarification and enhancement settings. Once defined, calibration settings are automatically and consistently applied across the entire recording that shares the same environmental conditions (e.g. background noise or time of day lighting).

Evaluation - The information provided by the enhancement expert to aid the end user in their purchase decision. Optimally, each quote is accompanied by a brief enhanced portion to facilitate an informed purchase decision. Technological advances have sped up the evaluation process and eliminated the practice of charging an evaluation fee.

Generation - An audio or video recording saved upon the recording device is called 1st generation. If the file can be digitally copied from the recorder, it is still a 1st generation file. If the file must be exported or saved to exist outside the recorder, then that version is a 2nd generation. The enhancement process produces optimal results from a 1st or 2nd generation file, and that file must be viewable without requiring special playback software. 

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