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FAQ - How do you enhance audio and video files?

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How do you enhance audio and video files?
Although the industry term is "enhancement", much of what we provide is "clarification and restoration" by mathematically restoring most of the details lost during the original DVR compression process. When video artifacts or unwanted sounds exist, rather than deleting those items, we suppress their interference. Whenever possible, we automate our processes to remove the potential for judgment-based settings. As such, our results will be clearer than any other process available, and will more accurately represent the original recording. This is explained in the article Don't Let Distorted Media Ruin Your Case.

We use numerous programs, filters and scripts, and can work with any type of file. For example, older recordings many have several cameras sharing the same VCR/DVR input. One method is by having each camera takes its turn being seen. This is called a "Sequenced" video and we invented a tool to accurately separate each camera view into its own recording. We can reverse motion/focus blur, stabilize jitter, correct lighting, sharpen details and extract stills. We offer the only enhancement process that uses a multi-phase process with color separation. If you would like to learn more and/or try this yourself, read the article Open-source software for the forensic video analyst.

We compensate for poor lighting across the entire video, or within a particular segment, to maximize the identifying characteristics of the people of interest. Likewise, we can obscure, block or darken sensitive items (special agents, license plates, bystanders, etc...). Just make that request on your Order Form

For audio, we use the industry's most advanced tools (many of our own innovation) to suppress unwanted voices and sounds so that the desired speech is significantly clearer. Our voice recognition filters can raise the quietest whisper and suppress the interfering noise. We can also balance speech volume levels and slow everything down for easier transcription. The enhanced dialog can then be transcribed and captioned onto your video.

We have processed evidence in thousands of cases and served as industry educators. Our services are relied upon by law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, innocence project, and our results frequently make national/international news and popular TV/radio shows. We can enhance any video or audio file, even improving upon the other company’s best efforts. Confidence reflected by the fact that we provide free evaluations, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

Nearly all recording devices compress video to increase the total retention time, but at the cost of permanently removing critical  details. Cheap cameras and cell phone videos often suffer from motion blurring and extreme compression methods that cannot be corrected by traditional means. However, our FP System includes custom tools to mathematically reverse these compression, motion blur and clarity issues.

The four main video clarity issues are: Noise (from inferior cameras or recorders, electrical interference, etc.), Blur (from moving objects, focus issues, lens issues, etc.), Lighting (over or under lit areas, excessive backlighting, glare, etc.), and Detail (camera resolution, debris on the camera lens, rain or snow fall, recorder settings, how the video is compressed by the DVR/NVR, etc.). Basic recorders often include lighting adjustments while the more expensive recorders (and after market enhancement software) can address a few of the other issues. However, addressing all of these issues is beyond the DVR/NVR manufacturer's control and far too complex for any automated enhancement solution.

Rapidly moving scenes are a common problem. Whether that motion is from a hand held camera, dash camera or pan-tilt-zoom camera, we use military grade filters to stabilize and enhance shaky video so it becomes easier to watch. We also have exclusive filters to correct for camera aging, motion blur and focus issues (examples). We regularly donate our resources to help Innocence projects and law enforcement shine a brighter light on justice.

01.  High-resolution lossless extraction or capture
02.  Adaptive jitter and shake stabilization
Unweave interlacing, de-sequence and de-multiplex
04.  Spatial-Temporal suppression of aliased high frequency pixels

Motion vector based edge sharpening
06.  Adaptive sub-pixel shift fusion
07.  Frequency, histogram and saturation balancing
08.  Channel isolation and focus/motion blur correction
09.  Video zoom, event isolation and speed adjustments
10.  Image extraction, enhancement, cropping and enlarging
11.  Demonstrative and summary evidence

NERDY NOTE: Salt and Pepper noise are pixels (screen dots) with dramatically different luminance (brightness) from their adjacent pixels. This noise may even vary in hue (color) and is common among inexpensive cameras and under illuminated scenes. These poison pixels are repaired by using information adaptively derived from previous and later video frames (time analysis). Gaussian noise is more subtle and represents a more predictable shift in luminance and hue. Again, adaptive time analysis is used in restoration along with the understanding that, in summation, these deviations will approximate a normal distribution (the Central limit theorem). The corrective nature of these processes are examples of "Clarification".

Traditional "Enhancement" processes are much faster process and have been the industry standard for over 70 years. One such enhancement is to convolve (blur or blend) a noise pixel with data from adjacent pixels in the same video frame, using a linear "Denoise" filter. While this approach can provide visually acceptable results, especially with Gaussian noise, it is destructive and vulnerable to evidentiary challenges. Because Clarification is so new, the industry uses the term Enhancement to describe both of these dramatically different approaches.

NERDY NOTE: Cell phones typically use the h.264 or h.265 Codecs (4x4 Spatial Block Transforms) which creates more ringing artifacts than the older MPEG (8x8 Discreet Cosine Transform block) CoDecs common with most DVRs. It is common for enhancement companies to apply deblocking filters to smooth the ringing and the addition of poison noise (grain) to help our brains perceive edging. This is similar to seeing subjective cloud shapes, but it is marginally effective and leaves the results open to interpretation. This is why our lab applies clarification techniques whenever possible.

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