A visit to the Bosch Display at IFSEC 2014
Reminder: I had 5 questions specifically relating to the exporting of evidential video from a Video Surveillance System.
I chose the DIVAR IP. It’s a nice looking box, about a third of the size of a standard PC. It would fit easily on a shelf.
How easy is it to export evidential video from this device?
Immediately I hit the first challenge. All the USB ports were on the back and the cabling was pretty tight! The plus point though was that, once I had teased the box out, one of the USB ports were USB 3.0.
After a few minutes of familiarisation with the interface, I selected the export option.
There were two choices – Native and ASF. I obviously went for the native and selected to export the player. I couldn’t find any options for bulk exports, but thanks to the USB3.0, recovering large amounts shouldn’t be much of an issue.
How easy is it for me to play the exported footage?
After the export had completed I examined the USB device in a Win7 PC. The player required installing and the software had a size of 321mb! FOR A PLAYER??? That’s huge! There was no way I was going to install that without it going into a Virtual PC first. I could see what I believed to be the data files but I had to leave it there until I could install the software safely…..
My usual plan when installing software is to run a ‘whatschanged’ scan first and then record the installation with Cameyo (app virtualization). I would then perform another ‘whatschanged’ scan to examine all the newly installed files and registry entries.
Whilst in a Virtual Win7 Machine I followed this routine. The install includes a number of DotNet and C++ components, and then a change was detected to a system file that was blocked by my AV and Malware software. After I sorted that out, The system required a reboot.
Due to the C++ components, the Cameyo app creation failed. Also, as a reboot had been completed, whatschanged could not detect changes due the program being closed. Things were not going well!
Finally, after running the software, and loading the export files, I could not get playback. An un-install and re-install routine with my AV Software turned off still resulted in a black screen where the video should be.
I then resorted to a clean Win7 host system. The install worked. I have not had the time to figure out why the Virtual install failed. It ‘may’ work if you disable your AV software first. The uninstall and reinstall may not have been as clean as I would have wanted so there may have been some issue still remaining.
You have to load in the .info file and then drag the camera archive into a playback window. We have playback at last!
How easy is it to analyse and understand the format of the video?
There appears to be no method to identify the format or resolution within the software. The FPS are not detailed and the displayed time only goes up in seconds, rather than milliseconds or frames. It is possible to zoom into the image and visibly identify the I frames by watching the macroblock structure.
When the zoom level of 1:1 is selected, it reverts to the window size rather than the recorded size. I’m guessing at this point that the recorded size is much bigger than what’s being displayed by the quality of the zoom. By moving forward through frame advance I could identify that the software time-code was displaying 12 FPS but there is no information on this.
Are there any functions to deal with the evidential video within the software?
For stills, you can select either .jpg or .bmp. When these are exported, the image includes data at the bottom.
I knew it was bigger than the display size!
For video exports, you have two options again. Native and ASF. There is no notification that the ASF should NOT be used for evidential use. Upon testing it does transcode at the same resolution and you have 3 quality settings. High, Medium or Low. The transcode for the high setting was just a bit slower than realtime. (On an 2500K i5). That’s pretty slow.
Upon examining the ASF file, even though it had been transcoded, the date/time was not overlayed on the footage as I would have expected. Another interesting issue was that the video file presented a frame rate of 15FPS. If you remember, when I frame advanced through the native footage within the player – I counted 12.
For the Native export option, you basically end up with what you had to start off with. This would be handy if you had multiple camera streams and you wished to isolate just one.
Is it possible to deal with the evidential video away from the software?
Quick answer is YES!
It is seen immediately as an AVC/H264 stream by MediaInfo…
From there, FFplay was used to test playback. I have not got a monitor big enough to fit 2592 x 1944 so I resized my FFplay window to 640 x 480. All OK.
FFprobe and FFmpeg worked as usual. My only issue being that it would appear that the Presentation Time Stamp has not been included within the H264 profile. This means that timing information has to come from the player.
For image analysis though, there were no problems.
For a rewrap test, I quickly contained the stream into an .mkv container with no issues.
Another bonus is that due to the standard stream, software such as Amped FIVE could read the stream natively.
1. Small units like these are ideal for small to medium businesses. They are the sort of NVR’s that will be found sitting on a shelf in the managers office. As such, having to get access to the rear in order to find the USB port could be a pain.
2. Most owners and first responders have no idea what option to chose when it comes to exporting. It should be clearly documented that the Native is for evidential use. If the wrong one is chosen, it can be too late before its identified.
3. A Data / Time calculator is useful on export – how long will it take and what will the size be?
4. This is a biggy! Installation of Players and Codecs is a complete nightmare. Most corporate and legal networks are locked. This means that your player cannot be used on these networks. The player must be small, lite and free running.
5. There is little information on the video. How big is it (Resolution)? How many frames are there? What frame am I looking at? What type of frame is it? What am I viewing – what is the zoom level?
6. The players export option should include a basic container option with the frame rate being matched. This would be much quicker than the transcode to ASF, and offer much higher evidential integrity. The native date & Time should be exported as a subtitle track, to be used if needed.
7. To validate any date and time information, the DTS/PTS of the H264 stream should be retained, included and readable if the stream is analysed.
The information provided here, has been supplied to assist the video security business.
If anyone from Bosch wants to improve the systems using the information provided, please feel free to get in touch.