Lets make CCTV Accurate not ‘Enhanced’

A very interesting article surrounding TV’s hit the twitter feed yesterday and I immediately stuck it in the Favorites…

Click the image to visit Gizmodo

Click the image to visit Gizmodo

As often happens with articles like this, the original tweet started to get re-tweeted and commented on by other people in the Forensic Video Community. Why you may ask?

Well, for me is was that nearly everything the article expresses, is relateable to the world of surveillance video.

I see too many systems applying huge amounts of automated, and hidden,de-blocking. It smooths everything out and then, when an image is saved, there is no method to tell that the image has been altered. It was not what was recorded.

I see too many systems hiding the fact they are recording at field level, or half PAL. 704 x 288 or 360 x 576. The player presents the image differently but there is no information on how the recorded image is being changed to fit the correct aspect ratio.

I see too many systems applying sharpening and automated contrast or level control.

But by far the most common issue is that the footage is just poor.

  • The camera is not positioned correctly or it’s the wrong type of camera
  • There has not been enough data bandwidth for the scene being captured
  • The compression levels are set too high

So, isn’t it about time that the industry made a concerted effort to ensure that surveillance video was captured and retained accurately, rather than having to attempt clarification or ‘enhancement’ on most of the footage encountered.

Taken from Cambridge British Dictionary

Clarify: to make something clear or easier to understand by giving more details

Enhance: to improve the quality, amount or strength of something

There will always be a large amount of footage where tools like Amped FIVE have to be utilised in order to bring out detail beyond what the system was originally intended for. These are the situations where an incident has been captured that is out of the evidential window. This ‘window’ should be detailed in any video surveillance systems operational requirement.

If a camera is installed to capture vehicles then the accurate recording of licence plates should be within that window. If, due to poor design, it’s not possible to read that plate without utilising other software then its clear that a number of problems have occurred. Its the same with Face’s – using the wrong camera on an entry, linked with overly high compression means that a face is not recognisable….. and then what happens – the Forensic Video Analyst gets asked to enhance it!

By Spreadys Posted in EEPIP

2 comments on “Lets make CCTV Accurate not ‘Enhanced’

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