Look Sharp – Reality of Forensic Image Enhancement

cctv-enhance-example The proliferation of CCTV systems and exponential growth in the use of mobile recording devices such as smartphones and tablets, has meant that police and other law enforcement agencies now look increasingly to audiovisual evidence when conducting their investigations. Indeed, one of the most common requests we receive as forensic audiovisual specialists is to enhance CCTV and video footage to reveal more detail in the image. Technology has advanced at a very fast pace to the point where modern digital CCTV systems can record high quality video for long periods of time. This has facilitated the enhancement of imagery evidence and in many cases has helped to prove the identification of suspects, vehicles and other items of interest. Unfortunately the popularity of films and television programmes like 24, CSI and Spooks, which showcase technology in the investigative process, has led to unrealistic expectations about how much ‘magic’ we can really perform.

This may not be the world of Jack Bauer and friends, but we can still bring our own brand of wizardry to your audiovisual evidence.

The starting point is to understand that the potential for enhancement depends crucially on the quality of the recorded image. Image quality produced by CCTV systems is influenced by several factors, including camera capability, recording resolution of the CCTV system, and to what extent the images are compressed when being stored on the digital video recorder.

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