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GCN : May 2013
[BrieFing] GCN MAY 2013 • GCN.COM 7 Video from surveillance cameras and mobile phones have become essential tools in helping investigators collect and analyze data from crime scenes, as the high tech police work following the recent Boston bombings has made abundantly clear. Going through all that footage is still largely a labor-intensive task, but increasingly sophisticated analytics tools are helping investigators compress video, pinpoint areas of interest, look for anomalies and nd relevant details. Many video surveillance systems come packaged with analytics that can detect anomalies, such as a package left behind or a person entering a restricted area, said Maj. David Mulholland, com- mander of technical services with the United States Park Police. Because humans can't watch multiple security feeds without being overwhelmed or los- ing attention, analytics software signals --- visually or through audio --- if some- one enters a stairway where no person should be, he said. New technologies are now available that compress long hours of video and lets investigators pinpoint an area of in- terest and show only the moments where something was different in that picture. That would be more challenging in a case such as in Boston, where some- thing is changing every second, than at an of ce overnight where someone might take a folder off a desk, make copies and return the folder, Mulholland said. But instead of watching eight hours of video, investigators can compress the footage down to the three-minute period in which the folder was taken, he said. "The next thing you can do with the analytic capability is identify an area of interest within the camera frame," Mulholland said. For example, once investigators have identi ed the origin of a detonation of a bomb, they can draw an area of interest. There may have been 500 people who walked in that general area, but the analytics piece will ignore that and ag anything that changed in that one speci c area. So instead of spending 20 minutes looking at video in which nothing happens, the investigator can hit a button and in 30 seconds go to the area of interest and then begin to dissect what actually happened. Some challenges remain on the sur- veillance side too. Many older cameras use proprietary formats, which cannot be read by analytic tools. "We have to make sure the systems we are putting out are in a standardized format where we can apply any type of forensic tool," he said. • How video analytics helped piece together the Boston bombing BY RUTRELL YASIN Here s an assortment of software tools on the market designed to analyze very large video caches. VS Forensics Video synopsis application from BriefCam that enables users to review synopsis videos that are indexed to events of interest in the original video. AISight Behavioral analysis system for video surveillance, adaptively "learns" behavior patterns in complex envi- ronments. The software, developed by BRS Labs, uses a reason-based approach versus legacy rules-based technology. Video Investigator Cognitech o ers forensic video processing software providing video enhancement, clarification and 3D A forensic video tool sampler analysis. Checks video and still images from CCTV campers, phones and portable devices. Intergraph Video Analyst Intergraph s tools for Windows-based foren- sic video analysis features de-multiplexing, frame averaging, and audio noise filtering. VideoFOCUS (Salient Stills) Salient Stills aims to o er one-platform approach to forensic video analysis, elimi- nating the need for acquiring separate digi- tization tools or export data to standalone tools.