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NOISE

One of the most common problems of the videotape analyst is the random noise that stems from a variety of sources within the recording equipment. This is a simulated example of severe scratches on the original frames. Simply averaging out the pixels of each frame tends to obscure the license plate, but by processing the images through the intelligent noise reduction system, the scratches are removed without the elimination of valuable data. Note how the specular reflection (circled) on the license plate was left untouched. The software recognized the difference between noise caused by scratches and noise-like objects within the subject -- something that conventional techniques cannot replicate.

While professional video equipment is designed to suppress of snow and signal loss, amateur systems are rather noisy. Images captured on film rather than video do not display this characteristic nose, but at high magnifications, noise emanates from the silver halide grains in the film itself. These randomly positioned grains distort and hide fine details that are critical to the researcher.

Traditional methods of removing noise are destructive, because the process of removing unwanted information from the recording also destroys valuable data. Since most forensic recordings involve consumer quality devices with a great deal of noise, care must be taken to remove the noise from the original recording, without the loss of detail.

This is an example of extreme noise that might be found in the enlargement of a film image or a particularly poor video recording. Note how traditional image enhancement (bottom left) is unable to resolve the writing in the image. Processing the image through our proprietary software however, clearly reveals the writing.


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