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Need help with this photo

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  #1  
Old 01-23-2007, 05:43 PM
Dimmi Dimmi is offline
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Need help with this photo

First off, full disclosure.

I am a homicide detective. The images I sometimes work with are of videos and video frame grabs of suspects. I try to enhance the image for obvious reasons. I just started using CS2. I found this forum to be one of the best and hope to get some guidance and help.

This is a frame grab from a video. It was printed on regular paper. I then scanned the image and tried to enhance it. Unfortunately, the digital copy is no longer available. This case is from 2004 and this photo is the best lead. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Last edited by Doug Nelson; 01-24-2007 at 12:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2007, 06:06 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

Well, I have a few questions --

1. Why would you be posting a suspect's photo on the internet where the subject or friends of the subject or even victim or witnesses might see it? I suppose the chance is small, but it still seems questionable practice.

2. Doesn't your department have access to a crime scene photo specialist? (we have at least one crime scene photographer who recently posted non-job related work.)

3. How can we verify that what you are stating is true?

4. If this image is evidence in a crime, why was the original destroyed?

You said you'd be happy to answer any questions; I'm always happy to ask.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:39 PM
Dimmi Dimmi is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

Still happy to answer CJ. Very valid questions.

1. Why would you be posting a suspect's photo on the internet where the subject or friends of the subject or even victim or witnesses might see it? I suppose the chance is small, but it still seems questionable practice.

Think Americas Most Wanted tv show. They recreate crimes, post videos, photos, scetches and even names of wanted suspects/offenders on tv every week. Same with the news. Not a problem.
Unfortunately, the victim in this case will never see it. His family and friends have already seen it. I want to enhance it so I can show it to as many people as possible. As far as the subject seeing it, so what? He knows what he did.

2. Doesn't your department have access to a crime scene photo specialist? (we have at least one crime scene photographer who recently posted non-job related work.)

I wish. Believe it or not, we just got a nice computer system dedicated to image enhancement. All they put on it was CS2. Nobody has been trained yet. I use it for my own cases. For all I know I might wind up being the photo guy. By the way, our crime scene specialists just take the pictures, on film. That's it.

3. How can we verify that what you are stating is true?

I'm willing to send a private email with my name and work number to one high ranking member that everybody else trusts.

4. If this image is evidence in a crime, why was the original destroyed?

One very good question that I am also asking. I wasn't involved with this case in 2004. This photo is from a retail store surveilance system. The employee did not know how to burn a cd copy. So he printed this picture and then videotaped(!) the image of the computer screen! Needless to say, the video is pretty bad.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Does this have spellcheck?
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:54 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

Answers seem credible. I do wonder, for the sake of your department, whether your state police lab could not be involved in situations like this? It is my limited understanding, that our Arizona Department of Public Safety (state highway patrol) provides some assistance to local police who lack needed resources.

Spell checking? Use Firefox version 2, it includes spell-check. It's also free.
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:14 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

I sent a message to the site owner, Doug Nelson, just to make him aware of your need.

So, who's got the first idea on fixing this? (I'm working on it, but I'm not getting anywhere fast...)
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:28 PM
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solitear solitear is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

Dimmi..... you're saying the 'frame grab' is no longer available? If you have anything before you started enhancing it (no offense) that would help. Even if you think the 'before' looks worse, with other techniques the results may be better. I've sent you a private message.

Beth
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:25 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

It sounds like Beth knows something about video frame grabs; from what I just read briefly in an internet search, there might possibilities of enhancing a frame grab.

Dimmi, do you have a larger original image than the one which had to be resized down to fit on this forum? When someone here figures a good way to improve the image, they will be able to do a much better job on a larger original. Transmission of this can wait until someone posts steps to improve the image.

I'm trying some of ByRo's (one of the pro members here) actions, but I might be missing out on a lot of what they can do because of lack of knowledge. We have folks here who understand which techniques would best enhance the image (if much enhancement is possible) and are skilled in making the best use of these techniques.

Hmmm, I'm not sure that this rendition is improved in any degree -- anyone want to show me up? Please?

Last edited by Doug Nelson; 01-24-2007 at 12:28 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2007, 10:35 PM
Dimmi Dimmi is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

I only have a color printout of a frame grab (screenshot). It's printed on regular paper. I scanned it a uploaded without any enhancements. I scanned as a jpeg and as a tif which is 1 meg. I have a video of the screen showing the original footage. (don't ask). I can try and lighten the video and grab several screenshots. I have no idea why the retail store agent didn't just burn a cd or save the footage. Probably didn't know how.

Dimmi
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:28 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

1) I had to delete all the images. You can repost, but please blur or mosaic the face beyond recognition (this goes for everyone). This clearly violates that person's rights, especially if he's innocent.

2) forensic imaging is its own field where what is and isn't acceptable is very different from the world of retouching.

I'd suggest contacting a company like http://www.imagingforensics.com that specialize in handling image evidence.
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2007, 06:26 PM
Dimmi Dimmi is offline
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Re: Need help with this photo

I will have to disagree with you. First, this image is from a retail store surveillance system. There is absolutely NO expectation of privacy. You wrote "This clearly violates that person's rights, especially if he's innocent". This statement is incorrect. You can take pictures/video of people in public, and post them on websites like this or youtube all day long.

Every day, TV shows like Court TV, Americas Most Wanted, every news channel, newspapers etc. routinely post images of persons wanted, committing crimes, even names them if the information is available. Every one of those persons including the picture posted is presumed innocent until proven guilty, yet it goes on. If you had to wait until somebody is proven guilty in a court of law, then shows like Americas Most Wanted would not exist, Amber alerts would be illegal, and you would never know about the sex offender living on your street (and he has already done his time!).

Forensic imaging is no different than what is going on on this site. Just another image that needs to be repaired, enhanced, sharpened or brightened.

I guess your main concern is liability. You and your website are
no more liable than, for example, the myriads of websites dispencing crappy medical advice. That's the beauty (or anathema) of the WWW.

That said...

I appreciate your concern. It will be interesting to see what the members of this forum have to say.

Dimmi
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