Amped Software releases another important update to Amped FIVE, the forensic image and video enhancement tool for video analysts and forensic lab experts.
With this release, users now have the ability to import a project created with Amped Replay with just one click. This will allow organizations and agencies to have a more seamless workflow between first responders and video technicians, and analysts.
With this update, Amped also introduces Subtitle Loader, Multi-threading for faster decoding, and much more.
Read on to find out more detail about how these improvements can make your daily work easier. Update to the newest version today or request a free trial if you have not yet tried Amped FIVE.
Import Amped Replay Project
Amped Replay has fast become the go-to player for investigators when they need to quickly play, apply a few basic enhancements, annotate and write a video. Designed from the ground up for use within Law Enforcement, we have now developed a seamless link between an initial Amped Replay project, perhaps saved by a detective or officer at the start of an investigation, to Amped FIVE.
This link allows analysts and technicians with FIVE to peer review any work completed in Replay and perhaps apply further processes to compare and validate the original results. Enabling this evaluation stage by those with a higher level of competency ensures Replay users can be supported if required.
At the top of FIVE, within the quick launch shortcut bar, you will see the Replay icon.
You will also find the link within the File menu.
With Convert DVR being one of the most powerful utilities within FIVE, it is not surprising that it is continuously updated and improved.
Amped Software added the ability to save and load all the settings Convert DVR has been configured with, including custom commands in the Fallback Procedures.
This will make it much easier to store a specific configuration that works for converting a type of file you often need to work with or to share a configuration with a colleague without the need for screenshots.
Several formats have a number of different timestamp variations, so to ensure complete user control, some automated time interpolation has been removed. The user can now select the most appropriate interpolation method using the Adjust Timestamp filter.
There’s a new interpolation method to both the Interpolate and Refine options.
Users now have the option to Interpolate or refine the timestamp according to the Current FPS. This is necessary when you only have a single Timestamp.
There are several instances where this is often required. The filename may contain the start time of the file; the proprietary format only has the first timestamp; or there is an event within the visual information that gives you a known value.
This new filter, found within the Presentation category, allows the rendering over the video of any embedded or associated subtitle.
Subtitle streams are often found in standard container formats such as MP4, MKV, or AVI.
When a standard video is loaded, FIVE will analyze the streams and the directory that it is in. If an embedded subtitle stream is located, or there is a subtitle file with the same filename in the same directory, FIVE will autoload the Load Subtitle filter after the Video Loader. Both SMI and SRT streams are supported.
Once the filter is loaded, you have many common parameters.
Most are the same as Load Timestamp, but an essential new checkbox is the ability to “Remove Formatting Tags”.
A subtitle can be any text, numbers, or even date and time information. This information is often held within formatting data to instruct standard players to present the subtitle in a certain way. Users have the ability to remove this, leaving behind just the data required for rendering on the video.
In the case of this NEST video example, by removing the formatting tags, only the date and time remain visible on the screen.
Sequence Loader has been updated to support images of different sizes or aspect ratios.
When loading a selection or directory of images, users can choose to load them as a sequence, as a group, or separately.
If loading as a sequence is selected, FIVE will pre-scan the image attributes to ensure all are the same size and aspect ratio. If they are not, the following message will now appear.
Users can select “No”, and load the images regardless of differences.
All images will then be positioned within a frame that is the maximum width and height of all those loaded.
This change now ensures that users can load and review image sequences without having to edit beforehand, making tasks such as clothing comparisons so much quicker.
There’s a new small but mighty powerful change to Sequence Writer.
The PDF will contain lossless images, with a single image per page, in the same pixel dimensions. It will be saved adjacent to your directory of images.
It makes creating Frame-by-Frame image charts or clothing comparison charts so much quicker.
Add Page Number Text Macro
Another great addition for Image Charts or Frame-by-Frame sequences is the new ability to add bespoke Page numbering.
Within Add Text and Annotate, you will now find a new Macro: “$PAGENUMBER”.
Another time-saver change here. Users can now simply use the Selector tool to draw a rectangle area on the image and then use Alt+C to crop to that area.
No need to load the Crop filter first; no need to then select your area and click apply. The keyboard shortcut picks up your selected area and applies the Crop filter for you.
Selector and Ruler Tool
Here are some more changes designed specifically to help in repeating or reproducing others’ work.
Both the Selector and the Ruler tools now allow manual data entry into the tool parameters.
Users can now obtain X, Y, W, H, or Pixel Points from another source and enter them directly. This makes peer reviewing other people’s work, if they have used other tools, so much easier.
Amped FIVE now has the ability to create a 3-channel grayscale output.
Previously, Grayscale Conversion would produce an output with a single luminance channel. This would inhibit the addition of color components such as text or borders.
With this update, selecting 3 channels will result in the luminance value being repeated in the three color channels, enabling color components to be added later if required.
When reviewing the result of any restoration and enhancement, the Compare Original filter is a fantastic way to move between the “before and after” images. However, in many cases, some filters change the position of the objects, so they are physically in different locations in the images.
In this update, Amped added compensation for Flip and Rotate.
If these filters are used within the chain, they will be added to the original, to ensure any objects retain positioning and the “before and after” view has the object of interest in the same position.
Amped has updated the internal video decoder to improve the rendering of the image. This is notably faster when decoding 4K videos.
Following on from the decoder update, Amped has now added support for multithread decoding.
Users can control how many CPU threads they wish to dedicate to the task of decoding via a slider within Program Options.
Zero (0), is the default, allowing FIVE to use as many threads as possible. Setting the slider to 1 will instead enforce single-thread processing. The maximum value you can set the slider to depends on the number of threads available on your computer.
There are occasions when you need to export a video using a codec not part of the Amped FIVE workflow but one specific to your workstation. In those circumstances, due to that not being able to be reproduced by another, it is necessary to use Export Video rather than Video Writer.
Amped has now added Audio Codecs to the FFmpeg engine here.
Advanced File Info
When browsing for a file using Advanced File Info, Amped has changed the File Type box to “All File Types”. As a result, it will automatically see unknown proprietary files along with known standard ones.
In the last update, Amped moved some of the analysis and processing components out of the file menu and into their own menu called Tools.
To avoid confusion between the filter tools, this menu item has been renamed Utilities.
And lastly, a few more minor changes:
- Program Options: all parameters relating to media loading and decoding have moved into the Import tab. This makes things a little easier to find.
- Generate Report: users will have to save the project before creating a report. This is to ensure all file paths are correctly documented within the report.
- GUI: Combo boxes now display tooltips to show a value wider than the control.
- Hash Code: disallowed adding the filter for a non-file loader chain.
- GUI: changed the wording from “Center” to “Middle” for vertical text alignment.
- Improved the security of the communication protocol for dongle updates; users operating under a very restrictive firewall may need to allow a new port in their outbound connections.
- Added a new command line parameter “/od, –output-dir=…” to set a default directory for project saving.
See the new filters and features in action now!