dVeloper – Forensic Video Clarification Tool

What is dVeloper?

In simplest terms, dVeloper is an easy to use advanced frame averaging plugin that works in Avid Media Composer.

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Description

What is dVeloper?

Many times crucial details are hidden in video due to poor lighting or improperly adjusted and maintained cameras and video equipment. When dealing with color video, details are often more prevalent in one color than another. With dVeloper, it’s easy to isolate the video color space that holds the most valuable information. With the click of the mouse, dVeloper compensates for the poorly exposed video. By analyzing the entire video, or just a region of interest, dVeloper automatically adjusts brightness, contrast and gamma to bring out more detail.

dVeloper removes noise and video graininess through a time-lapse processing technique called frame averaging. When the target remains still for even a moment, video noise and other transient items like rain and snow are removed, revealing the details hidden beneath.

How It Works

To understand how frame averaging works using video frames, the following is a simple explanation:
The purpose of frame averaging is to average as many frames of video together in order to create a single “average” of pixels that make up the individual frames of video, the results of which can then be exported as a single still image or displayed as a clarified video clip.

dVeloper uses that frame average technique and applies it to the video frame/footage that is displayed:
i.e. the position of the locator bar in relationship to the video footage. When applied, dVeloper then takes the frame average setting the user selects and applies it looking forwards and backwards. The displayed results will be based on the frame (where the position bar is) within the video.

If the user selects “20” as the number of frames to average, dVeloper will look forward 10 frames and backward 10 frames (based on the frame being displayed) for a total average of 20 frames. If the video is NOT playing while dVeloper is applied, the frame that is displayed is still a frame average of 20 based on the frame the locator bar is parked on.

If the video is playing, the display is a frame average that is moving and, the display is based on the where the position bar is in relation to that point in the video. Depending on which frame is being displayed dVeloper may display different results near the beginning or end of the video.

Below is an example of a video sequence containing a total of 27 frames. A dVeloper frame average
setting of “20” is used. In this case, dVeloper will look backwards 10 frames and forwards 10 frames to
display/produce a frame average of 20 at that moment in the video.

Color Mode

dVeloper allows you to work in any of six color modes.

  • RGB is the full color mode. You can enhance your video while still keeping it in full color. This is the only mode that outputs color.
  • Average is a grayscale conversion that looks at the RGB values and creates an average of the three values. For example, if you have a pixel with the values R=200, G=25, and B=50, the average value is 92. This value represents the level of gray where a value of 256 is full white.
  • Luminance is a grayscale conversion that bases your adjustments on the luminance values of each pixel.
  • Red, Green, or Blue is a grayscale conversion that converts either the R, G, or B value to a grayscale value.

Region of Interest (ROI)

The Region of Interest or “ROI” bounding box appears when dVeloper is applied to a video track on the timeline. The Effects Editor must be opened before it can be repositioned or its settings changed.

By default, the ROI will always open to the same size and centered position until it is changed by the user. You can click and drag the ROI bounding box to the area of interest. Depending on the content of the video itself combined with the intended application of dVeloper, the ROI can be sized, positioned, and its pixel values adjusted to provide the best results. Since the ROI is a bounding box telling dVeloper the area of the video you are interested in clarifying, move your bounding box as close as possible around the area of interest.

Histogram

By default, the Histogram is displayed once the Effects Editor is opened. The Histogram’s display shows the tonal values/information within the ROI box. The white points and black points are automatically calibrated or clipped to the respective white and black point values. These points can be manually adjusted if necessary using the mouse or the Effect Editor settings. The Histogram display itself can also be moved within the monitor display by dragging it with the mouse.

There are two histogram reset options available in the Effects Editor. One will reset the position of the histogram display, while the other will reset the white/black points. The histogram can also be completely hidden if desired.

Enhance

The Enhance section of the Effects Editor provides controls that also change the histogram settings. Additional settings also provide the ability to sharpen the ROI or adjust the Gamma Tension.

Sharpen will bring out further detail of the edges in the footage. Adjusting the Black, Midtone, White, and Mid-tone Gamma Tension will provide you the best results tonal results based on the content of the video.

Gamma Tension correlates directly with the blue line that runs from left to right, bottom to top in the histogram. The blue line represents the tonal values that are being output by dVeloper. If you drag any of the level sliders in the histogram and watch the blue line as you do so, you will notice that certain values are being “clipped” and removed from the output of the video. The Gamma Tension adjuster lets you bring those values and details back into the image.