Monday, 26 October 2009


TIM is an acronym for Tableau Imager which unsurprisingly is new imaging software developed by Tableau. Tableau promise astounding imaging speeds. Apparently it will be available in beta form anytime soon. Given the quality of the Tableau write blockers I think this software is definitely worth watching out for. The latest info can be found here.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Video triage revisited

Back in July 2009 I blogged about the potential of video triage. I was commenting on its effectiveness and had used a program written by John Douglas to explore what was possible. Mark Woan added a very interesting comment to that post, introducing a program he had written - Forensic Video Triage. I have now tried out a series of enscripts written by Oliver Höpli which aim to provide the same functionality as both John and Mark's programs.

Essentially all three approaches utilise a third party video playing and manipulation program to create and store thumbnails of frames at set intervals throughout a video clip. The investigator can then triage the video clip by reviewing the thumbnails as opposed to playing the video. The gallery feature in Encase for example makes reviewing the thumbnails a considerably quicker experience than playing the videos.

John's program utilises VLC, Mark's uses ffmpeg and Oliver's enscript calls upon mplayer for thumbnail creation. Each of these video utilities have inbuilt codecs and their capabilities may vary - in other words a video clip may play with one and not the others.

Oliver Höpli has integrated the process much more closely with Encase with his suite of enscripts, and for me this can only be a good thing. If you are an Encase shop the pre-processing is considerably reduced and the whole process is more seamless leading to greater productivity. The main enscript runs across selected (as in blue checked) movie files within your case and parses out thumbnails into a logical evidence file. Another enscript creates a folder structure within the Encase bookmarks tab based on the contents of the logical evidence file. Each video clip has a folder within bookmarks making it an easy process to review the thumbnails.

To get it all working the main enscript needs a little configuration which I found a little fiddly. Ahead of time you need to install a version of mplayer suitable for Windows, the installer I used was MPUI.2009-07-24.Full-Package.exe. This appears to have been superseded by MPUI.2009-10-12.Full-Package.exe which is available here (at least today - download locations seem to change quite often). Oliver directs you to the standard mplayer site which I found a bit difficult to navigate. Once mplayer is installed you need to configure the main enscript by editing it to include the location of mplayer.exe and the location of a suitably large temp directory. On my box the lines of the enscript are (note the double \\)

////////////////////////////////////////// Configuration ///////////////////////////

//Path to MPClassic.exe
mpclassic = "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\MPlayer for Windows\\mplayer";

//Tempfolder which will be used to extract the movies and create the thumbnails
expDir = "C:\\Temp";

//time interlace between to frames
//films under 1 minute
OneU = 5;

//films between 1 and 5 minutes
FiveU = 10;

//films between 5 and 30 minutes
BetweenFiveAndThirty = 20;

//films over 30 minutes
ThirtyU = 30;


Oliver's enscript can be found in the Guidance Software Download Center and comes with a Readme which needs reading.