Question about cleaning up/enhancing pictures....

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nutto4beanies@yahoo.com, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Hi,
    I've got kind of an odd question, and it comes from me watching too
    many crime tv shows. Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen on those crime
    shows, (CSI, Navy NCIS, etc) where they have a really bad/dark/grainy
    picture, and they clean it up and can make out all the details, read
    license plates, etc.

    Now, what I want to know, is this: Is that realistic, or not? I mean,
    is it actually possible to clean up/enhance a picture that much? I've
    always wondered about this, and I think it would be awesome to have a
    program that could do that, if one even exists....

    Anyone got any thoughts on this? I'd love to know of a program that
    could do that.

    Thanks...
     
    , Jan 15, 2005
    #1
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  2. Guest

    There are noise reduction programs that can remove, or at least reduce,
    grain and digital noise quite effectively. Very simple gamma
    adjustments can recover detail from what appear to be deep featureles
    shadows, and more advanced software can perform what appear to be
    miracles in retrieving good images from badly underexposed ones.

    There are even ways to `recover` some detail from out of focus images,
    although this is very difficult, needs to use very sophisticated
    algorithms with input of lens characteristics, etc. It can also be
    quite haphazard, with `fake` details appearing that were never there,
    and complex areas often just have too much overlap for it to be of real
    use. As I'm sure folk will say this is not possible (and they are
    partly right!), there's an example of this here, which shows how good
    and bad it can be all at once! Look at the bottom of the page..

    http://meesoft.logicnet.dk/Analyzer/


    And of course if the original file is of very high resolution, you can
    simply zoom in, up until you hit `actual pixel` or `actual grain clump`
    size.. once you get there, further enlargement is not going to
    magically create more usable detail.

    Having said all of that, all the examples I have seen in crime
    investigation shows and in movies like `Enemy of the State` have been
    just a little bit on the ridiculous side of reality...
     
    , Jan 15, 2005
    #2
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  3. C J Campbell Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi,
    > I've got kind of an odd question, and it comes from me watching too
    > many crime tv shows. Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen on those crime
    > shows, (CSI, Navy NCIS, etc) where they have a really bad/dark/grainy
    > picture, and they clean it up and can make out all the details, read
    > license plates, etc.
    >
    > Now, what I want to know, is this: Is that realistic, or not?


    Generally not. Hollywood has not a clue as to how anything in real life
    works; photography is no exception (odd, when you realize that photography
    is the foundation of their whole economy). Short of using special cameras
    and lenses that were specifically designed for intelligence work, such
    enhancements are impossible.

    It is not enough to say don't believe everything you see on TV. It is
    probably more accurate to say don't believe *anything* you see on TV.
     
    C J Campbell, Jan 15, 2005
    #3
  4. Guest

    And check out the license plate examples in the animated gif here:
    http://www.focusmagic.com/

    Looks a bit too good to believe.. (O;
     
    , Jan 15, 2005
    #4
  5. Ron Hunter Guest

    wrote:
    > There are noise reduction programs that can remove, or at least reduce,
    > grain and digital noise quite effectively. Very simple gamma
    > adjustments can recover detail from what appear to be deep featureles
    > shadows, and more advanced software can perform what appear to be
    > miracles in retrieving good images from badly underexposed ones.
    >
    > There are even ways to `recover` some detail from out of focus images,
    > although this is very difficult, needs to use very sophisticated
    > algorithms with input of lens characteristics, etc. It can also be
    > quite haphazard, with `fake` details appearing that were never there,
    > and complex areas often just have too much overlap for it to be of real
    > use. As I'm sure folk will say this is not possible (and they are
    > partly right!), there's an example of this here, which shows how good
    > and bad it can be all at once! Look at the bottom of the page..
    >
    > http://meesoft.logicnet.dk/Analyzer/
    >
    >
    > And of course if the original file is of very high resolution, you can
    > simply zoom in, up until you hit `actual pixel` or `actual grain clump`
    > size.. once you get there, further enlargement is not going to
    > magically create more usable detail.
    >
    > Having said all of that, all the examples I have seen in crime
    > investigation shows and in movies like `Enemy of the State` have been
    > just a little bit on the ridiculous side of reality...
    >


    While I am sure the supercomputers at the US government installation for
    interpretation of images from spy satellites, and reconnaissance
    aircraft have some rather astounding abilities, the movie industry leads
    one to believe that things can be done which are beyond current
    technology. But it's fun.


    --
    Ron Hunter
     
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2005
    #5
  6. Ron Hunter Guest

    C J Campbell wrote:
    > <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>Hi,
    >>I've got kind of an odd question, and it comes from me watching too
    >>many crime tv shows. Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen on those crime
    >>shows, (CSI, Navy NCIS, etc) where they have a really bad/dark/grainy
    >>picture, and they clean it up and can make out all the details, read
    >>license plates, etc.
    >>
    >>Now, what I want to know, is this: Is that realistic, or not?

    >
    >
    > Generally not. Hollywood has not a clue as to how anything in real life
    > works; photography is no exception (odd, when you realize that photography
    > is the foundation of their whole economy). Short of using special cameras
    > and lenses that were specifically designed for intelligence work, such
    > enhancements are impossible.
    >
    > It is not enough to say don't believe everything you see on TV. It is
    > probably more accurate to say don't believe *anything* you see on TV.
    >
    >

    On the other hand, if you recall the Tom Clancy movie with the IR
    pictures of a raid on a terrorist camp, those were REAL. Rather
    amazing, and quite a few years old.


    --
    Ron Hunter
     
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2005
    #6
  7. Ron Hunter Guest

    wrote:
    > And check out the license plate examples in the animated gif here:
    > http://www.focusmagic.com/
    >
    > Looks a bit too good to believe.. (O;
    >

    I am sure that supercomputers used by the government can do much with
    license plates. Given that shapes of the numbers and clues from the
    original can be combined with actual numbers on record, this isn't
    impossible. For the program advertised... I doubt it.


    --
    Ron Hunter
     
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2005
    #7
  8. secheese Guest

    On 14 Jan 2005 18:53:21 -0800, wrote:

    >Is that realistic, or not?


    No, definitely not.

    >is it actually possible to clean up/enhance a picture that much?


    No, not to the degree that these stupid TV shows would have us
    believe.

    To quote William Shatner, "It's just a TV show!!!"
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #8
  9. secheese Guest

    On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 02:42:42 -0600, Ron Hunter <>
    wrote:

    >
    >While I am sure the supercomputers at the US government installation for
    >interpretation of images from spy satellites, and reconnaissance
    >aircraft have some rather astounding abilities, the movie industry leads
    >one to believe that things can be done which are beyond current
    >technology. But it's fun.


    I enjoy watching CSI, but only because I get to have a good laugh at
    what they do. No offense to the OP, but it really bothers me when
    people actually have to ask, "Is this possible?"
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #9
  10. secheese Guest

    On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 19:39:29 -0800, "C J Campbell"
    <> wrote:

    >It is not enough to say don't believe everything you see on TV. It is
    >probably more accurate to say don't believe *anything* you see on TV.


    Excellently put!
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #10
  11. ..>
    > I enjoy watching CSI, but only because I get to have a good laugh at
    > what they do. No offense to the OP, but it really bothers me when
    > people actually have to ask, "Is this possible?"



    I suppose you worked at Area 51, got fired, and now want to write a book
    about the place?
     
    Toomanyputters, Jan 15, 2005
    #11
  12. secheese Guest

    On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 02:47:40 -0600, Ron Hunter <>
    wrote:

    > wrote:
    >> And check out the license plate examples in the animated gif here:
    >> http://www.focusmagic.com/
    >>
    >> Looks a bit too good to believe.. (O;
    >>

    >I am sure that supercomputers used by the government


    Oh yes... the old supercomputers + government = completely out of
    this world technological capabilities.

    Supercomputer, or my desktop Windoz machine, if the data isn't there
    to work on, it ain't gonna get done.

    Geez... we can't cure cancer, or feed the hungry, but we can see a
    pimple on a gnat's ass from 200km away. Yeah... right.
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #12
  13. secheese Guest

    On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 13:04:20 GMT, "Toomanyputters"
    <> wrote:

    >.>
    >> I enjoy watching CSI, but only because I get to have a good laugh at
    >> what they do. No offense to the OP, but it really bothers me when
    >> people actually have to ask, "Is this possible?"

    >
    >
    >I suppose you worked at Area 51, got fired, and now want to write a book
    >about the place?
    >


    Area 51? ;)
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #13
  14. Guest

    Hollywood fantasy? Although it is possible to enlarge a high-resolution
    digital image taken with a high-quality lens to reveal otherwise
    "invisible" detail, the quality of most surveillance cameras and
    recorders is unadulterated crap. On the other hand, in 1964 would you
    have thought that the tracking-map navigation system in James Bond's car
    would be commonplace today? How about Dick Tracy's two-way wrist radio?
     
    , Jan 15, 2005
    #14
  15. Ron Hunter Guest

    secheese wrote:
    > On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 02:47:40 -0600, Ron Hunter <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>>And check out the license plate examples in the animated gif here:
    >>>http://www.focusmagic.com/
    >>>
    >>>Looks a bit too good to believe.. (O;
    >>>

    >>
    >>I am sure that supercomputers used by the government

    >
    >
    > Oh yes... the old supercomputers + government = completely out of
    > this world technological capabilities.
    >
    > Supercomputer, or my desktop Windoz machine, if the data isn't there
    > to work on, it ain't gonna get done.
    >
    > Geez... we can't cure cancer, or feed the hungry, but we can see a
    > pimple on a gnat's ass from 200km away. Yeah... right.
    >

    Yes, we can. Ever hear of the Hubble telescope? It can do that, but
    has more important things to do. And the technology in it is OLD.
     
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2005
    #15
  16. Clem Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi,
    > I've got kind of an odd question, and it comes from me watching too
    > many crime tv shows. Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen on those crime
    > shows, (CSI, Navy NCIS, etc) where they have a really bad/dark/grainy
    > picture, and they clean it up and can make out all the details, read
    > license plates, etc.


    Anyone remember that bit in Blade runner?

    clem
     
    Clem, Jan 15, 2005
    #16
  17. Martin Guest

    C J Campbell wrote:
    > <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > Hi,
    > > I've got kind of an odd question, and it comes from me watching too
    > > many crime tv shows. Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen on those

    crime
    > > shows, (CSI, Navy NCIS, etc) where they have a really

    bad/dark/grainy
    > > picture, and they clean it up and can make out all the details,

    read
    > > license plates, etc.
    > >
    > > Now, what I want to know, is this: Is that realistic, or not?

    >
    > Generally not. Hollywood has not a clue as to how anything in real

    life
    > works; photography is no exception (odd, when you realize that

    photography
    > is the foundation of their whole economy). Short of using special

    cameras
    > and lenses that were specifically designed for intelligence work,

    such
    > enhancements are impossible.
    >
    > It is not enough to say don't believe everything you see on TV. It is
    > probably more accurate to say don't believe *anything* you see on TV.


    And "*anything*" clearly includes CBS News, 60 Minutes and Dan Rather.
     
    Martin, Jan 15, 2005
    #17
  18. secheese Guest

    On Sat, 15 Jan 2005 08:06:33 -0600, Ron Hunter <>
    wrote:

    >Yes, we can. Ever hear of the Hubble telescope? It can do that, but
    >has more important things to do. And the technology in it is OLD.


    Hubble is impressive for sure, but it has a viewing resolution of
    0.014 arc seconds (1/3600th of a degree). Hardly enough to see a
    pimple on a gnats ass at 200km! :)

    Technology will no doubt be mankind's undoing. Don't get me wrong,
    I'm not a technophobe. I work with hi-tech "stuff", everyday, for a
    living. It's just that I feel technology isn't the be-all-end-all,
    and Joe Public often believes we are technologically way beyond where
    we really are. I blame TV, movies, naivity, ignorance and a little
    bit of wishful thinking, for this.
     
    secheese, Jan 15, 2005
    #18
  19. Guest

    The fantasy from hollywood that gets me is the continuous surveillance
    satellite. It is a high res one that can identify a car, so it must be
    low orbit. But it stays over the area where they are following the car
    forever. Real low orbit satellites are over a given area for only a
    couple of minutes, time for one or maybe two good shots. They are for
    what it looks like today, not what it looks like from minute to minute.
     
    , Jan 15, 2005
    #19
  20. I like the part where they press a couple of buttons and change the orbit.

    Paul
     
    pjruiz(nospaam), Jan 15, 2005
    #20
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