Zoom in and make clearer like they do on TV

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mtco, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Mtco

    Mtco Guest

    Watching TV shows such as CSI they will Zoom in and make picture clear
    enough to read licensev plate numbers how do they do that?

    Mtco, Mar 28, 2005
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  2. Mtco

    Frank ess Guest

    Short answer: They don't. It's Science Fiction. Beam me outta there.

    I usually have great patience with repeating threads that teach
    something. Not this one. It always turns into a "Yeah, remember when
    Fulano such-and-suched! Do they think we're idiots?" contest.

    If that's what you enjoy, search Google groups on that theme. Rich vein
    awaiting you.
    Frank ess, Mar 28, 2005
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  3. //snip//

    And you know this because?
    Toomanyputters, Mar 28, 2005
  4. Mtco

    Mtco Guest

    Are you saying it can't be done?
    Mtco, Mar 28, 2005
  5. Mtco

    cbrs Guest

    In the old days - lots of expensive computer capacity and well
    designed algorithms. Today - a fast computer processor, lots of
    memory, and a well designed algorithm.
    Probably first conducted by military /NSA-types for surveillance
    photos from aircraft /space - the process was significantly enhanced
    by the propeller-heads at places like Jet Propulsion Labs to produce
    those great space photos from space probes to Hubble to the Mars
    voyagers. Pretty amazing stuff - can be tailored to add /subtract
    /enhance / artifically color, etc. all or specific spectra / types of
    As for reading license plates - as you 'zoom' in blanks in information
    (image) become (painfully) evident. A well constructed algorithm could
    'best fit' probable fractals into the voids to artifically create
    information re: enhance resolution.
    An interesting product, available to consumers (and not all that
    expensive for what it does) is called GenuineFractals
    (genuinefractals.com) It allows enlargement of even small photo files
    up to 700% (according to the web site) without loss of resolution. A
    more enhanced version it available for photo professionals. Haven't
    tried it - but it sounds interesting.
    cbrs, Mar 28, 2005
  6. Mtco

    paul Guest

    I think there are some lenses with constant zoom so you can zoom in to
    focus then zoom back to re-frame but it's pretty unusual.
    paul, Mar 28, 2005
  7. Mtco

    cbrs Guest

    Ah, the old 'hardware' vs. 'software' conundrum...
    I think the old Perkin Elmer approach (high tech lenses /
    berrylium mirrors) to enhance resolution was great in it's day - but
    it's hard to argue against computers /algorithms to 'fill in the
    blanks'. Not only can they do that, but they can offer differing
    results based on degree of probability desired. In come cases the
    results are not all that different - in others, the results can vary
    dramatically (hence the need for human evaluators to place the
    possibilities in proper perspective re: in consideration of other
    evidence). License plates are not all that difficult of a subject.
    Uniform size, background color, font, font color. Not all that many
    variables (relatively) compared say to a rock on a planet millions of
    miles away.

    The technology is not 'science fiction.' It's used in countless
    fields today - from anthropology to cartography to industrial design
    and non-destructive testing (I miss the old days when engineers
    actually blew things up to see how well they were built). A good
    example is something seen commonly on TV - an engineer or animator
    drawing a wire-model, pressing a button - and a smoothed, final
    version appears. Just an algorithm filling in spaces (voids) based on
    probability (and the criteria entered by the user).
    cbrs, Mar 28, 2005
  8. Ummm, they are telling a story, and don't let hard facts get in the way?

    With proper sharpnening and interpolation you get some improvement, but not to
    the extent they show on TV.
    Michael Meissner, Mar 28, 2005
  9. Mtco

    Ron Hunter Guest

    They do that with 'trick photography'. There is some rather
    sophisticated software used by the NSA, but you couldn't afford the
    computers it runs on. Beyond that, forget it.
    It's just for TV/Movies.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 28, 2005
  10. Mtco

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Because some of us keep up with the latest innovations in computers and
    digital image processing. To do anything even similar (and most of what
    they show is downright impossible) to what you see requires
    supercomputers, multiple views from multiple angles, and some software
    you would need tons of ram to run. Don't expect to get that running on
    your system this week, or even next year. Come back in 10 years, and I
    may be able to tell you what you need. For now little can be done short
    of governmental budget figures.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 28, 2005
  11. Mtco

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Interesting, but disappointing.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 28, 2005
  12. Mtco

    RogBaker Guest

    Bottom line is it's fake. The digital information just is not there to
    zoom in to get a clear picture of something that is grainy. Some
    programs may be able to guess/approximate/interpolate the missing data,
    but it's just a best estimate, and probably not to the degree they lead
    you to believe.
    RogBaker, Mar 28, 2005
  13. Mtco

    MarkH Guest

    On TV they can take a digital image where the license plate is 1 pixel high
    and 4 pixels wide, they can zoom in and enhance and it looks like a clear
    sharp high res image of the plate.

    In real life you cannot read a plate when you only have 4 pixels total.

    Some of us understand that TV is not 100% realistic.
    MarkH, Mar 28, 2005
  14. Mtco

    cbrs Guest

    .. For now little can be done short
    Can't agree with that....

    According to the latest (Nov 2004) rating of the world's 500 fastest
    supercomputers - (see "Top 500 Supercomputer Sites") - #7 is the
    'home built' machine at Virginia Tech.
    1100 Apple G5 machines as a MPC. An absolute bargain at
    $2,060,000.00! ($2 mil for the machines / 60K to put it together).
    Bigger bang for the buck than dozens of lesser rated machines at
    government labs, nasa, etc. - and at a school that isn't in the same
    league as MIT, CalTech, etc. with all their government programs
    /support. In less than five years the same capacity will probably be
    available for < $4-500K. Right now, at $2 mill - undergrads have
    access to a supercomputer. In a few years, so will probably high
    school students.

    Look at the list. Non-technical government computers are not the
    power-boxes one imagines. Compared to JPL and the national labs,
    NSA has never been known for it's ability to design high-tech

    Relatively speaking, computing capacity to enhance images is dirt
    cheap. Granted, the images on the TV program are doctored (re:
    resolution /speed ) - but it's not that hard. Multiple angles, etc.
    would be nice to increase probability - but we're not looking to read
    license plates from space here. If 'run-of-the-mill' space images
    have resolutions < a few meters, images taken from a few dozen yards
    away are not all difficult to artifically enhance with varying degrees
    of probability.
    cbrs, Mar 28, 2005
  15. Mtco

    Pete D Guest

    Exactly right Mark, but tell that to Americans and they wont believe you,
    LOL. Bottom live is you can't make up what is not there.
    Pete D, Mar 28, 2005
  16. Mtco

    Pete D Guest

    Pete D, Mar 28, 2005
  17. Mtco

    Ryan Robbins Guest

    It's television.
    Ryan Robbins, Mar 28, 2005
  18. : Are you saying it can't be done?

    Not in the way that the TV shows portray it. In many interviews it has
    been revealed for this bit of stage trickery they simply start with a
    clear photo and apply a mosaic filter to it. The second image is then
    portrayed as the original. A simple fade to the original (clear) image
    makes the scene work.

    There are ways to bring out more detail from a photo to a certain extent.
    But the dramatic results as shown on the TV shows is WAY beyond the
    current capabilities of desk top computers. But even the most advanced
    system can not bring a readable license number out of a single pixel on a
    digital photo.

    Now the ability of certain individuals to fly without a plane as shown on
    TV has to be real. Right? :)


    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
    Randy Berbaum, Mar 28, 2005
  19. Jitter in some analog video signals can be used to boost the resolution
    a tiny bit, maybe double it. Super zoom enhancement seen on TV is the
    usual Hollywood crap.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Mar 28, 2005
  20. Mtco

    MarkH Guest

    It would be good if someone could explain how all cases are solved in one
    work shift (8-12 hours). In real life it is normal for a case to take
    weeks to solve and some take much longer.

    To do the digital image manipulation you need to first of all have a PC
    running Hollywood OS, then you need a magical image manipulation program
    that can create data that was never captured, then . . .
    MarkH, Mar 28, 2005
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