Tools of the Trade

For all your discussion of canon policies, evidentiary standards, and other meta-debate issues.

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2046
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Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:11 pm

There are many ways of analyzing evidence. Some people have felt that their methods are semi-proprietary . . . that is, there's no need to tell adversaries the easiest ways to do things. But that's silly, in the long run. It's one thing to not hand-hold someone through their own argument, but it's quite another to withhold one's workflow kung-fu or, worse, methods. I know I'm guilty of not having told every little detail of my workflow, back in the day. In the modern era it's trivially easy to locate software to do just about anything, so it's hardly the sort of thing that will empower adversaries. Besides, if you save them a minute's frustration trying to figure out the best program for frame-by-frame analysis, maybe they'll spend that minute actually thinking before they respond.

(Especially now as we frequently watch the proponents of global warming jealously guard their data thus preventing others from replicating their results or even testing them, this sort of thing being in the "wrong" column is even more obvious than before.)

There are different approaches unique to every individual, and we all have what works best for us. But there is always room for improvement.

For instance, you could deal with novel evidence by typing out from the novel every time you want to quote it . . . or you could have the e-book and copy and paste. You could take photographs of your television, or you could pop a DVD in your drive and use an awesome program that will snatch a screenshot of just the frame you want.

And so on.

So, let's go ahead and share our methods. Preferably I'll come along at the end and make a neat and tidy list under headings like "Video Analysis Tools" or "Sharing Tools" and so on.

For me, there are the perennial favorites:

The KMPlayer - (Not KMPlayer) . . . this is my favorite for general watching of evidence. It has a nice simple interface and frame-by-frame. Many people like VLC but I find it a less enjoyable experience. On the other hand, the 3.0 version of The KMPlayer is a little different and honestly I haven't used it enough to say if it is still good.

VirtualDub - For video analysis I am unaware of anything that comes closer to perfection. The frame-by-frame capabilities are exquisite, and the ability to easily make a cut scene is almost unparalleled.

Audacity - The best tool for audio analysis. It rivals the capabilities of CoolEdit from the late 90's, and may exceed them in some respects. (CoolEdit was eaten up by Adobe and turned into some expensive bloated crap, as Adobe always does.)

WinGREP - The best tool for digging through text files. You can not only perform powerful searches with many parameters, but you can also set it up to give you the paragraphs in the search results so that you don't actually have to open the files to get the quote or context of the usage. And of course this beats Windows search hands down.

Sketchup - Google's little CAD toy is powerful enough and has a usable enough interface to make it adequate for beginners, unlike Blender or similar "unique-UI" programs.


Mac and Linux users should also chime in. I know VLC and Audacity are also on Linux, for instance, and WinGREP is just a Windowsy version of a Linux tool. VirtualDub is not on Linux, but AVIDemux sounds like a similar animal (and IIRC VirtualDub was trying to be AVIDemux on Windows at some point).

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by Mike DiCenso » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:25 pm

Nice listing there, Robert. But it's now moved to Rules of Evidence.
-Mike

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:03 pm

Screenshot tutorial for VirtualDub:

http://sonkitty.livejournal.com/220512.html

Bear in mind also that your codecs are quite important. The beauty of The KMPlayer is that it has all internal codecs which at one point could run circles around VLC, but VDub can't use them so you still need them. I had good luck with the K-Lite codecs pack, but YMMV. I never liked the CCCP pack (dirty commies).

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:18 pm

Also, PowerMenu 1.5.1 ... I use it because you can have windows on top of each other and make one semi-transparent, extremely useful when you have a screenshot or video you are trying to match using Sketch-Up or the similar program of your choice.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:08 pm

Codecs, ha, the sick shit that. Your PC so rapidly becomes a mess, you don't even know what you have piled somewhere on C anymore, past a point. You don't even know how certain packs and isolated necessary codecs may behave together once on the same PC. I've spent eons fiddling with winamp to get it read all FLVs, no fortune. Some files work, not all. I still need that damned FLV player (skip the latest versions imho, it's more hassle than good).
FLV, because youtube. Youtube, because cutscenes.
Grab 'em (with Firefox, use Flash Video Downloader, simply the best I've seen thus far).
You'll need something to convert FLV files to AVIs (or else, even MOV are good), of course.
I use "FLV to AVI MPEG WMV 3GP MP4 iPod Converter".

Oh, Robert, I figure you may want to drop a hint about that Sketchup add-on you used to get the volumes of those 3D models. Seems very useful -- as long as the models are properly "sealed", right?

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:46 pm


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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:23 pm

Do you have reading comprehension problems ? Image
I was talking about that!

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:04 am

Mr. Oragahn wrote:
Do you have reading comprehension problems ? Image
I was talking about that!
Sorry, Jasonb, I guess your eloquence was just too much for my simple mind. Did you have a specific question?

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:38 pm

2046 wrote:
Mr. Oragahn wrote:
Do you have reading comprehension problems ? Image
I was talking about that!
Sorry, Jasonb, I guess your eloquence was just too much for my simple mind. Did you have a specific question?
YES! My glab mollew star destroyer labal not is folbeb calculatar guewbe sei nokai woale techuioleo else websswblebleble...

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Re: Tools of the Trade

Post by 2046 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:17 pm

For analyzing frames or drawing big honkin' dammit-look arrows on things I favor The GiMP, but if you wish to avoid that program because it is too featureful and weird then Paint.Net is a good choice for Windows users who can deal with Windows Paint but want something a little beefier.

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