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Defense & Security

Faster method to analyze video from security cameras

The Economist
15 June 2011

A new approach to video analysis is providing a lightning-quick way to scan hours of footage recorded by security cameras.

An image-processing technology developed by BriefCam, (Israel) makes looking through closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage a breeze. In some cases, 24 hours of video from a security camera can be searched in less than a minute.

The process works by showing only the bits that move. It essentially creates a summary of all moving events and plays that back as a synopsis superimposed over the static background image.

So a camera watching a gate through which only a dozen people pass each day would appear to be a much busier gate, with a dozen people using it in a few seconds. Because the video is not speeded up, each person moves at his or her actual pace. And at any time during the review an operator can switch to see the original video footage.

Because the summary displays all moving events, it is less likely than software to miss something. It still relies on the instinct and experience of human operators, but it makes better use of their time by editing irrelevant bits of video.

Shmuel Peleg of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is BriefCam's co-founder and chief scientist.