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All this CSI Bull**** Answered

Well, as I'm watching a csi clone as many people will know as Crossing Jordan (Is she crossing a river? What a mystery all in itself). Why do these show writers think that you can do extra-ordinary technological things in their crime labs that we can't actually do in this current day and age, not nearly as well as what they show us. For example, as in pretty much every episode of CSI, there is some image, some security footage or the such, they "clear up" the image or make a shitty black and white video camera tape look crisp and sharp like it's hd and they can read the letters on a newspaper that someone is holding sitting on a bench like 500 feet away.

This people is not possible, not ever. You cannot "extrapolate" pixels out of pixels that aren't already there. If your security camera is 640x480 resolution or the such, say it's pointed to your wall at the end of your living room for example. Something up close, like 5-10 feet away from the camera, the pixel representation of the actual object is fairly well represented digitally and the object is readable usually, maybe with a bit of image tweaking. But say you have a big living room and you need to read a newspaper that is strangely pinned to your wall by a stranger. If it's too far away, the camera sees a lot of the text as big blockly black or white pixels, and each bit of the newspaper isn't captured pixel by pixel, just a representation of what it would look like. But on a pixelated camera, you're never going to be able to pull pixels out of pixels that aren't there like I already said, it makes no sense. And on these csi shows, they're seen doing crazy shit like pulling a liscense plate number from a police car footage tape of the car BEHIND the cruiser by "extrapolating" the pixels they seemed to be able to read the license plate by using the left mirror of the car in front of the cruiser, and to that, this would imply that the car behind was parked to the left of the cruiser, but in reality in the show itself, the car was right behind cruiser where you wouldn't have been able to see the plate anyways.

Stuff like matching blood spatter marks to certain cuts on victims or the such, I know this can and is done in real life to a certain point and degree, everything you see in csi is based apon what is used in the real force. But the difference is that in CSI it is SUPER EXAGGERATED way beyond what's possible in real life. I've finally ran out of typing energy so you guys are spared any more of my rant but holy **** I can not figure out how people enjoy CSI so much seeing as it's soooooooo fake in reality. How many other people think it's fake like me?


If you want to see "unrealistic" watch any of the original Dr. Who series that had dinosaurs, etc in them. Why didn't they just use hand puppets and get it over with? It would have looked better. LOL

Well at least it was science fiction, CSI is intended to be real life like, whether or not that's what it actually is.

Hmm, if it was intended to be "just like real life"; like any policeman will tell you, no one would watch it. 99% of most "police" life is very boring, yet there have been many police shows on (I once read that the NYC police force thought that Barney Miller, a comedy police show awhile back, was the most "realistic" cop show on television LOL.

So, most of it is provided for entertainment value, as has been already said, rather then being "accurate"

"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me..." X-Files


10 years ago

ON enhancing images: Analog is much more enhanceable than digital. Think microfilm and microfische. Got an old picture of grandpa reading the paper? With a microscope you might be able to read it too! Done that! Trying to enhance digital images you'll never get past those square pixels. Old CCTV cameras don't compress at all so if something doesn't move much in one second, you actually may combine 60 frame images and get beyond HDTV resolution.

That's what I was about to say, about combining video frames.

I enjoy watching CSI (Miami being tops) probobly becuase of the un-realism, it just makes me ROTFLOL. I pesonaly prefer "Criminal Minds".

Oh my gosh, Criminal Minds is so unrealistic it made me both want to laugh and cringe at the same time. It was brutal. The gore and violence were highly realistic though, it made me sick.......

criminal minds owns! and everyone you have to remember that it is TV not a documentary.. its entertainment... besides most people dont actually know that most of it is not possible.


10 years ago

Yeah, TV dramas suck, because they don't have near the budget/time to make something of as good quality of a movie, so it's always sh***y acting.

I REALLY hate all that crap they always have in movies and s*** where the computer screens are always shiny blue and have like 50 things (random graphs) on them and they make random noises all over the place. It makes me wanna crap on a sheep.

Or the ones where they didn't care to match scan rates with the tv, and the screens roll and flicker so hard you can't read them (I see this on the news a lot too).

Not that all movies are good, of course.

The CSI show is just one of the so many modern version of Scooby-Doo. =o)

And yes, sometimes, it's totally ridiculous how they change a ultra-pixelized picture into an hi-definition one ...

They usually have computer with a new algorithm that a guy or a girl from the lab has just coded. They run the program and they show you a slow and blurry real-time interpolation. And all of a sudden : "POP !", an hi-def picture appears on the screen ............


It's called "super-resolution", and yes, these types of algorithms *do* exist. For example, they have been used by NASA to get images at a higher resolution than was available from the cameras on the Mars rovers.

The basic idea is that you take multiple low-resolution images of the same scene, which are each slightly offset. By analyzing the overlap between each of the bigger pixels, they are able to resolve finer structures than the pixels themselves. (The actual implementation tends to be far more sophisticated than this, but that's the principle anyway.)

And no, your typical crime lab does NOT tend to have those types of algorithms just lying about. Although I wouldn't be surprised if they had a little list of civilian image processing experts they could call upon if the case warranted it...

In each case you link, it's either just fairly standard noise reduction algorithms, or combining multiple images (frame averaging.) Most of this stuff is either available commercially, or in development at universities. It's not terribly secret.

There are undoubtedly some "double secret image processing" techniques, but you can be sure of one thing--you cannot get something from nothing. There are 'predictive' algorithms, that may do a very impressive job of re-imaging a photograph, but there is no guarantee the results are accurate from a forensic POV (or a military one, although I bet they are used, accuracy be damned.)

In the case of true multiple images (not an unsharp mask technique) you actually have more real information, so enhancing isn't such a stretch. Anytime you combine more than one real image, you eliminate noise.

I recall seeing a demo of this 20 years or so ago: a video of a 'flying saucer', filmed with a super 8mm camera was analyzed. Successive frames of the 'UFO' were corrected for movement, then averaged. Once done, it was obviously an airplane.

I agree with the doubters here--the way they easily pullup a radically improved image just doesn't happen. The frame-averaging techniques are real, but take lots of time and tweaking, and are almost unusable with a moving subject....

Yeah, in csi, they hit a single button (which in itself is ludicrous because in this day and time you can't just push a key and have it perform a series of image enhancements.

hehe, my rant wasn't quite up to yours, but pretty bad...

That was a short rant, what are you talking about?

Wow, this "super-resolution" technology looks interesting. Those TV shows would looks more credible if they showed this little detail that makes the difference : they use several low resolution pictures to make a higher resolution one.

I wonder if I can Extrapolate pixels out of my basic cable and get HD with this new fangled "super-res" technobable everyone is talking about.

Not surprisingly there isn't much information on that wikipedia page. And I thought NASA used super high res cameras for their rovers, that's just a waste of time flying out there otherwise.

Yes, I forgot to add that, it definatly doesn't happen real time these days, maybe ibm can, but they keep all their murders secret within the company

**** I can not figure out how people enjoy CSI so much seeing as it's soooooooo fake in reality. How many other people think it's fake like me?

The answer lies in the answer to this question: Why do so many like to watch "wrestling", Sci-Fi, or read novels, or watch anything that is basically not real or true? Entertainment, mostly.

Personally, I like good sci-fi for the ideas to gives me......my warp drive will be coming out soon......

Are you entering the Instructable in the new contest?

Well, I had another one in mind; one that didn't bend space and time so that I ended up seeing that I lost the contest before I started making the instructable


I will say that in some of the better ones the outcome in the end of the show is fun to see, but some parts of the show just make me shake my head, or change the channel.

Ah.. A post from PG that's not about amps and speakers.
No offense dude, just joking.. :)

It is possible for the software to make intelligent guesses in filling up the pixels when an image is blown up. But instead of one clear image, they will end up with a whole set of guessed images, none would be even near hi-def. They then would have to decide which image represent what they think they're looking for :)

CSI is certainly an exaggeration.

And I think most people know that it's an exaggeration, but sometimes they over-do it.

Yeah, you could maybe tweak the image to make it better, but its not going to be nearly as good as they do it...


10 years ago

I agree, but have a different axe to grind....

What's with the ridiculous lighting in the scenes, especially the lighting in the lab? Lots of theatrical gels, splashing all sorts of inappropriate colors all over. Very silly for a work environment.

Still photographers used colored gels a lot for high-tech photos about 10-12 years ago. It's a very out-of-style look today....almost as if the producers picked up a bunch of old corporate brochures from a coffee table and screamed "THAT'S THE LOOK WE WANT!!!"

because its fiction, and all of those exaggerated things are what makes the show sell. of course its fake. just like taking dna from the crime scene. even though you have it, whos is it? take a hair for instance. it could be the victim, the killer, the victims ex lover, the cat, the dog, a friend, etc... but it always seems to be the person they are after... at least it was in the 2 times i actually watched the show.