Finding a Face in the Crowd

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We've worked with Las Vegas based Kemp Jones on several personal injury cases, but Will Kemp recently brought us something a little bit different. He had unearthed some broadcast TV footage of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain in 1994. Will participated in that year's run, and he's in the video– you just have to know where to look. Will wondered what we could do to enhance the footage. The answer, as we've written about before, was... it's complicated.

The video is low resolution, heavily compressed, and Will is one person in a large crowd, nearly all of whom are wearing white shirts. Though we can't do much to enhance the clarity of the original footage, we can employ some visual tools to help the viewer identify Will. We didn't want to do too much: slow motion or persistent annotations might help identify Will, but they would make the video less interesting to watch and diminish the context and energy of the event itself. We wanted to see Will, and the rest of the crowd of runners, and the bulls!

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Will Kemp is somewhere in this crowd

The strategy we settled on was this: each time Will appears in a shot, we paused the video briefly and highlighted him with a thick white line. We also dim the background slightly to increase the contrast and zoom in slightly. Now when playback resumes at normal speed, the viewer knows where to look and can track Will as the crowd moves.

We also deployed a very subtle highlight on Will throughout the video, making him just a bit brighter than the rest of the crowd– Take a look and see if you notice it!


Joel Newman is a Senior Designer at Fat Pencil Studio