Adobe Audition Has Its Day in Court
Q & A with Audio Forensic Expert Edward Primeau
By Eric Philpott | June 12, 2013
As an audio forensic expert, Michigan-based Ed Primeau has analyzed thousands of audio and video recordings for both the prosecution and the defense for criminal and civil cases in Federal, State and local courts. In his work, he enhances and clarifies, restores, identifies and then testifies about his findings regarding the veracity and contents of the recordings.
An Adobe user since Adobe Premiere 4.5, Primeau still uses Adobe Premiere Pro, along with After Effects for video analysis. A major area of focus for Primeau is voice identification and he typically completes 40 to 50 voice identification cases each year. For that, and all other audio forensics work, Ed Primeau relies exclusively on Adobe Audition.
Q: How did you get into audio forensics?
In 1984, while attending the University of Detroit majoring in communications, I began my career as an audio engineer working for Ambience Recordings. While at Ambience, I was approached by the FBI to do some work for them.
The FBI asked me to enhance some NAGRA reel-to-reel tapes that had been recorded by a confidential informant. These tapes contained background noise which they wanted me to remove so the conversation could be heard. I wish I had Adobe Audition back then. In those days all our audio forensic equipment was external component hardware.
Q: How does Adobe Audition help you do your job?
The hardware tools I once used externally are all available now within this software. The mastering and analysis workspace can be modified with different views depending on each case investigation. I am able to see the sound wav formation using the Spectral Frequency Display. Also, the convenience of the metadata display really speeds up the audio authentication process.
Q: What tools in Adobe Audition do you use?
The noise reduction, speech volume leveler, declipper and FFT filter are some of my favorite tools in Audition and help me begin my investigations by understanding how much a recording can be enhanced. It’s not as flashy as it looks on TV, but it’s pretty cool how much you can do. And by the way, that usually is Adobe Audition you see in the background whenever there is audio forensics being depicted on TV!
Q: What is the most interesting thing about the work you do?
I really enjoy audio restoration and clarification, because that is when you are able to tell what is actually being said in a conversation in a recording. It’s real-life detective work.
Q: Would you recommend Audition for people who work with audio?
Adobe Audition is ‘everything audio.’ If you are an audio forensic expert or an audio engineer, there is no other program that has the convenience of the workflow flexibility options that Audition has. This program is bullet proof. It never fails. If you are in Audio Forensics or Audio Engineering, Audition is a must-have program.
Q: Will you be joining Adobe Creative Cloud?
Yes! For someone who makes a living with their tools, Creative Cloud is a no-brainer. I use several Adobe applications, so the value proposition is obvious, but I love the features coming to Audition CC and I love the idea of automatically keeping my tools up to date. I’m in.
To learn more about Primeau Forensics, visit http://www.audioforensicexpert.com
To learn more about Adobe Audition visit http://adobe.ly/12DQkQl
Get articles like this in your inbox: Sign Up
Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s rules 16 CFR Part 255 This article was either written by Adobe employees or for Adobe by an outside contractor. It is intended for the Adobe Channel on ProVideo Coalition, which Adobe sponsors.