Forensic Video Authentication and Analysis

Often times we receive video evidence that has been copied,  and makes the analysis process difficult.  The Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE & IOCE) defines Original Digital Evidence as ,”The physical items and the data objects associated with such items at the time of acquisition or seizure.” In other words,  when the video evidence has been removed from the system that created it, it is susceptible to manipulation and tampering, and is no longer an original. The forensic video analysis process involves several steps that help the court better understand the history of video evidence that is being presented in the litigation.  When a copy has been produced as evidence that is not an original it’s important for all persons in the litigation to know that the video is authentic and represents the events as they occurred accurately.

Forensic Video Authentication Process:

  • Establish a Chain of Custody: Determine how the video evidence was created, and who was involved in transporting & obtaining the evidence from the source. The most original video evidence is crucial for maintaining this chain of custody. 
  • Video Evidence Recovery: Sometimes it is necessary to recover the video evidence onsite when the original is available.  This process assists the video forensic expert through examining the equipment that created the video recording. 
  • Physical Inspection: Examine the video evidence for signs of physical tampering, scratches, or dis-assembly. 
  • Intake: Create a bit for bit clone or carbon copy & HASH test analysis
  • Visual Inspection: Carefully watch the video evidence. Use Frame by Frame analysis, Vector Scope Analysis, and Vector Detection Analysis, Slow Motion Analysis. 
  • Digital Inspection: Examining the digital properties of video evidence such as, EXIF or Metadata and Hexadecimal information, is crucial to determine if manipulation is present. 
  • Research the Equipment: It is important to the Video Forensic Expert to familiarize themselves with the equipment that was used to create the video evidence. Every case is a research project! 
  • Create an Exemplar: Re-Create the events as they occurred using the same technology or digital recorder that created the video evidence. Reverse Projection is an example using people. 
  • Observation: Note inconsistencies & anomalies. Create a formalized report stating results, and opinions.
  • Courtroom Testimony: Document the video authentication process, providing notes taken, and state all forensic findings about the authenticity of the video evidence.  The forensic report is used as the basis for courtroom testimony by the video forensic expert.


If you have a video that you question or need help understanding, please give me a call for a pro bono conversation. I apply my forensic expertise to cases in the United States and many countries around the globe. Any and all formats of audio and video accepted. Retainer agreement available on request; travel expenses will be quoted in advance excluding meal expenses and flat rate time for travel instead of hourly.

Click HERE to email your questions or

Call 800-647-4281 in the USA or +01-248-853-4091 Internationally.

Ed Primeau’s Curriculum Vitae has several references which include cases he has testified in as well as clients he has worked for in these cases.