ARCHIVE

Posts Tagged ‘CCTV’

The Palace Brawl: The Significance of Video Evidence

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

204943_9062-300x225 The Palace Brawl: The Significance of Video EvidenceNovember 19, 2004 was the day the worst sporting brawl in US history took place. It was the final few minutes of the basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons when a fight broke out between the players. While Ron Artest was in time out, a drunken fan tossed a partially full beer cup and hit Artest causing him to jump over seats and attack a fan in the stands. With tempers running hot, Artest went after the wrong person and triggered an ‘every man for himself’ situation with only four Auburn Hills police officers in the building.

After the criminal litigations were over, the attorney for the Pacers, Steve Potter retained my services as a video forensic expert on behalf of the Indiana Pacers basketball team. My first activity was to collect all of the available video footage from that moment when the brawl broke out. As you can imagine there were many video sources. With the help of http://www.potterlaw.com/ , I found cell phone videos, CCTV system video from the Palace of Auburn Hills and four major television network multi camera video sources.

The next task was to cull through all the footage including multi camera views of the brawl and isolate those vantage point views that helped bring the brawl into the courtroom for the civil litigation.

I was prepared with several video clips when the first civil case went to trial, Haddad V Indiana Pacers on August 10, 2006. (Read all about it here).

Here are the video forensic activities I used to help the Trier of Fact and jurors’ view the brawl including all isolated incidents in question. After I received all video footage, I loaded the various formats into my forensic computer using Adobe Premiere Pro software.  I created sequences for each incident and placed the useful camera vantage point clips back to back in each sequence. Some events went by very fast so I repeated the video clips and added slow motion. In some cases I reduced the speed by 25%, 50% and 75% so all persons could see the series of events as they occurred.  When necessary I also added a zoom to enlarge the area of interest in each video clip.

In my opinion it is very important to place this series of clips back to back with a 5 second pause in between clips so the viewer can become acclimated with the series of events as they occurred.  For each clip vantage point there was an average of two to five minutes of video all persons could watch to see exactly what went down during the brawl.

Read more about the brawl:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacers%E2%80%93Pistons_brawl 

Footage from the infamous brawl can be found below:

Video Enhancement: What is and is Not Possible

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

1196094_53229389-300x225 Video Enhancement: What is and is Not PossibleAs a video forensic expert I am asked, on a regular basis, to enhance images that have been recorded. One of the goals of video enhancement, in some cases, is to be able to see persons faces better than they are when viewing the video under normal circumstances. Other times I am asked to enlarge and clarify a video in order to identify, for instance, the license plate on a car that is driving by that is alleged to be involved in criminal activity.

With video enhancement, as a forensic expert, I can only do so much with what has been given me. In a lot of cases, the video that has been exported from the surveillance system is small and when I enlarge it, or zoom in on the objects of interest they become very blurry and distorted. Even with some of the best software programs available today a full enhancement isn’t always possible. So, when receiving calls from attorneys or government agencies, as well as private individuals who are involved in litigation that has video evidence, what I’ve learned to do is to ask to see the video first on a pro bono basis before being retained as an expert. Because that way I can determine what is and is not possible before taking money from a potential client.

I feel this is important not only from an ethical standpoint but also from a practical one. Meeting any client’s expectations in any business is extremely important. Taking money from someone that you can’t help is not good business practice. At Primeau Forensics, I am assisted by a team of investigators that can load the video and perform some processes that I’ve trained them to do to prepare the video for a pro bono viewing and at that time I can look, make some suggestions, and determine whether or not I feel I can help the person enquiring about the video enhancement.

One tip that I can present to you, reading this blog, is to make sure you always have the highest possible quality export from the surveillance system. Police departments often send me video from a surveillance system that was not exported through the system but rather recorded from the VGA ‘out’ or video monitor output to a portable digital video recorder. There are several companies that manufacture this type of turnkey evidence retrieval system. And, in some cases, that video is better than what the system is capable of exporting. And, when in doubt, send the video forensic expert both files: the screen capture VGA out or video out from the system, as well as an export from the system. And by ‘export’ I mean, the process used from a CCTV surveillance system to officially export video from the system to a thumb drive or DVD.  And if you have the option to choose a thumb drive or DVD, oftentimes the digital file onto the thumb drive is better than the DVD. And when in doubt, send all three: the screen capture, the thumb drive and the DVD, because then we know up front what is and is not possible for video enhancement.

How to Enhance Security Camera Videos – Enhance Video Quality

Monday, September 30th, 2013

CCTV-300x231 How to Enhance Security Camera Videos - Enhance Video QualityHow to Enhance Video Quality

As a video forensic expert, CCTV enhancement (closed circuit television) is a day to day practice we perform on video recordings from both digital and analogue surveillance systems. Often times, the courts we testify in want to know how to enhance security camera videos. In the following post, Video Forensic Expert  describes CCTV enhancement and how to enhance CCTV camera videos to retain quality and clarify the recorded events. We will also cover the basics to best practices to ensure the most successful and accurate forensic video enhancement.

What is CCTV Enhancement?

CCTV Enhancement is done using non destructive techniques to preserve the video evidence integrity and pixel quality. Some of the most requested forensic video enhancement are licence plates. Clarifying or enhancing the events as they occurred assists the trier of fact to make determinations about the video events. 

As a video forensic expert we are asked to enhance recordings used as video evidence to clarify the events as they occurred. Video recordings used as evidence can be enhanced regardless if they were recorded during the day or at night. The success of the CCTV Enhancement is directly proportionate to the quality of the video recording. We can perform a preliminary analysis to make sure we  are confident in meeting our client’s expectations. 

Often times we are asked to provide forensic image enhancement as well for identification purposes. We use various software programs and CCTV enhancement tools to help us enhance or clarify (clarify is a much better word use in the courtroom) the desired video images. We create customized filtering to sharpen the video image and remove video noise for identification and enhancement of the images in the CCTV Surveillance video.

How to enhance video quality?

A variety of CCTV Enhancement techniques are applied in different arrangements on CCTV surveillance video recordings, smart phone video recordings, law enforcement dash camera recordings as well as other types of recordings used as video evidence. The most important ingredient to this scientific process is to maintain the highest quality of the video recording and establish a chain of custody. This yields the highest success possible throughout the investigation. If the analog video or digital video file has undergone additional compression, this video evidence will be limited to the enhancement possibilities.

 

  • Scaling/Pixel Interpolation: Re-size, or scale an image or video to a larger resolution to further identify suspects.
  • Sharpening: Enhances the edge contrast of an image or video.
  • Warp Stabilization: This is most common today with smart phone video evidence. Reduces the amount of movement from the user that created the video evidence.
  • Shadow and Highlight Adjustments (Exposure): Reveals subtle detail in the shadow and/or highlight areas of your images.
  • Frame Averaging: Increase the quality of the image by combining data from surrounding frames as well as a better signal to noise ratio (SNR) in your images or videos.
  • Speed Reduction: Decrease the original playback of video evidence to view the events as they occurred in more detail.

 

CCTV Enhancement Tips

First, take the necessary steps to preserve your original CCTV recording. You may have various export options for extracting the CCTV video from your system that you are not aware of. By preserving the original evidence, the opportunity for questioning the integrity of the CCTV video diminishes. This is especially true if the video recording is extracted from the original system. You can also consult a video forensic expert about the best methods and file format exporting options that your CCTV system is capable of.

Second, if a crime has been captured on a CCTV video system, you will want to export a copy for the local police. Most consumer based CCTV camera video systems have easy to follow instructions for exporting AVI files (courtroom ready format) directly to mobile storage. Most consumer based CCTV camera systems require a flash drive storage medium to export to. These drives are easily available at any office supply store like Office Max or Staples. The AVI formatted video is also easily view-able by an video forensic expert or investigator for immediate review.

CCTV enhancement is done using various software programs by a trained and qualified professional like video forensic expert. Pixels are enlarged, or otherwise adjusted, in order to bring out the necessary details or information about the crime that was committed. Most CCTV systems and their cameras have night vision that will record clear images of events as they occurred for forensic enhancement.

 

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.

Video as Evidence – CCTV Video and Video Forensics

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

CCTV-Evidence-1024x768 Video as Evidence - CCTV Video and Video Forensics

As a video forensic expert and expert witness, I have seen almost everything when it comes to Closed Circuit TV. Some of it is very disturbing, but much of it is benign – from the lady whose ex-husband is stalking her, to the bank that just captured a robbery on video. Understanding CCTV systems has become part of the video forensic examiner’s job because a majority of video evidence is made on CCTV systems. In the following article, I will give you my tips, from a forensic perspective, on CCTV.

Imagine this. You are the proprietor of a convenience store. Last night at 11:06, you rang up a customer’s Snickers bar and a Jumbo Slurpee. The customer reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun, and put it to your head, demanding all the cash in the register. Terrified for your life, you gave him the money. Luckily you had a CCTV system and turned the tape over to the police. The police sent it to a forensic expert because all you could see on the tape was a dark silhouette of the criminal. Unfortunately,the robber’s face and features were unidentifiable.

Although CCTV systems can prove to be beneficial for many reasons, they can be useless without some well thought out considerations. My hope is that the law enforcement and legal community will read this article and pass on the information to the businesses in their community.

CCTV is a network of cameras hooked to a monitoring system so that virious locations or angles can be viewed and/or recorded. It does differ from broadcast television in that CCTV cameras are not openly bradcast through the airwaves.  However, some CCTV systems have point-to-point transmissions (wireless cameras) that could be intercepted by someone with the equipment and knowledge to intercept that signals.

The benefits outweigh the drawbacks for implementing CCTV systems for several reasons.  Think of how CCTV systems have helped our traffic problems. Having cameras all over our roads and highways allows accidents and traffic jams to be discovered sooner so traffic can be rerouted. In banks, casinos, airports, shopping centers, business and military bases; CCTV systems can prove beneficial against crime.

There are some drawbacks that can really cause problems with CCTV systems.  These systems can be expensive.  They can be considered an invasion of privacy.  Also a system can fail because of a bad or over-recycled tape, and the crime will not be recorded.

For some strange reason, businesses who still use VHS tape to record their surveillance often insist in recycling their videos beyond a logical limit.  Then, when the expert needs to lift an image off for identification, fuzzy, blurry photos are produced.

In the convenience store example above, the camera was in the wrong position. A light was installed in a recently added display that was not in the store when the CCTV system was installed.  Nobody ever updated the CCTV system or performed maintenance to discover the problem.

The purpose of this article is to share some of my experiences with CCTV footage and provide some tips from a forensic experts point of view, sound advice to avoid costly mistakes and expensive forensic restoration.

Number one: Plan your CCTV system layout in advance.  Do not put in a CCTV system without planning for a potential crime circumstances.  What crimes could be executed under the watchful eyes of your CCTV system? You can call this crisis management.  Draw a diagram of this activity. Use it as your blueprint for locating your camera positions.  If you own a business that has a back lot to cover, don’t just mount the camera to the back of your building thinking it will do the job.  Consider what you have to protect, the value of these items, and the various ways a criminal could get at them. Then, place the camera(s) to cover all potential activity. Consider multiple cameras because, in the long run, it will save you money.

Because so many systems were not planned throughly in advance, the majority of my forensic cases involve video restoration and clarification. So much of this can be avoided.

Number two: Use a digital video recorder and record direct to hard drive. If at all possible, do not use VHS.  There are some great companies like Focus Micro and Crest electronics who specialize in DVR CCTV systems, maintenance of the system, and training your staff to use them properly.  They offer some excellent products and CCTV systems, and will even help you plan your system layout.

Here are some reasons DVR is superior to VHS:

  • Far Better Image Quality
  • The Ability to view cameras, live or recorded, from another location through the internet.
  • Ease in copying images from crime scenes.
  • No VHS tapes to change.

Number three: Make sure to account for lighting conditions, as well as sun positions.

About one out of ten of my cases require comparison of a frame of evidence from a darkly lit video with an exemplar frame or photo.  Make sure there is light where your camera is located.  If necessary, hire an electrician to put in a light or two near your camera, especially if the potential crimes that warrant the installation of your CCTV system can occur at night. Duh! I can hear the installed now: “Sure looked good in daylight!”

In addition, consider sun positions all year long. Remember sixth grade science class? The sun changes positions with the seasons. Bright sun facing the camera will cause the iris in the camera to close (in automatic position) causing the image of the perpetrator to darken.  Try this with your home camera.  Take a video of your friends with the un behind them instead of behind you.  The friends will appear dark because of the camera’s lenses adjusting for the high light level.

Number four: Plan camera positions for all possible situations.  I have heard it said that if you want to rob a bank, wear a baseball cap. Why is it that CCTV installers put the cameras in high positions that will never show the criminals face?

Number five: Keep your camera clean. Car dealerships wash their windows and cars weekly if not more often.  Why don’t they wash their cameras? Think about it. Many outdoor cameras are somewhat protected from the elements, but after a while, dirt will still gather on the surface of the camera lenses.

A solution of Shaklee basic H or white vinegar in hot water will clean them nicely without scratching or clouding the lenses or protective housing.  Harsh cleaning chemicals can scratch or cloud the glass, especially on plexiglas camera housings.

Number six: do not use wireless cameras.  If at all possible, run cable and go wired for your entire network.  Wireless cameras are unreliable, especially in storms.

Almost all maintenance can be performed by you or done very reasonably by a professional.  Avoid costly mistakes and tragedy by keeping your system maintained and updated. Use Google to seek a professional who can help with your circumstances.

Ed Primeau is an video forensic expert, author, professional speaker and business owner in Rochester Hills, MI. He is the author of two books, “The Art Of Production” and “The Video Revolution.” Visit primeauproductions.com for more info.

How To: CCTV Enhancement; Improve the Quality of My Video Evidence?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

CCTV_Evidence-1024x768 How To: CCTV Enhancement; Improve the Quality of My Video Evidence?You have a video and the quality is poor. You need to see the events recorded in the video more clearly than what is currently available. Chances are that your video is probably part of a court case and has a critical impact on the judge and jury better understanding the events as they originally occurred. Video is a very powerful tool and helps law enforcement display criminal activity in the courtroom. Video also helps keep businesses secure through the use of surveillance video. When a crime is committed and caught on CCTV video, video forensics experts can help clarify and enhance that video so the court and other litigators can see the events more clearly during the court proceeding. On the other hand, maybe you have an old video, like a wedding video that has aged and damaged from poor storage or became over heated on the dashboard of your car in the hot sun. Video forensic experts have the hardware and software tools available to restore that video to a playable condition in most situations. The success of the restoration, clarification and enhancement, depends on two things; how damaged the tape is and your expectations of what is possible. Many video recordings are too far gone for the forensic expert to properly restore. However, I have found over the years that experimenting with various restoration tools, hardware and software, in various combinations, yield results. You have to have a starting point to work from to achieve results. What may seem impossible can be very possible when using various tools in various combinations. If you have a video that needs the quality improved, call us for a pro bono consultation (800) 647-4281.

Expert Video Enhancement – A Matter of Life or Death

Friday, April 26th, 2013

1421018_91732563-1024x682 Expert Video Enhancement – A Matter of Life or DeathAs we have all witnessed from the recent Boston Bombings, having the technology and talent to accurately and clearly perform expert video enhancement. This is especially true when it comes to criminal forensic image clarification from surveillance security cameras.

A trained specialist using sophisticated software can make blurry or seemingly impossible-to-see images so clear that unique facial features are revealed, leading to positive identification of a suspect or criminal.

The FBI engaged a team of experts to enhance images of the two bombing suspects to the point of positive recognition.  As a result, several friends and family members of the suspects came forth, providing valuable information to the authorities.

Within 24 hours after the enhanced photos were released, suspect one was killed and suspect two was captured.   The power of video enhancement prevented an unknown amount of possible additional deaths by the two bombers. Watertown residents can feel safe in their homes once again.

At Primeau Forensics, we have a team of video forensic experts that employ the latest technology available to enhance surveillance video. We investigate video evidence that helps the court better see (and hear) the events as they occurred working closely and strategically with authorities like police or prosecutors as well as lawyers.

We have the technology and experience to acquire clear images, measure objects and suspects, and the ability to look for other clues in the surveillance video to aid in the litigation or criminal proceeding.

If you have any questions about video enhancement, give us a call for a pro bono consultation at (800) 647-4281

Boston Marathon Bombing and the Video Forensic Process

Friday, April 19th, 2013

After the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the FBI immediately went to work investigating all available video evidence to begin the video forensic process.

Several sources of video evidence were available for FBI forensic examiners, including:

The first camera that FBI investigators began working with to clarify images was from the Lord and Taylor retail store directly across the street from one of the explosion sites. FBI video forensic experts were able to locate digital video recordings of a suspect placing a backpack at that location.

Review of the additional municipal CCTV surveillance video revealed 2 suspects walking calmly down the street both carrying backpacks.

One of the questions I have been asked over the last several days during the media interviews is how will authorities set up a video forensic triage.

The term triage is used in this instance as a way to describe the almost incomprehensible task of reviewing surveillance video.

First, the authorities had to establish a chain of command.  This began by assigning a person in charge of leading the video forensic investigation.  It continued by identifying the FBI agents with the most experience and talent with video enhancement.

The result video and pictures were released to the media in about 6 hours. Boston police and FBI agents had several reports of the suspect’s sightings. As America woke this morning, one of the suspects was shot and killed while the other remains at large.

Any situation that receives video forensic investigation requires a strategy for implementing video forensic best practices.  It is very obvious that the American people can rest assured that our law enforcement community is well trained and experienced with crisis situations. Thanks to our FBI it appears the Boston bombing investigation is nearly complete.

Getting the Most Quality Out of Your (or Your Neighbor’s) CCTV

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

CCTV_01-1024x712 Getting the Most Quality Out of Your (or Your Neighbor’s) CCTVYou have had a crime committed at your place of business but you do not have a closed circuit television system in place that could have captured some video recording of the crime as it was committed.

With the large number of closed circuit television systems that are currently installed in businesses today even if you don’t have a closed circuit television system consider surrounding businesses or neighbors who might have outdoor cameras that partially cover the area where your incident may have occurred.

As a video forensic expert I often receive video recordings from closed circuit television systems that are in neighboring businesses that cover a theft, an act of vandalism, arson, a breaking and entering, and these videos help bring at least part of the crime into the investigative stages.

They may not be optimum situations, as if your business had its own surveillance system that caught the criminal act more closely, it’s still video footage that can help an investigator understand more about the crime that was committed.

One of the first steps that I take as a video forensic expert in examining ‘neighboring surveillance’ video is to consider what is the maximum image size and resolution of the video export (video removed from the CCTV system for litigation). Has the video that recorded the crime been exported properly? The larger the resolution or screen size the more dots that are in the video, the better the image recovery quality or images of the crime for investigation.

If your video evidence has a low resolution, or screen size, there is a limited amount of enlargement that can be performed before the video becomes too pixelated (blurry) to be of use to the forensic expert. Therefore, zooming in to key components that an investigator would be interested in is very difficult and it could have been improved on had the cooperating neighbor, with all good intent, exported a larger resolution screen size of that video.

So when you encounter a crime and discover closed circuit television footage that was caught on a neighbor’s system help that neighbor do good for your litigation and bring on a forensic expert to help export the highest quality possible from that surveillance system, because the higher the video quality in, the better the video evidence out.

The Importance of Remote Access Video Surveillance Systems (CCTV)

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Video-Surveillance-Systems-768x1024 The Importance of Remote Access Video Surveillance Systems (CCTV)It is a well known fact that closed circuit television (CCTV) systems help to deter crime. In fact, if a building has a CCTV system installed, any crime committed at that building will be recorded on video from the closed circuit television system. In addition to being a deterrent to crime, CCTV systems also record crime and criminal activity.

The truth about the series of heinous events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut will most likely become clear when reviewed on the school’s closed circuit television system. The police are most likely viewing this CCTV footage in an attempt to better understand the gunman’s activity and methodology for gaining entry into the elementary school and how an event such as this can be prevented in the future. If the school had been equipped with a remote access system an employee (such as the principal) could have tripped an alarm and authorities would have had immediate knowledge of the situation.

Besides shootings and other public crimes, closed circuit television systems also record other types of crime like ‘on-the-job’ crime (employee theft or other illegal activity), breaking and entering and vandalism.

Many newer digital CCTV systems also have Internet access capability. The digital video recorder can be connected to the Internet and the administrator or anyone else who has administrative privileges can sign in remotely to the closed circuit television system from anywhere in the world to view the camera coverage. This remote access is very handy to help prevent crime and keep a building secure for many reasons.

Some employers want to be able to view the activities of their employees during working hours. This can help cut down on people not doing their job as well as activities that are, at worst, illegal, or are against company policies. These activities are often curtailed once employees know about the live CCTV system because they could be at risk of losing their jobs if they are ‘caught’ by the CCTV cameras. Some employees become outraged at the fact that the employer installed a remote access CCTV system and that their day-to-day business activities could be viewed and recorded but it is sometimes necessary.

There are also safety features to remote access CCTV systems. Banks and other financial institutions have done a great job securing their vulnerable environment through the use of CCTV systems. As a video forensic expert I have viewed several bank robbery CCTV videos to create still images from the surveillance video that help identify the criminals.

If a disaster were to occur at a business establishment, police and law enforcement officials could access the CCTV system and view events that are occurring in order to determine how to best handle the disaster. Hostage situations could be better strategized before police gain entry into the building where the hostages are being held.

Below is a video demonstrating the benefits of remote CCTV access for a business establishment.

 

Best Practices for Digital Video Evidence

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

digital-video-1024x768 Best Practices for Digital Video EvidenceOne of the day to day activities of a video forensic expert is to determine if a digital video recording is an exact representation of the facts as they occurred at the time of the recording. In order to do this, the video expert must know how the digital video recording was created. There is a series of best practices for digital video evidence that is followed in the forensic lab.

For example, was the video recorded on a closed circuit television system? Who was responsible for exporting the copy that has been provided for examination? This is a particularly important question because the integrity of that copy is proportionate to the experience of the person who removed it from that closed circuit television system.

If the video evidence is on a portable media device, such as a CD-ROM disc, a DVD-ROM disc or an external hard drive or thumb drive, then we know beyond a reasonable degree of certainty that that digital video was removed from the original security surveillance system or digital video recorder (DVR). It’s not a problem working from a copy as long as both sides in the litigation understand and agree to the authenticity of that copy. However, whenever there is a doubt as to the authenticity of that digital video on that external media, then the original digital video recording must be examined in its native environment, which is the original digital video recorder that is part of the closed circuit television system.

When an export copy video from a closed circuit television system is used in courts without debate, both sides in the litigation agreed that this export copy  is an actual representation of the facts as they occurred. Because of this, there was no dispute as to whether or not it was an original because it didn’t matter. The digital format, when cloning, is technically all considered “originals” because of the digital formatting. In other words, it’s all “Xs and Os” and meta data that has been transferred from a digital video recorder or computer hard drive. Just like when making copies of a compact disc for a friend, the copy, if done properly, sounds just as good as the original. But I digress. When there’s a dispute over the contents of an exported digital video recording and the original has to be sought to approve and display the facts as they occurred, the video forensic expert’s job is now to go back to the source that created the digital video recording and obtain a copy of it through supervised procedures of exporting. That way the forensic expert and both parties in the litigation have no dispute as to whether or not that digital video recording is authentic and true.

Oftentimes the original video recording is no longer available because of the time that it takes for cases to rotate in court. As a forensic video expert I often receive evidence copies for authentication, examination, clarification and restoration up to a year—and even two years—after they were recorded. When there’s doubt to the integrity of this video evidence and the original is no longer available because of the “first in, first out” operation of closed circuit television systems, then it’s the forensic video expert’s job to find clues within that digital video recording to help process the litigation.

When working in a Windows-based PC forensic laboratory, I have discovered that some of the closed circuit television exports do not play properly, if at all, on the Windows 7 operating system. This is why we have older versions of Windows operating systems in our laboratory. It’s a best practice of a forensic expert to be prepared for any situation in order to conduct a proper video forensic investigation.

Occasionally the forensic video expert must use screen capture technology in order to retain a portion of the closed circuit television recording for clarification purposes. Recording a portion of the closed circuit television video using screen capture technology allows me to create a file format that is suitable for forensic investigation. Closed circuit television systems record video using a proprietary format that is native to the original operating system of the digital video recorder. This is why the footage is considered secure, and authentic—because it was recorded in an “armored car” environment. This security often interferes with a video forensic investigation because, depending on the source of the copy that has been given to the forensic examiner, the proper CODECS may not be available to the forensic expert in order to view that surveillance footage. Therefore, one of the first activities that a forensic expert does in that situation is to try to find the CODECS proprietary to that surveillance system in order to get one of the Windows operating systems to play that video footage for examination. Once the video forensic expert plays and views the original footage using the proper CODEC, a screen capture software program is used to create a new file of that surveillance video. Once that new video footage has been created, the digital video is then imported into a forensic video software program for investigation, authentication, clarification, restoration or any other activity necessary to help process the litigation. Of course, the forensic video expert records their process, which is accepted in the scientific community and aids the forensic video expert in compiling a report at the conclusion of their investigation.

All of these activities are best practices of a forensic video expert. With technology changing faster than ever, it is the forensic video expert’s job to be able to know where to go to find answers to difficult situations caused by lack of understanding of the originator of the video evidence. Sometimes security personnel who export the original video evidence from the closed circuit television system are not aware of the fact that in order to view that digital footage, the player or the software must be embedded on the media where the file is being transferred to. Instead, security personnel sometimes just export one of the digital video files from the closed circuit television system without realizing a specific CODEC is necessary for future viewing of that footage.

As a scientific community we are always learning additional best practices for examining digital media evidence. I welcome any feedback or communication from anyone who reads this post and has a comment about any of their best practices experiences or anything that has been written in this blog post.

Video Forensic Expert Edward J Primeau Curriculum Vitae

download-cv


sidebar map
sidebar video
forensic associations