Forensic video analysis is the scientific examination, comparison, and/or evaluation of video in legal matters. In this situation, the video forensic process must be performed in a forensic lab that is equipped with the appropriate tools. Furthermore, the lab must follow best practice protocols to ensure integrity and accuracy of the video. Video authentication has similarities to audio authentication in that it is always best to preserve the original recording to remove all doubt about genuineness.
When the original recording is not available, the video forensic expert has to investigate several aspects of the video recording. The video forensic expert not only investigates the elements of the video recording itself, but also investigates the way the video recording surfaced, how it was created and the type of equipment that was used to create the video recording in question.
1. Establish that of the quality of the recording in question is acceptable and workable
2. Evidence marking for later identification by the forensic expert
3. Physical inspection of the evidence for specific characteristics that are noted by the expert
4. Digital data imaging and playback optimization
5. Examine the electronically recorded information on the digital or analogue video signal.
6. Vector and Waveform scope analysis to detect anomalies
7. Miscellaneous analysis based on the investigation thus far
8. Work notes and work product
9. Creating a forensic report
Due to rapid proliferation of surveillance cameras in public and private places, law enforcement and litigators are increasingly using this evidence. Fixed and mobile digital video recorders, as well as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems, are making it easier to capture crime scene video.
Digital video evidence is most commonly created by passive and active recording systems. A passive recording system is a recording system that doesn’t store information in its memory system. In contrast, an active recording system stores information in its memory system. Further, active recording systems are usually produced with a digital storage medium, such as a HDD, SSD, or Volatile (flash) memory. We have software and tools that can inject over 5,500 different proprietary formats for analysis. Additionally, we provide the video in a high-quality format that allows you to play the evidence in court using a Windows or Macintosh computer.
Most fixed and mobile Digital Video Recorder (DVR)-based surveillance systems employ proprietary computer OS and record digital video to proprietary formats. Yet, most provide the user with software to download the videos onto a computer. However, a majority of manufacturers downgrade the video during the export process.
As stated, it’s best to have a qualified video forensic expert download the videos using specialized software, so as to not alter the video. Usually, the first step is to create a disk image (clone) of the DVR’s hard drive per the evidence recovery protocol. Unquestionably, this is done to protect the probative information stored in the system’s volatile and non-volatile memory. What’s more, the technician must understand the file system structure on the primary and slave drive before performing a cloning.
Forensic video analysis and authentication are the scientific processes performed by a trained video forensic expert. The process determines events that occurred at the time of the video recording. In addition, CCTV cameras do not see the same as the human eye. Some of the video recordings we examine in our lab have been altered, either with malice or unintentionally altering the integrity of the evidence. As video forensic experts, we help our client attorneys understand any anomalies in the video recording we are asked to analyze. Then, we can perform several scientific tests to determine the nature of any anomalies.
Surveillance video recordings can be enhanced regardless if they were recorded during the day or at night. We have the software to clarify the recording. The success of the enhancement is directly proportionate to the enhancement techniques, resolution and frame rate of the video evidence.
We use basic software tools such as Adobe Premiere as well as advanced enhancement techniques to enhance or clarify video recordings to use as evidence. We create customized filtering to sharpen the video image and remove noise. This improves the identification and enhancement of the images in the CCTV Surveillance video recordings.
A video forensic expert has the scientific knowledge, training, and expertise necessary to enhance and authenticate video recordings to be used in court. Additionally, an expert witness should have previous courtroom experience testifying. Ultimately, their duty is to help the trier of fact, whether judge or jury, understand the video evidence that is presented.
It is the experts duty to provide a thorough documentation of retrieval. The courts must know exactly how the recording and/or video was retrieved, as to prove that it was not retrieved under false pretenses or inaccurately.