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Video Forensics

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.

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.

WHAT TYPES OF RECORDERS CREATE DIGITAL VIDEO EVIDENCE?

  • CCTV DVR (Closed Circuit Television Digital Video Recorder)
  • CCTV NVR (Closed Circuit Television Network Video Recorder)
  • MDVR (Mobile Digital Video Recorder)
  • Body Camera
  • Taser Camera
  • Concealed Camera
  • Mobile Phone
  • Police Dash-cam
  • Mobile DVRs, as well as bus mobile DVR systems
Image shows video editing software.

DIGITAL VIDEO FORMATS

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.

Image shows DVR file inventory.

Acquisition of Video Evidence

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.

Image shows a photo of a license plate before and after enhancement.

VIDEO ANALYSIS/AUTHENTICATION

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.

Image shows courtroom with screens for info to be shown.

EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY

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.