Video footage can provide a real-time, eyewitness account of events. But video must be carefully scrutinized to be upheld as evidence in a court of law. That’s why litigators and law enforcement agents rely on video forensics.
Accredited international video forensics agencies, including the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association (LEVA) and the International Association for Identification (IAI), define video forensics as the scientific examination, evaluation and/or comparison of videos used for legal matters.
HOW EVIDENCE IS COLLECTED
Most video evidence is digital. Digital video recorders (DVRs) typically record the video to a hard drive, though some record to secure digital (SD) cards and other removable media.
What is video forensics? There are many types of DVR devices, each with various methods of exporting files. When the video is collected from the device, it should produce the best quality recordings possible. Forensic experts must follow best practices as outlined by the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE). These include properly downloading and reviewing files to ensure the video is unaltered and accurate.
ANALYZING THE EVIDENCE
Once the evidence has been collected, the forensic scientist begins examining the video by viewing the footage. After an initial viewing, they locate the areas of interest that must be more closely examined and enhanced. The forensic expert may be looking for sections that corroborate witness statements or identify suspects.
All forensic video analysis must be performed in a forensics lab with proper tools and follow industry guidelines to ensure the video provides an accurate representation of the crime scene.
Video forensic scientists never change recorded data. Instead, they use a variety of techniques to enhance what is already there. These techniques include:
HOW VIDEO FORENSICS IS USED IN COURT
Video footage that has been examined and enhanced by a video forensic scientist may be submitted as evidence during a trial. Litigators consult with the expert witness, who provides formal reports on the video analysis and may testify during the court proceedings. An expert witness must help the trier of fact, whether a jury or judge, understand the video evidence.
Reports and testimony include details such as:
HOW PRIMEAU FORENSICS CAN HELP
Primeau Forensics is a team of investigators and experts specializing in digital media forensics. We work with attorneys, law enforcement and the United States government to process legal cases and perform video forensic services.
Contact us today for a pro bono consultation and to learn more about how we can help you with your next case.