Today, visual and audio evidence is everywhere and can be found at more locations and from more diverse sources than ever before. From storefronts to restaurants, grocery stores to banks, traffic intersections to parks, surveillance systems are virtually everywhere. Add in dashcam footage and cell phone cameras, and you have a watchful eye in nearly every corner of every town.
Forensic video analysis is the scientific examination and evaluation of video in legal matters, whether criminal or civil in nature. Most of the footage is digital and file based. Gone are the days of Betamax and VHS. Digital video recorders generally record the audio and video to hard drives, SD cards, or other removable media. It’s then our jobs to extract that media into usable evidence.
Shown in Figure #1, Mr. Healy assisting Investigators in their inspection of a Semi. Mr. Healy documented the scene using the Canon XA10 video camera during the vehicle inspection.
Shown in Figure #2, Mr. Healy is doing an interview with an expert about vehicle capabilities.
Introtech’s Forensic Video Analyst, Matthew Healy, has a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media Production from Kent State University. With the capabilities of his editing suite, Mr. Healy can enhance both visual and auditory evidence and convert it into usable data. Mr. Healy’s focus is to find the metadata within the video, determine frame counts and specs of the video, enhance both the video and audio, and help identify the who, what, when, where and why of the case. Mr. Healy also travels with the Investigators out on the road and helps in documenting and videotaping the scene. Mr. Healy uses multiple Canon XA10 video cameras, Go Pro video cameras and 360* cameras to record reenactments, document the scene, or interview the experts.
Before editing and/or compressing the audio and video evidence, a copy of the evidence is created so that the original copy of the video is always available in its natural, unaltered state. All editing techniques are carefully constructed so that the video or audio is true and accurate. Investigators never change the recorded data, they only enhance what is already present.
Video Enhancement Techniques – A variety of enhancement techniques can be used on video and audio evidence. Techniques can include:
- Enhancement and expert analysis of video from surveillance systems
- Enhancement and expert analysis of video from cell phones, camcorders and other personal recording devices
- Repair and restoration of both visual and audio media
- Extraction of video evidence from a Digital Video Recorder
- Digital video or audio file conversion
- Finding metadata within the video
- Highlight and tracking of a subject of interest in video
- Masking and tracking of a subject of interest in video
- Authentication of video or audio file
- Enhancement and expert analysis of audio tracks and removing unwanted sound bites
- Expert testimony
Shown in Figure #3, Mr. Healy is putting a Canon XA10 video camera inside an exemplar vehicle to document the position and posture of the driver.
Shown in Figure #4, Go Pro video cameras are attached to the exemplar vehicle in an attempt to show driver reaction while driving. Also, attached to the windshield is the VC3000 and is being used to test brakes.