10 Questions to Ask a Forensic Video Analyst Before Hiring Them

Knowledge
2022-03-16

Only by establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt can the wrongdoers face the consequences of their actions and be brought to justice. Therefore, the first and foremost objective of digital video forensics (and any other criminal investigation for that matter) is to unveil the truth through concrete evidence and facts.

The video forensic expert you end up choosing for this task will be the one to oversee the investigation from the beginning to the end. Therefore, you should choose your forensic partner with discernment and evaluate their capabilities based on a pre-determined set of criteria.

Whenever you’re looking for ‘video forensics near me’, you shouldn’t be willing to settle for anything less than an expert who knows their craft inside and out. To pick the most suitable candidate out of the bunch, start by asking them the following 10 questions:

1. What are your qualifications?

At the discretion of the court, any findings can be rendered irrelevant or inadmissible due to the lack of experience, know-how, or qualifications of the one presenting them. Therefore, working with those who do not have sufficient qualifications is a risk you should think twice about taking.

A digital video expert who’s worth his salt should therefore have plenty of years of experience under their belt. Proper forensic video analysis training is a must, and so is a solid grasp of science, IT, and the legal framework.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the demand for forensic science technicians will increase by 16% between 2020 and 2030. Therefore, unless we’re talking about a complete freshman in the workforce, a suitable candidate is likely to have some sort of employment history as well.

2. Do you have the know-how on how to recover original evidence?

Having anything less than stellar quality when it comes to presenting video evidence could hamper your progress in court due to an inherently weaker testimony. If at all possible, the video footage must be presented in its original form to be accepted by the court.

A single error during footage recovery can be enough to sink the case. Therefore, they should be equipped with industry-grade video forensics tools like VIP 2.0 , the kind that’s suitable for such a complex and demanding task. Its Video Extraction and Recovery feature ensures the original evidence will be preserved and presented in impeccable quality.

3. Are you trained in proper evidence recovery?

Whether the forensic video analyst is trained in proper evidence recovery will play a pivotal role in the success of the investigation. If you’re unsure, take a look at their work history. Ask for their CV; inside, they should list all the times they were asked to testify in court and all the certifications they have obtained during their career, all of which serve as an indication of their overall level of skill.

Speaking of forensic video analysis training, do you know that you can get certified by SalvationDATA? Since 2011, our training center has served as the go-to training facility where forensic investigators and cyber security experts hone their understanding of Video Forensics, Data Recovery, mobile forensics, and best industry practices on anything digital forensics-related.

Video Investigation Portable 2.0 Training in Malaysia - 1Video Investigation Portable 2.0 Training in Malaysia - 1

SalvationDATA hosts live training seminars for digital forensics investigators and law enforcement personnel from all over the world.

4. Are you familiar with the Silent Witness Theory?

A qualified forensic video analyst should be familiar with the Silent Witness Theory. In essence, this means an authentic photograph or video recording can serve as proof in court without requiring a third party to verify its authenticity.

With proper forensic video analysis training, a video forensic expert becomes familiar with the legal technicalities of submitting video evidence as a silent witness. In other words, once video footage has been authenticated, it can stand in court on its own, serving as an objective and unbiased reconstruction of the events that transpired when the crime was taking place.

5. Are you comfortable working with various different video file formats and file types?

An experienced forensic video analyst should be knowledgeable about different video file formats and file types. As an example, CCTV devices generally have a different output file type and formatting compared to, say, footage extracted from handheld cameras and smart devices. It’s absolutely vital to preserve the integrity of the video evidence no matter the format – this will make it a powerful ace up your sleeve in court.

Thanks to the Ultra Transcoder and Player features of VIP 2.0, converting the video to any format without impacting its original quality has never been easier. Furthermore, it can play virtually any type of video format on the spot without encountering any errors. At the end of the day, when the outcome of a case is at stake, you simply cannot afford to take any shortcuts, and working without a tool like this can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Virous Video File formatsIn practice, there are more file types, formattings, and encodings than you can count.

6. Do you understand the importance of maintaining pixel integrity during forensic video enhancement?

When performing forensic video enhancement, maintaining pixel integrity is of utmost importance. To do so, the forensic video analyst appointed to the case must diligently follow the protocol. Otherwise, the court could dismantle the video evidence presented and render it inadmissible. To prevent this dreaded scenario from taking place and seeing all the hard work going to waste, disk imaging to maintain file integrity is the recommended path to take during the extraction phase.

Ask them whether they’re using modern digital forensic tools like VIP 2.0 to ensure spotless pixel integrity (our solutions also integrate video enhancement functionality thanks to the contribution of our partner Amped).

7. Do you know what the Chain of Custody principle means?

According to the National Forensic Science Technology Center, Chain of Custody is one of the most important principles to follow. In layman’s terms, the date and time of receipt and transfer of evidence should be properly documented and labeled with a unique identifier. This helps a great deal when authenticating the said evidence and ensuring its admissibility in court.

Each and every person who comes into possession of the evidence should be documented and identified. In the process, make sure to collect their name, title, and signature. Furthermore, each and every action they perform that in any way involves the evidence in question needs to be documented and made fully transparent.

chain

The National Forensic Science Technology Center denominates the Chain of Custody as one of the most vital aspects of maintaining transparency and legitimacy of a forensic investigation.

8. What kind of certification have you obtained?

Obtaining a certification in the field of digital video forensics displays an unquestionable degree of mastery and knowledge pertaining to the subject. Make no mistake: those who have invested in themselves and obtained the relevant education and certification in the forensics industry will be more than happy to present it when asked.

Those who are looking to demonstrate these virtues before an employer are invited to prove the level of proficiency in their field with one of the following certificates issued by SalvationDATA (awarded only to those who pass the graded exam):

  • Expert(SFAC) DVR Forensics Analyst Certification
  • Expert(SMFC) Mobile Forensics Investigator Certification
  • Expert Forensics Data Recovery and Acquisition (SSD)
  • Advanced RAID & Data Base Training

Certificated-By-SalvationDATA

Whoever is the proud holder of Expert(SFAC) DVR Forensics Analyst Certification or has obtained equivalent level industry credentials couldn’t have earned the privilege without undergoing extensive video analysis training. Naturally, these video forensics experts will have a laser-sharp understanding of the subject matter and thus a significant advantage in the labor market.

9. Who is supervising your work?

It’s important the video forensics expert you’re working with to answer to a superior and have their work vetted. This essentially adds an additional layer of credibility to the investigation, thus allowing you to have a stronger case in court.

Any conclusions, test results, and any work related output should be double-checked by someone with superior credentials and better experience. This way, the court will not have any second thoughts about the legitimacy of the investigation and the methods used therein.

10. Can you generate a correctly written scientific forensic report with proper formatting and explanations?

The forensic expert you’re working with should have a solid grasp on how to write a scientific forensic report with proper formatting. Inside, each and every step of the investigation should be documented and explained. It should note who exactly was the individual performing the analysis and what their training and experience is.

As part of the report, documenting the manner in which the evidence was received is extremely important as well (take a look at the Chain of Custody principle we’ve covered above). This will make a notable contribution towards making the evidence admissible in court.

To meet the criteria, it’s essential to follow the protocol, which includes making sure the video footage is accurate and hasn’t been altered or tampered with in any way, shape, or form. In case you’d like to know more about the dos and don’ts of how to approach the matter, be sure to read up on the detailed guide we’ve prepared for you.

Last but not least, the report should include a detailed explanation of any lab tests performed and provide a sound and solid basis for drawing a forensic conclusion.

  • The language used should be plain and simple enough to understand even for those who don’t necessarily have a background in science and forensics (such as legal personnel)
  • The general aim is to make the entire investigative process sound and solid – anyone attempting to retrace the steps outlined inside should be able to come to the exact same conclusions as the original forensic team appointed to the case

Since writing a detailed forensic report can be a long and arduous process, many digital forensic experts are looking for a way to speed it up without compromising the integrity of the investigation.

Thanks to the Forensic Report feature of VIP 2.0, you can automate a great deal of the process and generate a report that’s fully compliant with the protocol and thus admissible in court without question.

data analysis

Traditionally, a properly-written scientific forensic report requires a lot of man-hours

Conclusion

Asking the questions above will ensure that the case will go to the most highly qualified forensic video analyst in the industry, the kind of expert who’s worthy and deserving of your trust.

If you want to prevail in court and see to it that the wrongdoers are brought to justice, you should demand nothing less from the people you’re working with.

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