Note: This article is specific to fixed post surveillance.
Photographs and video recordings as evidence are a great way to gather the facts about your case when conducting surveillance. Photographs and video provide a record that others can be view to see exactly what you saw at the time. Remember the old line, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
When photographing and gathering video of your subject, there are a few general rules, or guidelines that will ensure you capture exactly what is required for your case.
Capture both video, and photographs of your target. This ensures you have redundancy in the event one or the other is questioned, or, you have a back-up in the event one or the other fails. It also allows you to capture actions that may not be on one or the other, providing you with multiple fields of view. (Some investigators may use multiple recorders to capture more than one angle depending on the location and type of surveillance they are conducting)
Identify in advance what information you are trying to capture. Are you trying to capture your target exchanging information with someone? If so you will need equipment that will allow you take high resolution video or photos from a distance, such as using a zoom lens. If you are only trying to capture a meeting with someone else, then you need enough resolution to capture definition of facial features. Generally, full body shots are used.
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Your video recorder and camera should provide you with a preview, or real time viewing of what is being recorded. You can quickly identify if your are capturing what you need, allowing you to avoid glare from the windshield, or other obstructions when trying to conceal your equipment.
Here are some tasks you should always do when before, during and immediately after conducting surveillance.
Just before you begin surveillance:
Immediately after completing the surveillance:
Documenting your surveillance activities with video and photographs is critical in gathering the facts, providing your client with the information they need. If done improperly, the time spent conducting surveillance could be lost, more importantly, it may prevent important information from being used by your client.
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