Video enhancement of evidence for trial — before and after

A forensic video expert can educate any attorney regarding technical details about the digital media evidence that might become crucial for the case. For example, a critical portion of the recorded video evidence from the Ivory Webb shooting case contained a bright white flash which obscured details of the action. Attorneys for the defense first believed a flashlight or car headlight had shined directly into the camera lens. However, the audio and video experts at NCAVF knew otherwise, and immediately began performing forensic video enhancements on that specific section of the evidence.

The clip above shows the bright white flash section of the recorded video evidence, directly followed by the forensically enhanced and corrected version. You will notice something that became a crucial fact in the case: The suspect was trying to get up, or, at the least, clearly not lying prone on the ground as had been argued in court. In fact, this video clip was used very effectively in cross examination to directly challenge his testimony.

What created the white flash in the first place? NCAVF experts recognized immediately that the camera operator — in the rush to adjust his camera settings — had accidentally pushed the wrong buttons while he was recording. This mistake applied a “negative” filter to his video. To balance this error, we added a reverse negative filter to the video evidence, which resulted in clear and visible footage.

This and other segments of the video evidence were of great benefit to the defense on the case. According to three jurors interviewed post-trial, the legal video analysis, forensic research, and enhancements by NCAVF played a critical role in the jury’s decision in this trial.

Below are two still images from the center of the case, two seconds before the shooting, where the suspect appears to reach into his coat, threaten the officer, and is subsequently shot by police officer Ivory Webb.

In the original, unenhanced video, you can see very little except black. In fact, you might think there is almost no video information there at all. Below is a still frame from that untouched, original, very dark video. Can the low light image be lightened?

Yes! In the still images, you see the results of our months of detailed forensic investigation work to enhance the recorded video and audio. Many other still images of the evidence were very helpful to the case.

Before (click to enlarge)

After (click to enlarge)