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Maintaining a clear chain of evidence

Between the time that video or audio is recorded and its actual use as digital media evidence in court, it is possible that multiple recording formats, multiple copies, and even multiple enhancements have been performed – sometimes by multiple people! So how do you prove in court that the video being played is the original evidence? How do you prove that there has been no tampering? How can you assure the admission of your evidence?

It is absolutely crucial, in every case, to make sure that a clear chain of custody is maintained with your evidence, whether it's audio or video files or not. Otherwise, your recorded digital video evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court. Later allegations of improper care of digital evidence in a case could lead to a guilty verdict being overturned on appeal. Trusted forensic video experts must be involved in every step of the process – experts who keep track of their work.

The NCAVF "impossible to cross" solution: The easiest way to prove to a jury, judge, and opposing council that the audio or video evidence was not tampered with is to produce a digital file of the video as it was first recorded – and then, in court, show first-hand the forensic steps used to create the enhanced digital version. After an explanation such as this there is very little chance that anyone can claim the video or audio evidence was falsified.

This means that a credible record of documentation must be maintained from the initial capture or recording of footage until the final use in court, but it also means that a careful tracking of work done on the evidence must be maintained – to allow a repeat of this if requested in court. Our legal videographers do this.

Most often video enhancements performed by the experts at NCAVF are "stipulated to" – accepted by both sides – as accurate, which means we are only occasionally asked to testify about the veracity of our work. However, if we are needed for trial, the NCAVF audio and video evidence experts who worked on your evidence are ready to testify.


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