Video surveillance has become one of the industry standard practices for documenting a subject’s activities. Video can be preferable to still surveillance photos, since it captures motion and interactions in a way which can not be disputed. There are many high-tech methods of capturing a target on video and private investigators are experts at covert video taping.
This discussion focuses on video recording of surveillance activities in order to preserve an indisputable historical record of a subject.
Video Surveillance Gear
Tiny video cameras are easy to operate with one hand and can be used secretively in many situations. There are even cameras disguised as everyday items, such as pens, glasses or cell phones, to really make investigation activity seem innocent.
Remote controlled surveillance cameras can be placed in discreet locations or inside parked vehicles for long-term operations. These devices can be linked to motion detectors to provide a better chance of filming the target during crucial times. Nanny cams, and other types of hidden video cameras, can be used inside, for investigations which require surveillance of the inside of a home, such as in the case of a cheating spouse.
When taking video of a subject, it is vital to capture their face and characteristics clearly. If they have any identifiable marks or characteristics, make sure to document these on the video. Examples of identifiers are tattoos, distinctive jewelry, license plates, pets, vehicles and relative height and weight to a known object or person.
Make sure when shooting video that you do not violate any privacy or trespassing laws. Private eyes must be fully up-to-date on the latest laws covering surveillance methods, to ensure that their client can actually utilize the evidence in a legal forum.
Video Surveillance Assignments
Personally, I carry a versatile cell phone with a high-quality camera and video camera contained therein. This makes it easy to use the phone for both communication and surveillance purposes.
Small hidden cameras are cheap and can produce excellent images. I have used them in many cases, by attaching them to a bag or clothing, then basically shooting the target right in plain sight. No one knows they are being filmed when the camera can not be seen. This tactic is especially effective when performed in crowded public places, since it allows the investigator to easily blend into the crowd. A quick change of shirt or hat will allow a detective more time to stay within view, without arousing suspicion from even the most paranoid subjects.
Video technology improves constantly and it is wise to continually invest in new and innovative investigation equipment to achieve your surveillance goals. There are many specialized stores which sell spy tools and hidden cameras, so you should have no problem keeping up with all the trends, without spending a fortune.