Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
March 7th, 2017
Author: Rachel Neiman

Still reviewing video in slow motion? Time to speed things up!

I have heard from many investigators that the most painful part of their jobs is reviewing video. Often investigators are working with too little information and viewing too much video to be effective in finding anything. Reviewing video no longer has to be an experience that leads to you tearing out your hair. It does not need to be like searching for a needle in a haystack, a futile waste of time.

So what wastes time reviewing video? Looking at things that are not what you’re looking to find. I hope you weren’t expecting a more sophisticated answer, because there is none. It’s as simple as that. If you have to go through a large amount of video, it can help immensely to review a subset of the relevant things in that video. Less video data simply means less review time.

So how can you reduce the video you must review to find your target? This is achieved by eliminating objects that are not relevant to what you want to find, while still keeping the objects relevant to your search. This is a simple concept, but takes many years of effort and significant technology to do well.

Are there other means of reducing the video you need to review? Motion search is clearly not the solution for eliminating what you don’t want to see. While this may slightly reduce the time of reviewing video, this is in effect putting a bandage on an open wound since it still overwhelms an investigator with a long series of individual events for review. Effective review requires more capable tools. This is where the ability to add layering of analytical filter parameters (such as size, direction, color, path, speed), yields reduction in the number of results for review, leading to shorter review time.

So really it’s what you don’t want to see that has to be taken into account when reviewing and searching video. This of course varies tremendously based on the person, vehicle or object you’re looking to find, the nature of the investigation or situation, and what you know about the suspect or event. That’s why it’s critical to leave the choice of eliminating objects in the hands of whoever is viewing the video and provide that person with tools that enable quick and interactive work with the search results.

No matter how you slice it, if you can use what you know to reduce the results, you can cut the time you need to spend reviewing video. This helps find what you’re looking for, and in less time.