Video Redaction – Protecting People & Obscuring Faces.

Date Published: April 28, 2021

In this article we will be Interviewing Mike Hartshorne (Director) as we take a deep dive to explain how the team at Best Evidence Technology process and redact CCTV and Video Footage of people.

Total Read Time: 4 Mins.

Mike thanks for joining us today, Can you explain briefly what video & cctv redaction is and how it works?

Redaction involves obscuring identifying information within individual video frames. Identifying key information often includes but is not limited to faces, registration plates, identifying clothing, tattoos, house numbers, notepads and computer screens.

Redacting the information typically involves blanking out or blurring the information within a specific region. The redacted area could be a tight crop around a person’s face, for example. Alternatively, redaction could involve blanking out the entire frame except sections that are not considered private.

You can learn more here: Video & CCTV Redaction Services

Is the readction process different when redacting people and faces in CCTV and video footage?

Obviously there are a lot of forensic tools that can help to this type of work, but if you’re needing to hide the identity of something or someone, then only a person can be relied upon to make a thorough job  of assessing what is identifiable information. 

You could put a blur over the whole screen of some CCTV footage of me but my mother would still recognise me!  

While some video readction software & tools can identify a face, we go one step further, our team of redaction specialists are trained to think about tattoos, reflections, name badges and all sorts of extra information to make sure our customers’ data is safely hidden.

We use the same forensic software that we supply to the police and military, so we’re sure it’s tested in the most rigorous conditions.  Anything that’s hiding undercover drugs officers, or covert filming locations needs to be true and correct, 100% of the time.

Artificial Intelligence is a key word that keeps popping up in the media, can you explain how this technology is used in the redaction process?

We will only use automated (AI) sofware as a triage tool for the busiest environments, then one of our staff will go in and ‘fill in the gaps’ manually.  

This is acheived on a frame by frame process, as a lot of the software that we’ve come across treats every frame as a separate image. 

So while a person would see a video of 100 frames duration showing a subject going across the camera view, and that person recognises this as a single event…. the software sees 100 different still images, and may make a decision that image 59 doesn’t meet it’s threshold for redaction and leave it blank.

Thanks Mike, you have explained how training, experience and technology plays a big part in the redaction process but can you help readers understand the difference between ‘forensic’ software and video editing tools?

While some could argue that “A blur is a blur” that’s just not true. 

You can blur footage using a number of video editing packages, it might get the job done in the eyes of an untrained individual but the Forensic enhancement software we supply can easily deblur images without specialist training, to combat this Forensic Redaction software packages will apply several blurs in different directions, ensuring they can’t be undone… even by us !

Repeatable and non destructive workflow are more important when enhancing footage, however on the odd occasions our customers have been questioned on their footage [that we’ve processed] it’s been an easy job to demonstrate what has been done. 

Using forensic software for CCTV Redaction is a bit like using the AA or RAC… it only matters when it matters !

What are the key reasons to choose Best Evidence Technology for Video Redaction?

We had our first blue chip banking customer (for CCTV redaction) in 2011 so we’ve definitely been proven over a 10 year period, with customers from supermarkets, hospitals, pubs, clubs, police forces, government agencies and many many more.

A key factor is that everything is in done in house by trained professionals, we dont outsource work and everything is processed and stored securely in the UK. 

No unknown servers to trust, no subcontractors, no interconnected firms and parent companies… Just one business, supplying forensic software, and using it.

Having an expert witness (video forensics) in house means that we can help with any problems relating to your footage. If the ICO questions your methods, we can help, and help with authority. We’re not just offering CCTV redaction, we’re an end to end service, just like the forensic process.

We offer a free no obligation discussion to help understand how your business can outsource your video redaction requirement without risking your data security and reputation.

Contact us today on 01312 722721

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