180 Or 360 Video Footage Not Admissible As Evidence?

In Canada. Has any heard of a challenge that the use of 180 or 360 degree Cameras video footage is not admissible as evidence?


Mark, what was the reason cited?

Is there any information available that reflects in-admissibility when the time stamp is too far off?

I spoke with a lawyer who specialized in video evidence 5 or 6 years ago about this general topic. Keep in mind that things may have changed between now and then, may vary by individual court, and so forth.

What I recall from the conversation is that the chain-of-custody of the video is the most important factor. It has to be provable that the video being shown is from the site related to the event, from the time of the event in question (independent of time stamps), and has not been altered, edited, or tampered with (cropped, etc.).

For any kind of evidence to be admissible it has to follow some general guidelines (forget the exact term of the top of my head, but there are actual documented guidelines, at least in the US). In essence, the evidence has to be useful, related to the case, able to be authenticated (this happens differently depending on the type of evidence), and so forth.

Courts do not care (as I was told) about encoding method, resolution, frames per second, lens type, sensor type, recording medium/method, or other technical details, so long as those things do not prevent the video clip from being verified as genuine.

In theory a 20 megapixel 60fps lossless image stream recorded to a write-once encrypted media will make "better" evidence than a 720p 1fps heavily compressed image stream written to a removable SD card that the camera owner pulled out and handled before turning it over to the police, but that does not necessarily make it inadmissible by default.

If your video evidence has things like a wrong timestamp it can make it easier for a defense attorney to argue that the evidence should be thrown out, and it puts more of a burden on the person providing/submitting the evidence to prove the time was wrong and what the actual time should have been.

One thing that was mentioned that *could* cause a problem with submitting a video clip for evidence was motion-only recording with no pre or post-event time. For example if you only have 5 seconds of video of one person punching another person, you don't know if the punch is in self-defense, or an act of aggression. Seeing what occurred before and after helps prove what actually happened. In most cases this isn't an issue, there is enough activity before/after any key event that you likely have enough video to tell the story, but it's worth noting.

If your client is particularly concerned with video data being used as evidence in the future, it may make sense to consult with a local DA or similar person to go over what that particular local court prefers to see and so forth. In these cases you might also want to recommend a PM/service contract to clean lenses, check focus, check time server settings/time accuracy and so forth to help ensure the system performs as intended when needed.