Member Discussion

Interview Room Video & Audio

I have an opportunity with local Law Enforcement to install new systems for their Interview rooms. I have done this many times in the past with analog cameras, covert setups using PIR's and Thermostats etc., but with IP Video the game changes a bit.

One of the issues is Audio sync with Video. No wiggle room here. It has to stay sync'd thru several hours of interview otherwise the courts will throw it out.

An Internal Affairs detective asked me if it would be possible to erase the video after he burned it to DVD. This is a permissions issue with the VMS we all know, but do we allow a typical cop (no offense intended here) to just erase video on the fly.

Anyway, I'm looking for feedback on systems or methods of using one VMS on a server to record several rooms or several small server/workstations to accomplish the same thing. One of the catches here is that with the advent of Live viewing on a thin client or a smartphone/tablet, how do I accomplish that on several servers?

Comments welcome....including any on IP covert cameras that are already concealed or can easily be concealed (with audio inputs)

I must be missing something: covert cameras in an interview room? Wouldn't that make the interviews themselves inadmissable?

Some states, such has here in Alabama, it is not required to notify of video/audio recording during interview at a police station.

Covert cameras in Police Interview Rooms are totally legal as there is no expectation of privacy, kinda the same as being in jail.

Still not the answers I was looking for guys, but thanks.

I had this problem when i was a cop. We installed an ip system but the audio sync was off. I am currently working on a bid for an interview room so i hope we get an answer. I hope we are able to use ip and dont have to use an analog system for the interview room.


My Security Manager is a former cop as well. In fact, I designed and had installed the Interview System at the PD he worked for years ago. Analog of course.

If you hear of something please let me know.


jim stuart

It sounds like you're asking for three things:

1. A VMS viewable on mobile clients that also has audio.

2. Permissions-based erase rights for users

3. Cover IP cameras with audio inputs, or sync'd audio recording on specific video channels.

Is this correct?


Tha is right on correct.

James - I have been directly involved in many interview system installs and designs going back several years now they started with analog using MPEG-2 recorders with an alarm input for start / stop control and a dedicated user interface that ran an instance of MSQL creating a GUI to what amounted to a file management system once an interview session was exported off the original DVR. The original MP2 file made for an easy path to a DVD export that could play in a standard consumer player.

The demise of that recorder forced a switch to a newer multi channel hybrid platform typical of many in the market today i.e. compatible to a wide variety of IP camera streams.

We found that having a physical start / stop switch for each room is useful for this application especially if the swicth also supports a status feedback such as a lamp or LED driven by the recorder going into record (Alarm) mode for a given room. In the systems that I have advised on we still reccomend using a high quality microphone from Lauroe or Crown that outputs analog audio which is terminated on the hybrid DVR analog audio input terminals dedicated for each room.

The video is streaming across an IP link but the encoding and capture of the audio we have found the most reliable performance still happens when we land the analog audio on the DVR itself. We have started to see OK results on a system local to me that was specified Genetec for all cameras of which there are 51 in the system 7 channels are interview rooms with 6 being driven by a start / stop switch. We spent a great deal of time sorting out technical issues of encoding and capturing sound in this system. I was overruled when I suggested a seperate dedicated interview system.

In my experience the audio is a bit more crucial to the investigators than the video good levels are inportant (proper room placement is key) as is decent synch we typically dial the video recording down a bit usually between 24 - 27FPS for best results.

We have also taken the inquiry about deleting a recording session once it had been exported in both internal affairs and more typically child abuse investigations. The platform I am currently most familuar is like most security products i.e. specific blocks of recording data cannot easily be deleted without deleting everything else on the unit. In the case of IA they ended up with their own seperate single channel system seperate from investigations.

If live viewing was requested in the system we use the system thick client which does a good job of supporting local live views with good audio performance assuming IT folks were on board. We often ran into others in a department raising legal flags with respect to this type of A/V streaming across the LAN. I know it can vary widley across the country just be cautious. We have not experimented with a browser for this application.

We are also seeing some interest in a similar set up at a local community college in test and teach applications basically a big multi channel interview set up. I am currently scheduling training for non technical end users at the local CC now.

Hope this helps sorry for being so wordy...

In my only experience with a police interview room ( in my case military law enforcement), they used the CaseCracker system. That system used analog, covert cameras.

I have tried to use IP for corporate focus group rooms, which is a somewhat similar application, and the audio sync (or lack thereof) was a huge problem. This was several years ago, but I tested several VMS platforms and the only one that synced audio and video was DVTEL Latitude. Maybe others have improved by now.