What About Video from Drones?

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Back in 2009, an article in the North Dakota Law Review noted the following about the use of drones by law enforcement, “The widespread use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) in domestic law enforcement is imminent. Every police department, chief, and beat officer in the United States dreams of the ability to have eyes everywhere—a constant panoramic view of every angle in every precinct with the ability to instantly zoom in on suspicious behavior. That ability is available now. And it is on sale, cheap.

That was 2009. We haven’t seen a surge in the use of drones by US law enforcement agencies.  As the author noted at the time, “[t]he problem is regulatory uncertainty surrounding operations of UAVs in American airspace, and no one wants to be the guinea pig. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), tasked with ensuring the safe and orderly operation of aircraft, is regulating UAV operations of the kind that domestic law enforcement wants. The FAA has effectively stopped domestic law enforcement agencies from operating small UAVs in their operations without running afoul of FAA regulations for now.

LEAs using drones

US Law Enforcement Agencies Using Drones

The market for dedicated UAVs and UASs hasn’t really materialized in the way that other equipment markets, like body worn cameras, has. In the absence of such a manufacturing segment, the few police agencies that have decided to deploy drones, like the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, are generally choosing to buy consumer-oriented models.

When it comes to the video capabilities of the available systems, they generally have a high-quality on-board recording system with some having a lower quality, low-latency / low-quality video transmission back to the ground for operational/observational use. In the sub-$1000 range, most feature a simple gimbal or mount for a GoPro camera with no video transmission capabilities.

The types of investigations that are helped by drones include (in no particular order):

  • Kidnapping / missing persons
  • Pursuits
  • Collision investigations
  • Shooting incident investigations
  • Crime scene investigations
  • Warrant service
  • Crowd control / large event security

The issues presented with this type of video are complex but easily addressed with Amped FIVE.

stabilization filters

Amped FIVE offers powerful filters for stabilization, deblurring, color/ light adjustment, measurement, object redaction, time redaction, and much more. It handles a ton of video formats, including those used with drones like GoPro, Tom Tom, Olympus, and Garmin to name a few.

Regular readers know that I’m a big fan of balance – taking care of both sides of the equal sign. If you’re going to generate video, then you’ll need the ability to process and potentially correct the video you’ve created. If you’re in the market for a video recording platform (like drones or body worn cameras), then we’d love to speak with you about your processing and analysis needs. Contact us today for a consultation or quote.

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