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News › How to Video or Photograph a Sasquatch
Protocol: How to Video or Photograph a Sasquatch

Research Article by Paul Vella - adapted from his post to bigfootforums.com 10th September 2002

In recent years, Patterson's film has come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism, and rightly so - if it is to be presented as evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, then it must stand up to rigorous scrutiny.

Patterson's film is now nearly forty years old, and much has changed in the world of evidential procedures since then - this article is intended to highlight some of the areas that should be considered should you ever get lucky enough to video or photograph one of these creatures.

Film vs. Digital

One of Patterson's advantages is that his camera used old-fashioned film - good quality film at that, which provides a level of detail not found in modern digital cameras.

I'd like to say 'don't use digital', but the reality is that film cameras for domestic use are on the way out, and digital cameras are in.

That means no negatives, and with today's editing facilities, how would I prove that I hadn't edited the video or made it using clever special effects?

Since I work in the criminal investigation field, I started thinking about the best way to prove that I had taken a video on a particular day, regardless of its content.

There will be two accusations - one will be that I staged it with a man in a monkey suit, the second will be that I edited the video.

There are a number of problems with this. Since it will be recorded digitally, the image *could* be manipulated later, and therefore I would have to prove that it wasn't.


The 'Man in the Monkey Suit' Accusation

This I can't help with. The best approach is to immediately repeat the sequence with a known target (with the camera still rolling) - i.e. get your companion of a known height to retrace the movements that the BF took, so that a good size comparison can be made.

Take good and plentiful measurements at the scene, as many photographs as you can (remember, terrain changes quickly in forest areas) and good footprint casts (if there are any).

Video as much of this as possible, but keep an eye on the battery life - you will need to 'bag' the tape before the battery runs out - if necessary, continue videoing the making of plaster casts etc on a second tape with a fresh battery - the important thing is to get the first video sealed as described below.

Note the GPS positions of both your position, and that of the bigfoot - if possible, video the GPS screen showing the location fix.


Proving that the tape has not been altered

This is actually easier to deal with provided you think about it in advance. The main objective here is to prove the time line.

Step 1

You need two camcorders - bear with me, because the method sounds a little complicated

Firstly, only use brand new tapes when out in the field. Picture quality can degrade quickly with DV. DVD and HD camcorders don't need to worry about that though, but make sure you use good quality DVDs.

Film your bigfoot. (this is the easy part - Wink )

Step 2

While the tape is still rolling, start videoing your companion, get him or her to start videoing you, so that the two tapes can be synchronized at a later date.

Turn on a portable radio, preferably a news station, and record the news for the day onto both camcorders.

and/or....

Take the front page of a current newspaper, and tear it in half (on camera)

Take the tape out of the first camera, making sure that your companion is videoing you, and place the tape into a clear plastic bag along with one half of the front page of a current newspaper (must have a date on it). If you have any silica gel packs, it is always a good idea to place one in the bag with the camera to absorb any moisture.

Seal the bag with a tamper evident seal (these are the numbered evidence seals that the police use)

Stop filming with the second camera, and place the tape into a second bag with the second half of the newspaper - again, seal this tape with a tamper evident seal.

Step 3

Hotfoot into town, and find a sheriff or judge - explain that you need to provide evidence that these tapes were sealed when they saw them in order to confirm the date - get them to write a statement, and get *them* to seal the bags again.

The same could be done by mailing the tapes to yourself, making sure they are sent by some recorded method to prove the date. Do not open the envelope when it arrives. (mind you, I would'nt entrust my tape to the postal service)

Whilst it sounds complicated, and would seem to be overkill, what you have managed to achieve is..

1) Record the date and time that the event took place (radio)

2) Confirmed by way of the newspaper that it could not have happened any earlier than you said it did.

3) Proven by way of the second tape that the first tape was taken straight out of the camera and sealed without any intermediary tampering.

4) By way of the sheriff/judge/notary public figure, proven that the bag was sealed on the day they saw it.

This should disprove any accusations that you edited the tape etc.


What to do with the tape/camera

This section applies to both video and digital photos.

Do not handle the tape/media card yourself - I know the temptation will be to view the pictures yourself, but doing this could harm the evidence, so avoid doing so at all cost.

In particular, some software designed to copy digital photographs from camera (Kodak Sharepoint) for example actually compresses digital photographs further when the image is transferred to the computer.

Instead, take your digital camera or video tape, along with the camera, still sealed in the evidence bags to a recognized computer forensics lab.

The lab will be able to make a complete forensic image of the media card or video hard drive, while maintaining the continuity of evidence.

Digital photographs usually contain extended information about the photograph (EXIF), which includes make and model of the camera, date and time, exposure etc. This information could prove to be extremely valuable.

Video is slightly different - if it is recorded on a media card or internal hard drive, then the process is the same - if tape, then the lab will copy the video, and provide a record of the header information on the tape. Most importantly though, the lab will be able to provide a witness statement, detailing the continuity and process of extracting the content.

Congratulations - you have just videoed a Bigfoot, and proved to the world that you did not tamper with the recording, and that it took place when you said it did.

Should you ever be fortunate enough to take a digital photo or video, the AIBR will arrange to extract the data from the camera in a forensically sound environment free of charge.

Paul Vella
paul.vella@bigfootresearch.com

Posted by Paul.Vella on Sunday, January 14, 2007 (15:26:28) (7489 reads)
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