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Serving the Western and Southeastern U.S.    Licensed, Bonded & Insured

          Shannon Detective Service, Inc.

                                                                                  March 2013, Volume 1


Who is actually using hightech video equipment?

Ask yourself is your current investigation vendor actually using high-tech HD video surveillance equipment? Take a look at some of your vendors' websites to see what they use to gather your video evidence. More than likely you will find the statement "we use state-of-the-art equipment" but it isn't defined. Remember your evidence is as only as good as the investigator's ability to capture and present it.
*Note you will need a Blu-ray player and an HDTV or monitor for streaming or viewing HD video.


How video evolved

Private detectives working in the insurance claim industry during the 1970's used 16mm movie cameras while securing evidence relating to surveillance. Soon thereafter the industry began using the smaller 8mm & Super 8mm cameras into the late 1980's because of its smaller and lighter design.


16mm camera 

 Super 8mm camera 

16mm film cartridge 

Film size comparisons

Mag of super 8mm film

In the mid 1980's VHS video cameras became the trend that pushed the film cameras into extinction. Investigators could now play back their videoed evidence for viewing as soon as it was taken without the time and expense of film development! In the late 1980's 8mm video challenged the VHS market with yet smaller cassettes with better recording quality, but then VHS cameras came out with another version they called VHS-C (compact). Video 8mm improved their version again, known as Hi-8mm, which further increased the quality of resolution. In the mid 1990's video cameras evolved into an even smaller tape version known as mini DV's (digital video). In the mid 2000's digital video became tapeless to reduce the camera size, but also to eliminate tape deterioration problems that was discovered after years of storage.

VHS camcorder

Video 8mm camcorder



Various types of video cassettes


Theses non-moving recording devices are what's known as flash drives in the formats of CF & SD cards (compact flash & secured digital). Although SD cards have won out the battle for dominance in video cameras, due to their smaller size and same storage capacity, both can be transferred into all types of computers (Macs & IBM compatibles). However new computers are now slotted for SD cards. Both types of flash drives have been improved to high capacity storage to hold the larger High Definition (HD) files currently being used in the video world.


        Mini tape DV camcorder

Tapeless Dv camcorder (recorded on flash drives) 


      Compact Flash card

  SDHC (high Capacity) SD card

Standard definition TV was phased out in the US in 2009 and replaced with High Definition TV. HD started at 1280 (h) X 720 (v) (.9 megapixels) lines of resolution and has been improved to its current state of 1920 (h) X 1080 (v) lines of resolution (2.1 megapixels). However, still photography and IP (Internet Protocol) cameras can far exceed this quality.


Standard TV

Ultra thin Plasma & LCD TV

There are now new point-of-view (POV) video cameras coming onto the market offering 2560 X 1440p= (vertical lines) of resolution but they are ahead of their time as there are few LCD and Plasma TV manufacturers and few computer monitors capable of displaying this quality (all of which are very expensive). The lenses for these cameras and Blu-ray DVDs will have to evolve in order to transfer and record the 1440p HD for playback in the near future. Cinematography folks are already chomping at the bit for this to revolutionize the industry! Consumer video cameras will be the last to get this new technology, except for the professional grade, as it will be too expensive and thus not available until it's been on the market for several years.


Go-Pro (2560 X 1440) Mini POV HD camera

Blu-ray players (now under $100) 

What does all of this mean for you?  

HD video cameras offering 1080 (interlace & progressive) have been in the marketplace for several years now and video lenses and sensor chip types can further enhance the camera and video's end quality. Given the dramatic improvements in camera technology in recent years, why then are so many investigators still using tape quality and or standard definition equipment (i.e. 640 X 480 lines of resolution)? If their camera equipment is from the turn of the century, shouldn't their hourly rates be as well? Many agencies choose to stay behind the times by equipping their staff with consumer quality cameras to save money. Unfortunately the end result is far below what the industry has to offer. If an agency in the high-tech industry chooses to supply their field investigators with outdated equipment, what else might they do that falls below acceptable standards in a service oriented business?

Serving the Western United States
Specializing in Insurance Fraud, Surveillance, Locates,
Missing Persons, Background / Assets 

Gregg Shannon

Available 24/7


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