Monday, 14 June 2010

FBI video: How to do CCTV

Consultants, manufacturers and the CCTV User Group can bang on about image quality, system set up and user training until they're blue in the face, but leave it to the Americans to produce a lavish video to get the message across.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - obviously getting fed up (giddit?) about bad video - has deployed the talents of Hollywood to dramatise the importance of installing a good system and maintaining it.

The video is built around a storyline of a domestic terrorist who's blown up a bus with a home-made fertiliser bomb. The FBI scrambles agents to retrieve CCTV footage that might help identify the perpetrator, but they are frustrated in their attempts by video that is so bad that you couldn't identify your own mother from it.

One of the characters asks the video lab technician, "Can you enhance that for me?", to which he replies: "Sorry, no - I'm not a magician and this isn't a TV show!"

Finally, they find a pharmacy which has an excellent CCTV system and luckily the system installer happens to be on site so he's able to download exactly what they need and provide them with a site plan, too!

Back at the lab, they quickly find a recognition quality shot (15 per cent screen) and moments later we see armed officers burst into a motel room and arrest the suspect. Talk about instant results!

The moral of the story is, your video system could help the FBI/police crack a terrorist case but only if it's up to scratch (no mention of it being your patriotic duty to maintain your system but the implication was there). OK, maybe a bit heavy-handed as storylines go but the script is engaging, the production qualities are fantastic and the narrator, Annie Wersching from "24", does the intro and conclusion, lending a bit of glamour and probably earning the undying gratitude of the FBI.

The video is well worth a look. If you write to them, they might even send you a copy of the DVD (can anyone say Transatlantic partnership?).

Hit tip to Simon Lambert, Kevin White and Ilker Dervish.

Meanwhile, I'd like to point out that Devon and Cornwall Police has also produced an excellent video about setting up CCTV in a pub or nightclub, entitled "Who are you looking at?". It's narrated by Prof. Martin Gill (OK, he's not Annie Wersching but he has gravitas, loads of gravitas) and benefits from high production qualities.

Hats off to Devon and Cornwall for producing this excellent video. They are happy to provide copies of the DVD in boxes of 50 copies for £100, ideal for distribution to pubs and clubs in your area. Contact Christopher Vercoe, tel. 01392-452691 or email

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