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UIndy Could Analyze Boston Marathon Footage

A video forensics expert says people must be convinced they should not edit their video in any way before they submit it to the FBI.

boston marathon

Photo: Aaron Tang (flickr)

A photo from the Boston Marathon shows the finish line just after the explosion.

An expert visiting the University of Indianapolis’s forensic video lab this week says he is not sure if the lab will receive any footage from the Boston Marathon bombings. But he is already planning for possible problems the video might pose.

Grant Fredericks teaches video forensics for both the FBI and the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association, or LEVA. One of the few LEVA labs in the nation is at the University of Indianapolis and scientists there may get a look at some of the hundreds of sources which shot video Monday.

But Fredericks says there are issues which must be overcome first, including standardizing the video formats so anyone can view them and convincing people not to edit their video in any way before they submit it to the FBI.

“What you’re inevitably going to find in Boston is that you’ll have somebody taking a photograph or a video of a friend stretching, about to start the race an hour before the race started and in the background will be somebody walking by with a backpack with a bomb inside,” he says. “And if the public thinks they only need to turn over video of smoke, they’ll miss all that information.”

Fredericks says the FBI has contacted UIndy’s lab and told it to be on standby in case additional forensic support is needed, but has not given an indication whether that help will actually be sought.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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