Forensic video greatest hits re-release

Our list of free forensic video software tools and websites.

In May of last year we published our first list of free software downloads and references to help boost your video-forensic capabilities and know-how. Today we're re-releasing our list with some new hits.

The Basics

SWGIT Best Practices for Forensic Video Analysis is a PDF document of best practices. The full PDF file is hosted at the International Association for Identification.

Best Practices for the Retrieval of Video Evidence from Digital CCTV Systems is a small waterproof flipbook developed by a number of law enforcement agencies: FBI, NYPD, LAPD, Secret Service to name a few. The book can be ordered through the Technical Support Working Group, or you can download a PDF of the book from the Technical Support Working Group.

GSpot tells you what codec you need to open that AVI file, which Windows Media Player is refusing to open. The technical name for it is codec appliance software application. Don't google gspot. Just get the download directly from is a great website for finding a video CODEC once you know which one you need. Just find out the FourCC (or four-character code) of your video file using a codec appliance such as GSpot and plug it into's search box at

Next Steps

StarWitness Weekly offers weekly emails with the latest news in forensic video and stories of video evidence being used to catch criminals. Check it out at

When you get a proprietary video file as evidence the file extension may give you some insight on how what player you need to play the file. There are a number of sites that provide information on file extensions: claims to be "the source for file extensions information". You can access the site at declares itself as "the file extensions resource". Head over to to search some file extensions. -- A free online resource by Uniblue -- is another website of file extension information. You can find the site at

Media-Geek is an online forensic multimedia community that is a great source for finding proprietary players and codecs you may need. Check out the full site at (You'll need to register and get a password to access the downloads area of the site.)

In addition to Gspot there are several other codec appliance applications available for free: Download AFREECODEC VT at, MediaInfo at, AVICodec at and VideoInspector at

Deep Cuts

The FBI recently put together a video titled Caught on Camera: Best Practices for CCTV Systems. The video comes off as a Hollywood production with narration by Annie Wersching, co-star of the TV show 24. But it deals with the realities of CCTV. It shows how the proper setup and installation of CCTV systems helps solve crimes. Watch the video on the FBI's website.

There are a number of video players that forensic video analysts use: You can find Virtual Dub at, GOM Media Player at and AVIedit at

An image tool can be a great help when working with video. IrfanView is an image viewer you can use in place of Windows default image viewer. One thing it enables you to do is open two image files at once for side-by-side comparison. Download it at

If you really want to get deep into video files there is AVISynth, a script-based non-linear video editor, available at and NFI Defraser, a forensic analysis application for detecting partial or full multimedia files, available at

And finally, the NAS Report - National Academy of Sciences: Strengthening Forensic Science in The United States reviews various areas of forensics including: fingerprint, DNA, tire tracks, shoeprints, bloodstain, and firearms to name a few. The report includes some information on digital and multimedia forensic analysis as an "emerging forensic science" but does not specifically address video evidence. It does, however, make recommendations for strengthening our nation's forensic science practices. You can read the report at the website.

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