Tips For Obtaining Better Video And Investigative Photography
By Kirk Menard And Ralph Thomas

It's worth repeating! An investigation is only as good as the evidence it obtains. When that evidence is video or still photos, you want to obtain the very best you can obtain. Here are some tips and tricks to make your investigative video and photography better.

1) Use a good tripod or stabilizing pod when possible......the first step to improving video is stabilizing them. However, it's important to use a quality one when you can. Cheap tripods are worse than none at all. There are several specialized pods just for the surveillance specialist. These include:

The Camera Clamp
For Cameras, Spotter Scopes, Video Cameras, High Powered Binoculars, Night Vision Scopes And Other Surveillance Optics! Clamps To Almost Anything!

The Jo Mount!
Eliminate Shaky Video with Jo Mount
After twenty years of sitting in cars and conducting surveillance, using cameras with cumbersome tripods, we asked ourself, "Isn't there a better way?". The Jo Mount was born.

2) When shooting video or still photography outside your vehicle, it's also a wise idea to use a camera stock to help with stabilization. Below is a highly rated unit:

The Camera/Camcorder Optics Stock
The Camera /Camcorder Optics Stock was designed to give the user a light weight, portable, quick deployment means of steadying a camera, video camera, or optics such as a telescope or spotting scope. Although not as stable as a tripod, this device will greatly enhance the ease, use, and stability of your optical and camera equipment. The stock can collapse to just 10" in length and weighs only about 9 oz.

3) Use telephoto lens when you need to. There is even a still camera with a highly powerful telephoto lens designed just for stabilization. Below is a review of it:

Amazing Telephoto Surveillance Camera Kit

High quality 35 mm conventional camera with a super zoom telephone lens and unique camera stock trigger mount makes this kit ideal for shooting long range still surveillance photography.

4) Learn when to pan, zoom and use other moves. A common mistake is making constant movements and adjustments.

5) Learn your camcorder and it's features and use them! Great video shots are obtained by knowing every function of your camcorder that is a necessary element of making better videos.

6) When panning and zooming. use slow, smooth, and deliberate mitions...this will make your videos easier to view.

7) Use image stabilization.

8) Look into the light conditions and know the light rating for your video camera.

9) What your video periodically and attempt to continually improve your video skills.

10) Don't forget to press the stop recording button after the recording has finished.

11) Relax, breath slowly while videotaping.

12) There is nothing worse than getting caught red-handed taking investigative photos on a surveillance or obtaining video footage. Keep it covert! Sometimes that's easier said than done but you can do it with the use of smaller video cameras and covert use still cameras. The smaller video cameras are much harder to see by one observing from a distance. The covert still cameras don't look like cameras at all! Here is a review of some of them:

Micro Small Combo Digital Cameras And Video Cameras:

Amazing 12 MegaPixel Micro Digital Camcorder

This little baby fits in the palm of your hand and delivers 12 mega pixels of power resolution. The perfect solution for surveillance with it's built-in 8 X power zoom lens. Look at these amazing features and specifications.

12 Mega Pixel Digital Camera/Camcorder With Screen

This little gem started a new revolution last year in higher end tiny digital camera/camcorders. It takes very good pictures and very good videos and you will love it's small size and functions. It's doubled in the number of mega pixels you get from 6.0 to 12.0.
Palm-sized Digital Video Camcorder
The World's Smallest Digital Video Recorder!
This digital video camera is so small, you can almost hide it in the palm of your hand. The perfect video camera for those out-of-the-car surveillance needs. It is very small, it's and it is very light weight! In fact, it's the smallest, and lightest digital video camera in the word and it's at an AMAZING price

Covert Digital Cameras:

The Digital Pen Camera
Looks like a pen, writes like a pen, but is also a digital color camera. Stores 36 pictures which can be downloaded to your computer via USB cable (included). Great for covert applications. Includes 4 standard "coin cell" batteries, USB cable, software CD, instruction manual, and deluxe hard travel case.
Zippo Lighter Color Photo Digital Camera
This digital camera is built in to a non-functioning cigarette lighter. This unit is equipped with a 64 MB SDRAM memory that stores 104 images (standard 640x480 resolution) or 30 images (High 1280x960 resolution). Images can be easily downloaded to your computer using the USB cable
Covert Wrist Watch Digital Camera And Video Camera

More ways to sneakily take pictures or video of other people is found with the Covert Wrist Watch Digital Camera and Video Camera! It is a wrist watch with a covert digital camera and video camera built-in. It will take up to 312 “full color, excellent resolution” photos or about 10 minutes of video. It comes with a USB dock to contact it to your computer for downloading.
NEW! Covert Calculator Slim-Line Digital Camera
Great on-the-go tool for all investigators! It's featuring a very slim "card" type calculator and quality digital camera in one "shirt pocket" size unit. High speed transfer of images to your computer via included USB interface cable. 8K internal memory stores 32 images at high resolution (1280 x 960 pixels) and 117 images at standard resolution (640 X 480 pixels).

13) Presentation is everything! With digital cameras, you can imbed the still photos or video frames you obtain into your investigative report and make your report look highly professional.

14) Keep up with technology! The video camera you purchased five or ten years ago works ok but it's likely out of date. Technology changes quickly and as a professional, you need to make sure you always have the best equipment. At least three or four times a year, invest a couple of dollars in the photography and video magazines you find on the news stand so you keep a good idea of what the latest technology is.