University of Indianapolis lab explains Boston video analysis

Photo courtesy WHDH Boston
Published: .
Updated: .

The Boston Marathon bombing is perhaps the most photographed crime in American history. Those images will play a crucial role in the investigation.

Federal authorities are analyzing every photo and piece of video showing the moments before and after the Boston Marathon bombing. On Wednesday, reports indicated that investigators had recovered video from a Boston department store that may show the suspect placing a bag at one of the explosion sites.

Earlier images of a bag next to a trash can near the finish line are under intense scrutiny because that's the spot of the initial explosion. Investigators hope the pictures will reveal clues leading them to the bomber.

A forensic video lab at the University of Indianapolis has helped police in the past put a face to suspected criminals. Grant Fredericks, a forensics video analyst with the university's Digital Media Evidence Processing Lab, explained how investigators can use the technology.

"You'll have images that show an empty area where the packages were placed. I suspect you'll have images that show the packages there on location and who put them there. Everybody who may need a profile will be coded. They'll be coded with the green shirt, the yellow hat, the shorts that he's wearing, the type of shoes. And so if they find a suspect that meets that coding information, the code will be run and every image of that person will be instantly available and trackable," said Fredericks.

The Digital Media Evidence Processing Lab is a video processing and analysis facility created years ago to solve crimes and terrorist attacks. It's one of the largest in the country, and it was established by the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association.

Throughout the year it trains forensic analysts from police departments across the country. The lab also has an emergency response team, and that team - combined with raw computer power - can quickly search, compare and sort through thousands of hours of video and hundreds of thousands of pictures to to identify evidence, clues and suspects.