Tag Archives: how to

How citizen video and free tech tools helped us expose war crimes in Nigeria

Previously published in New African Magazine and International Business Times – Also available in Spanish and French

In March 2014 a grainy cell phone video came across my desk that seemed to show a Nigerian soldier murdering an unarmed man in broad daylight. It took me a day and a half to pinpoint the location of this apparent war crime to a specific street corner in Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno and a city of more than 500,000 people.

Confirming the location of an incident is a crucial step in the authentication process, so finding this fact was highly relevant to reference the footage in a report we published on 31 March 2014, exposing war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.  Continue reading How citizen video and free tech tools helped us expose war crimes in Nigeria

How To: Extract Exact Upload Time And Thumbnails From YouTube Videos

It is possible to extract hidden information from YouTube video. This can be a relatively cumbersome process that can be simplified through our YouTube Data Viewer.

Step 1:  Go to the YouTube Data Viewer

Step 2: Enter the URL of your video and hit enter Continue reading How To: Extract Exact Upload Time And Thumbnails From YouTube Videos

YouTube Data Viewer

The YouTube Data Viewer is a simple tool to extract hidden data from videos hosted on YouTube. It allows you to extract the following variables, which are most useful for tracking down original content:

  1. Exact Upload Time
    Useful to determine original video when confronted with several copies of the same video from the same date; and to determine actual upload date in same cases (can be different from public timestamp).
  2. All Thumbnails
    Useful to find older versions of the same video, by conducting a reverse image search

(Please contact us if you are interested in further developing this tool with us).

After clicking on the link below, simply paste the YouTube URL in the relevant field.

dataviewer graphic

Special thanks goes to  David Danforth for the development of this tool.

How To: Extract Audio Only From A YouTube Video

In case you’d like to do an analysis of the audio of a video, there’s a very easy way to extract the audio, using the handy 4K Video Downloader software.

Step 1: Install 4K Video Downloader

Step 2: Copy the video link 

 Step 3: Open 4K Video Downloader on your computer and click “Paste URL”

Copy the YouTube video link before hitting the "Paste URL" button.
Copy the YouTube video link before hitting the “Paste URL” button.

Continue reading How To: Extract Audio Only From A YouTube Video

How To: Download and Preserve Videos

Photo: Screenshot of a video from the Syrian conflict after it has been removed by YouTube. Screenshot taken from YouTube.

The most compelling evidence of a human rights violation captured on video can be lost if investigators do not save the video in question. YouTube videos are often removed, either by the uploader themself, or by YouTube because of violations of its community guidelines. It is thus most crucial for any researcher to first save any video that is being investigated. This is for preservation purposes only.

Downloading and saving videos from YouTube for preservation is very easy. Several simple tools exist to help with this. In this short tutorial, we are using the 4K Video Downloader software, which allows you not only to download individual videos, but entire channels and playlists. Continue reading How To: Download and Preserve Videos

How To: Determine The Exact (Local) Upload Time Of A YouTube Video

Videos on YouTube are only showing the upload date, but not the exact time of upload. This can be important to find the original uploader of a video, and also helps to avoid confusion and incorrect claims about the upload date. The most prominent example for this was the false claim by Russian authorities that the chemical weapons attack in Syria from August 21, 2013, was staged, since some of the videos showed an upload date of August 20.

Detailed Case Study: Syria Chemical Weapons Attack: Debunking Russia’s False Claim About Video Upload Date

Continue reading How To: Determine The Exact (Local) Upload Time Of A YouTube Video