XL1s In Use in the War on Terrorism - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old June 14th, 2003, 05:40 PM   #16
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
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Last September I was riding along with a firefighter in a FDNY van when he started talking about his experience on 9/11. So I quickly began recording what he had to say -- sitting in the front seat of the van with my Canon XL1 -- while he drove through one of the tunnels.

No one stopped us or bothered us a bit about it. I wonder how valuable such images could be when the truly determined could just as easily make engineering sketches? It's like saying no one is allowed to shoot pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge so the weak points aren't made public.

Here in Hawaii the Navy is just as paranoid. News media can shoot only the Memorial or the USS Missouri. Can't point anywhere else, nevermind that we were established news media there to cover the efforts of cops searching a nearby stream for a murder weapon. And people already know who we are, many of us having worked in the business for more than 20 years!

And it doesn't matter that the whole naval base is easily observed from nearby Halawa and Aiea heights -- and that it was exactly how the Japanese gathered intelligence for the Pearl Harbor attack. It also doesn't matter that there are whole boatloads of tourists with cameras pointing everywhere everyday.

They just have to make sure that the news guys don't shoot anything unrelated to news where it'll end up getting published and in the hands of terrorists. The Navy commander on scene fully understood the pointlessness of it all, but she had to follow orders from above. It was eventually (and reluctantly) straightened out.

Sometimes the war on terrorism goes overboard for lack of common sense. One guy attempts to hide a bomb in his shoes. Now grandmothers with canes are asked to doff their sneakers for fear of a bomb being smuggled onto an airplane. Egads.

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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Old June 17th, 2003, 01:21 PM   #17
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Ok, I can finally share a few details, for those of you who are interested:

The XL1s was used in a simple Surveillance operation. It was mounted on a tripod, shooting out the back of a van with tinted windows, towards a home that was being watched. The intent was to capture who visited the home, and to see if anything was delivered to the home. The van was parked some 45 yards from the house. I'd set up the Camera with the digital zoom active, to increase their ability to zoom in on license plates or faces. I'd set them up with a standard Tiffen UV Filter, and also included a couple of ND filters and a Polarizer in a small lens kit that also included lens cleaning cloth and a lens pen.

They also used the still image feature to get snapsnots of a few faces.

For the Civil Libertarians out there, this surveillance was conducted under a warrant issued by a Federal judge, following previous indictments by a Federal Grand jury. The suspects are alleged to be involved in bank and wire fraud, including credit card fraud, the proceeds of which may be used to fund terrorism groups in the US and Canada. The investigation involves a Joint Task Force, including the US Secret Service, FBI and local law enforcement (probably LAPD).

The Camera that the local office my friend works at uses is a Canon Optura, which didn't provide them sufficient zoom capabilities for their needs...at least, that was their concern, which is why my buddy asked to borrow my XL1s. They weren't concerned with having to conceal the Camera, since it would be in a van with tinted windows. They weren't concerned about portability, since they wouldn't be going anywhere. Just good pictures at the 45-50 yard range.

They also have a nice Nikon still/film camera of some sort, I didn't get specifics on the lens they were using or focal lengths, but my friend said it was pretty 'fancy' looking. That was about as much as he knows about it.

Based on the footage I saw, they sat there for 2 days and shot a bunch of tape of a house. A few people came and went. Not very interesting, I'm afraid. I am told, however, that the Agent In Charge of the operation and field office here in LA was very impressed with the footage and the camera, and my buddy scored some points for getting one on the scene on short notice (and for FREE). The other agents were also impressed with the camera, even guys who'd been working for years in the business doing this stuff. Everybody thought it was pretty 'high-tech', if that gives you some idea of the type of stuff they are used to using.

So, that's the end of my indirect involvement with this case, but I hope they get these guys, if, indeed, they are involved in any way with funding terrorist organizations. I'm glad I could help, in even this small way....one more reason I am very glad I have an XL1s in my closet at home.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 11:37 AM   #18
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
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here in oz, digital footage cannot be used as evidense in court due to ease of manipulation... basically you can take footage, and it can be used to survey or wahtever, but if its digital, forget it...

especially still fotos... our courts still dont recognise digital technology...
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Old June 25th, 2003, 03:54 PM   #19
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Location: Paris, France
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I think it's a good thing the cops can't afford the XL1. They need less money, not more of it.

... better off spending tax money on health, education and social welfare programs than turning a country based on freedom into a police state.

That goes for this so-called WOT. Address the core issues not their manifestations. Find and correct the causes, don't declare war on the reactions.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. - Albert Einstein

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Old June 25th, 2003, 04:26 PM   #20
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Ummm...okay then. Thanks for that. Have you considered going into politics?

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