The Situation Room – Phone cameras can be eye witness to traumatic events

Mac Olsen

You never know what your smartphone camera can capture in those moments of harrowism and harsh reality.
A couple of weeks ago, a CTV News station in Toronto broadcast a road rage incident involving a car and a truck. A smartphone camera recorded the incident, which shows the truck deliberately hitting the car and a woman is thrown from the truck during the incident.
Horrifying to say the least, especially as the woman could have died.
Then there was the dramatic footage, last year, of a driver fleeing the Fort McMurray fires. They put their smartphone on the dashboard or windshield and set the camera to record the fire and smoke falling all around the vehicle as they drove away.
Just imagine the driver not making it through that cauldron of destruction, but fortunately they did.
Of course, there are other point-of-view video formats. They include unmanned aerial vehicles and drones.
Go to the Little Smoky Ski Hill’s Facebook page and you can see aerial footage of the facility. Smoky River Fire and Rescue has their own UAV to help in planning how to fight a fire.
It’s not very expensive to purchase a POV camera for your helmet or body, to get that exciting footage of biking along a narrow path or falling to earth in skydiving fun.
I’m contemplating a POV setup for my rifle. I’ve seen it used for hunting shows and it provides great footage of the animal you’re hunting.
In rare instances, for work, I’ve used the camera function on my smartphone to record events and then I post it to the Express’ Facebook page.
But most of the time, I use the video function on my digital SLR camera for that purpose, as I have found it to deliver better video quality.
Social media has the function to broadcast yourself live, too.
While it’s good to be able to capture video footage of incidents like the one broadcast on the CTV News station and the driver going through the fire on the way out of Fort McMurray, knowing when not to publish or broadcast something is also important.
In April, I wrote about Steve Stephens, who uploaded a video to Facebook of a murder he allegedly committed. I expressed concern that the social media company had to take greater responsibility for ensuring such violent content is not published on their site.
Since that time, the social company has hired more people to scrutinize what is posted on their site. Kudos for the effort, but I hope all the other social media companies are making the same efforts.
Granted, violent content is difficult to keep from being posted on social media or the Internet. Nonetheless, the effort still has to be made to control it.
Nor do I condone protest groups who go out and commit violence and post their “messages” on social media. They, too, have to be held accountable and censored for their actions.
Regardless, smartphones and other POV cameras give us glimpses about life and the world like never before.

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