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Footage that documents ‘what really happened’ is usually called ‘evidence’. Even surveillance footage can be subjective. Way back when the Rodney King tapes hit the airwaves it was obvious to most people he got the crap kicked out of him from the police. However, only a portion of said footage was seen. When it was shown in court you had opposing sides looking at the same footage and giving their take on ‘what really happened’ and then the jury didn’t see a ‘King-sized Buttwhuppin’. Instead they ‘saw’ officers attempting to subdue a dangerous perpertrator. When it comes to humans looking at recorded images it harkens back to that old Richard Pryor joke, ‘Who’re you going to believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?’
The diff between surveillance video and documentary is documentary tries to tell a compelling story and it has to be ‘edited’ to make it watchable. The importance of surveillance video is ‘the fly on the wall’ aspect. But for it to be credible, it must be unedited and unretouched. Watching surveillance video is like watching your toenails grow.