This week I wanted to continue the discussion on EVP’s. I want to cover my best practices for reviewing EVPs after the investigation. The first thing that you have to remember is that however long the time period was that you made the recording you can almost double that in some instances when reviewing the same recording. Why do I say double? I will get into that in a moment. The next most important thing to remember is that you need to be fresh when you begin your review. You are going to need all of your thinking power to concentrate on what you are hearing. Which brings me to the next part, which is no distraction. You need to your total focus on what you are doing. That means nothing else going on around you if you can help it. Now this does not count if you are reviewing evidence in a team setting. However, if you are not, then you need to sit quietly somewhere where you have the least likely chance of being disturbed. You should not have any other electronic things going on (radio, Television, other investigative video, etc.)
You have been on a long investigation and you have a number of hours of recordings to go through. Not to mention the pictures and videos that you took. I personally always go through pictures first, recordings second, and lastly I tackle the videos. This of course, is personal preference. You need to come up with your own system that works for you. The one thing that is constant in all of these reviews is what I discussed in the first paragraph. In addition, it is never a good idea to try to review evidence on the same day or night that you did the recording. You can do a real time EVP (you listen as you record) and mark areas to concentrate on but as I said you need to be fresh and I do not know anyone who is fresh after an investigation if it is being done properly.
You need to have some type of software program in order to review evidence effectively when it relates to digital recordings. There are a number of different available products on the market that are sufficient for this task. The Audacity program is a very good program you can download free on the internet. Just go to Audacity.com and get the free download. I personally use Adobe Audition. It is a bit expensive; however, I have found that I am able to hear the audio much better. I am also able to do the things I need to do to isolate what I am hearing. Remember, I said isolate not change. I believe that there are only two effects that should be done on a recording that is going to be released publicly. These are amplification and noise reduction. If you change anything else, you are going to be subject to questioning of your evidence. You may get that anyway since not everyone hears the same thing all the time. Nevertheless, changing more than these two things can be considered tampering with the original to make it say what you want it to say.
I suggest that you listen through the entire recording before doing any changes to the raw recording. What I do, if I hear something on the playback, is to highlight that portion and save it as a new file that can be examined more closely later. Try to give it a name that has the time in it so you can keep track of it. Then continue with the review. Make sure that you have enough of the clip saved for the examination. I recommend at least 3 to 5 seconds before and after the actual EVP you want to enhance. This should of course be longer if the EVP is an answer to a direct question, which was asked. Then continue listening to the recording and repeating the copying process for all portions you want to examine. Break your review sessions down into 20 to 30 minute sessions. You will lose your attention span quickly if you do not. You will get tired, distracted and possibly miss something. Take a break, relax away from the computer, and come back after the break refreshed and ready to go again. Remember me telling you that you could double your review time? This is one of the reasons why.
The second reason is the enhancement of the audio clips you pull. In my first article, I discussed the difference between Class A, B, or C EVPs. Class A’s do not need much enhancement. You can hear what is being said clearly and distinct or the noise clearly and distinct. You may want to remove some background noise for a better clip, but this is not necessary. Class B and C EVPs are a different story. Sometimes you will need to take the background noise out and amplify the audio to get a clip that is more easily understood. Sometimes you only need one or the other, but I have found it is best to do a little of each. After you have done all of the tedious work on your recordings, it is time to get a second and possibly a third opinion on what you captured. Do not tell the person or persons what you think it says; let them tell you what they think it says. This leads a lot of credibility to your evidence. Do not be disappointed if someone else does not hear what you hear. Discuss it and come to a consensus on whether or not it should be included in the final review for the client.
A long process that will pay off in the end. Stick to it. Do not get discouraged and most importantly – take your time. As always if you want further information on the process or want to comment on the articles I post, please contact me using the comment page or through the contact page on this website