In the second installment of our archive mini-series, we publish a video we produced in November 2018 as Iraq deployed thousands of troops to secure its Syrian border against ISIS.
This video shows the early stages of our video validation process of frontline footage received from our cameraman on-the-ground.
This video is part of our archive mini-series that aims to show some of the processes we developed and integrated behind-the-scenes in our newsroom, before publicly launching the Ruptly Verification Unit in May 2019.
Our verification unit, however, was established in our newsroom in September 2018 — eight months later, in May 2019, we brought it into the public eye.
During that intervening period, much effort went into workflow development, training our newsroom staff and building up a video production process.
Within the unit, we produce three types of video: explain, insight and investigation.
To date, we have published investigation and insight videos.
Our mini-series focuses on ‘explain’ videos, which cater for our everyday workflow and are based on the principles of verification: source, date and location.
In the video, we show how we use some fundamental verification methods, such as the comparison of image assets and combing satellite and geospatial mapping tools to match-up visual elements.
Here we outline the full process behind each verified video: authenticating source, date and location.
We received the footage on November 5, 2018, via one of our cameramen in Iraq, who we commissioned to cover this story.
We scanned the footage through InVid and searched for duplicate footage on social media platforms using keywords — this helped us ascertain the authenticity of the footage and ensure it was not archive material.
We found no images on any other social media platform that were an exact duplicate of the footage sent to us by our cameraman.
Our footage related to an ongoing development, rather than a one-off event. Therefore, we looked to corroborate the deployment of Iraqi troops along the southern border with Syria.
Googling keywords associated to the offensive and region, we found three news articles — from a diverse geographical range — which all corroborated the deployment of Iraqi troops in a large scale anti-ISIS offensive.
Our work so far on source and date needed the support of pinpoint geolocation to satisfy our validation standards, giving our newsroom the green light to publish this footage to our global clients.
In our footage we had an aerial shot showing large swathes of land along the Euphrates River.
Focusing on these aerial shots we follow the river pattern and terrain, taking note of a distinct facility on the river bank in the area our cameraman told us the footage was recorded, near Furat in Qa’im.
Searching Google Maps, Bing Maps, Google Earth and WikiMapia, we confirmed that this distinct riverbank facility was close to a larger water treatment facility. But we still had no corroborating image or second-hand visual of the riverbank facility.
We looked for existing open source images of this riverbank facility and found an image geopinned on Mapio.
We compared this Mapio image closely with our aerial shots and confirmed that it was riverbank facility seen in our footage.
The full footage of Iraq’s anti-SIS offensive, published on Ruptly’s website, is available here: https://ruptly.tv/en/videos/20181105-017
The next post in our archive mini-series will look at how we verified UGC showing Soyuz MS-10’s failure to launch in October, 2018.