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In the wake of a federal judge criticizing the NYPD's videotaping procedures last week, I-Witness Video looks at what the NYPD actually uses to record public events and calls it "360 degrees of surveillance," best illustrated by what the police used during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Officers used "lipstick cameras" which are easily concealed, as well as helicopters with "military-style infrared imaging." And Fuji lent the NYPD its BlimpCam, and I-Witness Video describes the blimpcam footage from August 27, 2004:

The first scene on the clip shows people from the antiwar group Not in Our Name lying on the grass in Central Park, spelling out a giant "NO" with their bodies. Every so often the camera operator focuses on some young women lounging nearby who do not seem to be part of the antiwar event. The hovering blimp cam seems almost to float above this tranquil scene. It might even be a pretty picture if it were not for the fact that we are viewing this all through what appears to be a military targeting scope superimposed on the frame...

When the camera zooms out, what seems like half of the island of Manhattan comes quickly into focus. The blimp cam has a truly awesome depth of field and range...

The NYPD Fuji blimp continues downtown to Union Square Park where it floats above the assemblage of parkgoers and bicyclists gathering for the Critical Mass ride... A man stares directly up at the blimp, giving rise to the insight that staring directly at an aerial observation platform allows a perfect view of your face.

There are videos of each kind of surveillance, which we recommend you to check out - all the footage converges on the Critical Mass ride that resulted in hundreds of arrests. Photoblogger Mike Epstein from Satan's Laundromat was arrested and wrote about his experience.