A low-cost, battery-operated surveillance system was developed for use in international nuclear safeguards. The resulting system utilizes components of the commercial Polavision instant movie system to provide single-frame color or black/white images which are automatically developed and displayed by a portable Polavision Player whenever it is desired to stop and view the film. The system is designed for long-term unattended use, triggered by a timer or other input signal. To provide positive assurance of continuing operation, a self-diagnostic module was designed to detect the most common failure modes and transmit real-time status data to a remote location. The resulting system provides a low-cost surveillance capability which may be useful in various law enforcement applications.