Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Videography






Answers to All Your Questions About Legal Videography

Why videotape a deposition and how is it used in trial?

There are several reasons why attorneys choose videotape a deposition. One use is to have the witness’s testimony just in case the witness is unable to testify in court. Another is to use a portion of the video to challenge a witness if their story changes during a trial, as it has a greater impact seeing the witness say something else than reading the transcript of the deposition. Videos can be reviewed more than once for more clarity. 

Videotaping a deposition can be a great resource for expert testimonies– as it saves the expert’s time if they have conflicts getting to court, but still allows the court to see and hear the expert’s testimony. 

Are deposition videographers certified?

No. Some states require a deposition videographer to be “authorized to administer an oath,” which means they should be a notary, court reporter, court bailiff, or something of the sort. If a videographer advertises themselves as “certified,” it is likely accquired through a purchase or minimal paperwork. It has no connection with the government and does not imbue legal status, so it is no indication of the videographer’s qualifications. 

Can deposition video be used instead of live testimony?

This is only allowed if both sides and the judge agree to it, but most laws require a witness to be present in court if they are available. The law is more relaxed for expert witnesses, as they can be excused with a video deposition in their place. 

How should a witness prepare for their video deposition?

The general process of preparing your speech is still the same, but there are a few presentation issues witnesses should be aware of. A few common mistakes include: wearing shirts with busy patterns, as they can be warped and distracting on camera; avoid overly shiny jewelry and jewelry that may cause interference with the lavaliere microphone if brushed.

Witnesses should sit with proper posture, avoid rocking their chair or fidgeting too much, as it can appear unintelligent or even suspicious looking to some. Witnesses should avoid muttering under their breaths, clicking pens, or doing anything that could cause excess noise, as the microphone will pick it all up. 

What is deposition synchronizing?

Synchronizing is the process of lining up the deposition video file with the transcript, so the transcript appears on screen as captions. The occurs after the deposition has taken place, and is done using a playback software. It allows viewers more clarity of what was said and when it was said, and allows for easier retrieval of clips when attorneys and paralegals need them. It is an important aspect of the legal videography process.


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