Monday, January 23, 2012

Your Next Video Deposition

Having the deposition of a key witness video taped is always a good idea and a great tool. But here are some quick tips to keep in mind.

1. Have someone in the room whose sole responsibility is to man the camera.
This needs to include mics on all the participants. I cannot stress how badly it looks on the attorney in front of a jury when you play a clip with bad audio (they will just shut down on you).

Ideally you need to hire an outside company that handles all the equipment choices and the requirements. But make sure good audio, appropriate back drop behind the deponent, and please make sure they turn off the display settings on the camera (you don’t want the battery icon, date, time, and lens info displayed in front of the jury)

2. Keep a clean record.
I have seen it many times in a deposition when opposing counsel is just plain objecting so as to get a clean record. When review the videotaped deposition of a defendant or a key witness, that I am asked to cut key clips to be played in trial or to get some ready just in case a witness decides to “change there mind”, I always find it surprising when the attorney asking the questions gets an objection and does not re-ask the same question so we can get a clear Q&A on the tape. It is much harder to edit out objections from video if you don’t have a clean record and the overall product is a lot clearer when the edits are done.

3. Get video synced with the transcript.

If you going through the process of videotaping then go the extra step and have the video synced to the depo transcript. This allows for the transcript to follow along with the video simultaneous. This also make it possible to make clips on the fly.(ask for correct format depending on your trial/depo software.)

Final thought ask for the cameraman to place the camera right over your shoulder that way the deponent is looking at the camera when answering. It makes it as if he is actually sitting in the courtroom with the jury talking to them. (also makes it easier to capture a still shot for use in PowerPoint for opening or closing arguments).

And if you ever need an attorney please consider one that acknowledges the power of using video taped depos. Call the R. Rex Parris Law Firm if you are in an accident. Stay safe out there.

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