Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Videography

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Answers to the Top Legal Videography Questions

Q: Why videotape a deposition and how is it used? 

A: Attorneys may record a deposition for any number of reasons. Recording a deposition can serve as a second lifeline if the witness is unable to testify in court. This is a great resource for expert witnesses as well, as it saves the expert’s time while allowing the court to see and hear their testimony. The deposition can also be used to challenge the opposing counsel’s witness if their story changes between deposition and trial. These videos can be reviewed more than once to clarify a situation

Credit: Elite Court Reporting Agency

Q: Are deposition videographers certified professionals?

A: Some states may require a deposition videographer to be “authorized to administer an oath,” such as a notary, court reporter, or bailiff, but they do not have to be certified videographers. If a videographer advertises themselves as such, the certification was likely acquired through paperwork or purchase. 

Q: Can a video of a deposition be used in place of live testimony? 

A: If both counsels and the judge agree to it, this may be allowed, but many laws require a witness to be present in court if they can make it. In the case of expert witnesses, however, laws generally allow them to be excused with a video deposition.

Credit: Advance Videography

Q: How should a witness prepare for a video deposition?

Attorneys should prepare the testimony as they normally would, but in the case of video depositions, there are presentation issues to consider. Advise against wearing shirt with busy patterns that will be warped on camera, avoid shiny jewelry and/or jewelry that may bump the lavaliere microphone and cause interference. Instruct witnesses to sit with proper posture and avoid fidgeting, as some may feel it appears suspicious. Do not mutter under one’s breath, click pens, or do anything that may cause excess noise. The microphone is sensitive and will pick up any little sound.

Q: What is deposition synchronizing?

Synchronizing is the process of lining up a video file of a deposition with the transcript, so the text appears on the screen as someone is speaking– similar to captions. This is done with playback software after the deposition has taken place. This provides clients more clarity about what was said and allows for easier clip retrieval when attorneys are looking for a specific timeframe in the deposition. 

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