California Video Depositions, CA Legal Videography - CalDep

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California Deposition Reporters is an owner-operated firm. Our experience includes a variety of venues. Our experience comes from many years of California court reporting experience as well as the deposition arena. We have served clients in a wide variety of professional negligence cases, product liability and government bodies, such as The State of California Senate Energy Investigation. We have done a variety of complex litigation cases. Now covering Civil Trials.

Legal Videography & Videotaped Depositions

Videography started in the 1970s with large video tape-recorders using a large reel-to-reel tape recorder.   One of the early benefits of the videotaped deposition were the reluctant professional witnesses who didn’t want to testify both at a deposition and then at trial.  The legal process for professionals with busy schedules was alleviated by the videotaped deposition that could be used at trial without the witness having to attend both the deposition and then the trial.

Legal videography, like all technology, has changed dramatically from inception through today.  The larger machines have been replaced by smaller, high-definition digital-based recorders with professional grade cameras that are smaller and work better in low-light situations.   The older equipment was large and the set-up time was lengthy, taking an hour to set up and break down.  The sound quality on the early equipment wasn’t as good as the newer and smaller equipment.

The newer equipment and videographers are able to set up in minutes with equipment that is exponentially better with high-definition video and unparalleled sound recording quality.  The picture is important, but if there’s not good sound, the video quality is meaningless. Audio is everything – and the newer equipment has high-definition sound as well as video.

Now in addition to both the high-definition video and audio, we have what is called video synchronization of the deposition transcript to the videotaped deposition. This allows our clients to search for a specific word in the transcript and go directly to that spot in the transcript and play the videotaped section immediately.

Video synchronization is the process of matching up the court reporter’s time-stamped ASCII file with the videotape.  The process can be time-consuming and requires specialized software to link the two together.  The reason the process is time-consuming is deposition testimony is not a constant process.  There are pauses and breaks where there is nothing happening so the ASCII file must be matched at different points throughout the video file with the time stamps on the ASCII file and pinned at different spots to make up for time pauses during the deposition where there is no speaking, as an example, perhaps the witness or counsel are reviewing a document for a pending question or the marking of exhibits.

There are trial presentation software packages such as TrialDirector, Sanction, Summation, LiveNote, and others.  Clips of the video can be easily created for quick playback of portions of the transcript.  There are inexpensive viewers than can play synced video straight from a disk with no software to install.

The advent of YouTube is a good example of the benefits of video to capture interest, entertain and contribute to the deliberation process when evaluating a witness’ testimony.  Transcripts are a great tool but they lack the visual cues provided by videotaped testimony.  The impact of the witness’ video testimony and the linking of the court reporter’s transcript can have an even stronger effect on the determination of the credibility of a witness by showing all the nuances of human interaction and puts the focus on the actual witness and not the simple process of reading from the written record to a jury or trier of fact by the lawyers in the trial.

Another aspect of videotaped depositions is that they can be done in any number of locations to demonstrate, as an example, the location of an accident and can provide a better perspective of the accident scene than a simple picture or artistic depiction of the location. Another use for videotaped depositions is to go to the location of a factory or office building to provide a visual depiction of the physical location. 

Legal videotaped depositions for trial can be edited and the salient points boiled down to a shorter version that points out certain aspects of the witness’ testimony.  There are inexpensive editing programs available for use on computers such as Indata Corp’s Trial Director and Verdict Systems’ Sanction II and others.

In addition to video deposition synchronization, another product for legal videography is video wills, day in the life videotape presentations to demonstrate a day in the life of an injured man or woman.  The ability to see firsthand up close and personal the way an injured party lives their daily life is a powerful demonstration tool for juries and for the evaluation for settlement purposes.

We work with legal videographers who are CLVS certified.  The designation stands for Certified Legal Video Specialist.  Our association with CLVS specialists allows us to focus on the court reporting business and work with specialists with long-standing reputations for professionalism and the production of high-quality California video depositions.  The CLVS firms we work with provide video depositions, synchronization, day in the life videos, editing for trial and media duplications and conversion.  The CLVS firms we work with also provide equipment for trial presentations.

The CLVS experts we work with provide excellent trial presentation support.  They have the expertise to navigate through the technological nightmare in courthouses.  They do an exemplary job and remove the stress of trial presentations.  They have all the equipment and expertise to present our clients’ cases to the jury.  They set up all equipment and troubleshoot to make sure the trial presentation works before the trial starts and provide professional services with all of the visual and audio features necessary for trouble-free trial presentations. For more information about our professional services, please visit our home page California Deposition Reporters. The New York Times has a great article you might find relevant located here.

California Video Depositions

What is a Video Deposition?

A deposition is one of the methods lawyers use to conduct discovery for court cases. During a deposition, lawyers ask witnesses questions under oath. A deponent is allowed to have their attorney present and the attorney from the opposing party is also invited.

Attorneys usually take notes during depositions. But an official transcript is extremely valuable for preparing for the trial and necessary for presenting in court. Usually, a court reporter is present to transcribe the entirety of the deposition. But it is becoming more popular to videotape the deposition in place of or in addition to creating a transcript.

Legal Videography for depositions have a variety of benefits ranging from adding a new dynamic to discovery to presenting a more compelling case in court.

Benefits of Legal Videography

Trial Preparation

Legal Videography is a more useful tool for attorneys preparing for trial than transcripts. By studying the deponent’s answers along with their facial expressions and mannerisms, attorneys can decide whether the witness will be a useful addition to their trial.

By seeing how clients perform during a deposition, lawyers can also give their clients guidance before the trial.

More Direct Answers

With a video camera present, lawyers and witnesses feel like they are speaking directly to the judge and jury. Lawyers tend to present less filler questions. Witnesses tend to answer questions more directly and avoid saying that they don’t know or don’t remember.

This includes witnesses who cannot travel to the court case.

Sometimes witnesses are unwilling or unable to travel to a court hearing. In these circumstances, clips from a video deposition can be played in a courtroom for a judge and jury, in place of a witness testimony.

More Impactful Presentation to the Jury

Video depositions are more impactful than having a litigator read witness testimony to a judge and jury. When a litigator reads a deposition transcript, jurors can become bored. Legal Videography captures the jury’s attention by having the witness recount events. The jury is able to see what the witness looks like, their facial expressions, when they pause to think about a question, and more.

Show Injuries and Damage

In some situations, plaintiffs are unable to make it to court due to injuries they have suffered. Video depositions directly show the jury these injuries and how these injuries affect the plaintiff’s life.

Capture Witnesses’ Activities

In depositions, witnesses may be asked to give demonstrations, draw sketches of scenes, and point to certain areas of their bodies. If a lawyer just reads a transcript that describes these actions, the impact of these activities can be lost on the jury.

More Effectively Point Out Inconsistencies in Witness Testimony

With a video deposition, lawyers can easily play a video of any time the witness changes their story. With video evidence, it becomes more difficult for the witness to say they didn’t understand the question or that their words are being misinterpreted.

A video deposition can also help you protect your own witnesses’ credibility if the opposing party tries to misconstrue what they said in the deposition.

When Should You Decide to Hire Legal Videographer?

It’s a good idea to use Legal Videography any time you are conducting a deposition. However, it is especially important when you are deposing key witnesses or experts.

More and more cases are being settled in depositions rather that in court. A contradiction or lie caught on video can give you the edge you need to win a case or convince the opposition to settle.

International Depositions

Legal Videography is especially important for deposing foreign witnesses who cannot travel to the United States. If you want to avoid flying to another country to depose a witness, you can use mobile video conferencing as a solution.

Book a Legal Videographer With California Deposition Reporters

Legal Videography ensures your deposition is recorded accurately so you and your team can build your case. Book your videographer early to make sure you find the best professional for your deposition.

At California Deposition Reporters, we have court reporters to help any of your needs. Our videographers can help you with everything from selecting a room for your deposition to troubleshooting technical issues. Contact us today to learn more about our services and get your deposition reporting started!