The Cal Dep Difference
- Experienced Realtime Court Reporters
- Last Minute Scheduling
- Secure Online Office, Scheduling and Document Repository
- Personal service that meets or exceeds our clients’ needs.
- Our best assets are our clients. Our mission is to provide professional services that meet or exceed our clients’ expectations.
- We believe the difference between the competition and Cal Dep are the court reporters we work with. Their personal commitment to excellence is unparalleled.
- The professionalism and congeniality the office provides clients is yet another reason to choose Cal Dep.
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 The larger machines have been replaced by smaller, high-definition digital-based recorders with professional grade cameras that are smaller and work better in low-light situations.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.