7 Video Deposition Best Practices

Video Deposition Best Practices

Can You See It? YES, YOU CAN!

Videography is a valuable tool in the deposition toolbox. Video testimony can strengthen a case and is sometimes necessary during an actual trial should a key witness not be able to appear in person.

Non-Verbals Impact Interpretation The jury will get a better idea about the demeanor of a witness if they can actually see the witness.  All emotion is lost in the written answer alone. Video testimony can impact the jury’s interpretation of the facts. If your deponent is “animated” and tends to make faces or roll their eyes or gesture with their hands a lot (your client will likely know if these are traits specific to a witness), you may want those “animations” captured on video.  For example, if a question is asked, then the deponent looks over at your client, shakes their head, rolls their eyes, then says, ”Yes,” the record is only going to say, “Yes.” For obvious reasons, a video deposition would prove very useful in that example.

Here are 7 Video Deposition Tips Every Paralegal Should Know:

  • Reserve adequate space. When booking a room for your video deposition, be sure the room is large enough to accommodate all parties as well as the videographer and their video equipment. Is there enough room for the parties to stretch and yawn? If not, you’ll need a larger room. This can easily be handled by your court reporting firm by letting them know how many individuals you expect in addition to the videographer, the witness and the reporter.  Another detail regarding space is to use a room that allows for controllable outside lighting, i.e., blinds for windows. Adequate light can make a huge difference in quality.
  • Grant the videographer early access. It’s standard practice for the videographer to arrive about one hour prior to the scheduled start time to make sure all equipment testing has been done, adjustments to room lighting have been considered, with time remaining to address any technical issues.
  • Stop the garbling! Unlike the parental voiceover on Peanuts, garbled sound has no place in a deposition. A few helpful tips that can make a big difference in sound quality include: turning cell phones and unnecessary technology off, avoid placing papers against lav or table mics, and always check with the videographer for proper mic placement to minimize extraneous noise. These tips will help ensure a cleaner record and clearer sound for playback.
  • Off the record. Videographers keep rolling until instructed to go off the record by attending counsel. Sometimes snippets of conversations may occur between counsel while exhibits are being marked by the reporter or as an aside between co-counsel. Mics are extremely sensitive. Don’t forget that sotto voce comments may still be audible on the video record, even if the reporter cannot hear it to put it in the transcript. Always remember that audio and video are still rolling unless an instruction was clearly given to go off the record.
  • One at a time, please. During any deposition, it’s important to speak one at a time so the court reporter can capture the best record. During a video deposition, this is especially important. Otherwise, you may end up with a video for a jury that is full of unnecessary “one at a time, please” requests from your court reporter.
  • 20/20 Vision. The camera will be the eyes and ears of the deposition. It’s important to keep the area clean and free from clutter so that the field of view is not obstructed by cups, trash, food, files or anything else that could be distracting to the jury. Your videographer is there to capture the best video record. If you are curious as to what will appear on screen, you can always ask to see what the shot looks like before proceeding.
  • Special needs, please. If you have any special needs that you feel may impact your deposition, please state those at least a couple days prior. Special requests may include an interpreter or specific macro shots (or a host of other details pertaining to your video deposition). Stating special requests ahead of time helps us deliver the best end-product for your case.

Videography is a fabulous tool to improve the depth and breadth of your case. The video team at SKR consists of nationally trained videographers, all who have attained the Certified Legal Video Specialist designation. We hope these seven tips will help you prepare for your next video deposition. Schedule your next video deposition with SKR.

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