We see a lot of witnesses in our line of work. When it comes to video, we have seen everything from suits and ties to fluorescent safety vests. When preparing a witness to testify in front of a video camera, visual presentation is crucial, especially if he or she is an expert or a party to the case.
While there are no strict rules, there are some basic guidelines that are advisable to follow. Generally tight patterns such as plaid should be avoided. Instead, choose solid natural colors such as browns, blues, and greens. Pastels are also good choices. Pure white, bright red, and any other blinding fluorescent colors should be avoided as they do not photograph well.
A witness should try to wear something with a collar or a lapel on which to attach the microphone. Suit jackets are the best for this purpose. This looks more professional, ensures better sound, and for women, ensures that their clothes won’t be tugged down awkwardly by their microphone. Women should also avoid tank tops and sleeveless tops as these are especially problematic when placing a microphone.
When in doubt, just consider what you would tell the witness when preparing to testify at trial. If a witness is dressed in courtroom-appropriate attire, there should be no problem!
Wearing tight patterns can be distracting and look weird on camera.
Always have a collar for the lapel mic to attach.
Wearing all white can wash out the witness’ face causing him/her to look pale
Women should wear a collared shirt so they can still attach the microphone to their shirt.
Look professional by wearing a suit coat, solid color shirt and tie.