Depositions remain one of the primary and most useful means for litigation attorneys to collect vital information about a legal case. Videoconference depositions are a safe and inexpensive alternative to in-person depositions, eliminating the need for travel and close contact with others. A legal videographer is trained to optimize a videoconference deposition for the best lighting, recording, and sound quality.
While popular videoconference techniques such as Zoom have recording features, a recording of a Zoom deposition using the platform’s recording feature is not the best record of valuable witness testimony. Legal videographers understand that the focus should be on the witness, and they can produce a reliable, high-quality, useful legal record of a videoconference deposition.
How a Legal Videographer Can Optimize Videoconference Depositions
Depositions are used in a variety of contexts. Besides collecting important information, they can educate lawyers about the witness’ expected testimony and demeanor, be used to support summary judgment motions, be used for impeachment, and, in circumstances such as the unavailability of a witness, be used at trial in place of live testimony.
With all of these, including the potential that the deposition will be shown to the judge and jury of the case, lawyers should seek the best quality virtual deposition services available. An experienced legal videographer can make sure sound, picture, and lighting are clear and appropriate use in legal proceedings.
Legal Videographers Focus on the Witness
Zoom calls may have several attorneys and parties participating; a Zoom recording showing these participants as equal to the witness distracts from the main purpose: hearing the witness’ testimony and observing his or her demeanor. Experienced and well-trained legal videographers understand that, rather than displaying several windows of poorly lit participants in the Zoom call, virtual or Zoom depositions should focus on the witness and his or her testimony.
Only the witness should be filmed, including his or her reactions to questions, and the recording should be well-lit, with a high-definition picture and crisp, clear sound. While the recording of the questioning attorneys should also be clear and audible, the witness is the star of the show.
Qualified Legal Videographers Are Trained to Produce Optimal Video and Sound Quality and a Dependable Recording
While Zoom has proven to be an excellent and vital tool in the virtual deposition services world, it was not created or adapted for recording sworn testimony for legal proceedings. The picture and sound quality are intended to allow the participants to hear and see each other but are not intended as an important legal record for use in judicial proceedings. Zoom recordings may fail, be garbled or dark, be lost, or possibly be manipulated.
A qualified legal videographer monitors sound, picture, and recording in real time, ensuring a complete, accurate, and usable record of a Zoom deposition. Legal videographers can make adjustments as necessary throughout the deposition and coordinate with experienced court reporters to add features such as displaying exhibits in the video recording or creating a synchronous deposition transcript that runs on a split screen in the video. They then play a safekeeping role, protecting the recorded testimony from loss, accidental destruction, or manipulation.
Legal Videographers Should be Trained and Certified
While some states require that legal videographers have certain credentials or certifications—with continuing education requirements—other states require only that the videographer be authorized to administer oaths. For the best videoconference deposition, legal videographers should be trained and certified. Such certifications are offered by the National Court Reporter Association (Certified Legal Video Specialist) and the American Guild of Court Videographers (Certified Deposition Video Specialist and Certified Evidentiary Video Specialist).
Leaving vital witness testimony to be recorded (or possibly not recorded) by Zoom and similar applications serves neither clients nor justice. At Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video, our court reporters and certified legal videographers provide experienced, customized court reporting and other legal support services in Arizona or nationwide. For a quality legal videographer, court reporting, virtual deposition services, and more, contact us by calling 800.262.DEPO (3376) or by completing the online contact form.