Now You See (and Hear) Them!
For all of you who have thought how nice it would be to have every deposition videoed, but did not think that the value of every case was worth the cost of hiring a videographer, here is a DIY tip worth considering. For a relatively small investment of time and money, you can video every deposition.
The investment of money is in getting a reasonably good quality digital video camera, a small tripod and an external microphone. The investment in time is in learning to set up the camera and tripod, starting the camera, and saving the resulting digital file. Neither needs to be a big investment.
Once you have planned your introductory comments to include reference to the fact that the deposition is being recorded and stating the time, date and location of the deposition on camera, you can forget that the camera is there. Once the deposition is done, download the MPG file to a thumb or hard drive or write it to DVD. Now you can file it with the rest of your case materials for future use.
True, you will not get any window-in-window shots showing attorneys and deponent. If you want to capture an image of an exhibit, someone will have to hold it up to the camera. And most of the videos will never be seen in trial.
However, not only does this give you a visual and audio record of the deposition, complete with any long pauses, facial expressions and body language, it gives you the opportunity to revisit the deposition “live.”
Should there be deposition testimony that you want to include for settlement brochures, use for impeachment at trial or use if the deponent is no longer available, you have so much more than the flat words on a page. The court reporter’s transcript can be synched to the video and clips can be made from the video (with or without a synchronized transcript).
The following are a few suggestions for equipment or talk with your local stores. The Lighting Kit is very useful for consistent lighting, but is definitely optional.
Cameras: Panasonic HC-V750 ($569), Sony HDR-PJ540 ($598), Canon VIXIA HF R52 ($299) and JVC GZ-EX555B ($399).
Tripods: Slik U8000 Tripod w/3 Way Fluid Head ($44.95) or Slik Sprint Video Travel Tripod w/Fluid Effect 2-Way Panhead ($89.95)
Microphone: Azden SGM-990 DSLR Shotgun/Omni Microphone ($85)
Lighting Kit: Bestlight Photography 160 LED Studio Lighting Kit ($55)
Susan Mayer is President and CEO of Litigation Abstract headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Since 1989, Litigation Abstract has provided litigation support services to a variety of public and private clients in both civil and criminal litigation in federal and state courts across the United States. Visit: www.litigationabstract.com. Susan can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Litigation_Abst