Many of our clients videotape depositions of witnesses. While this is a great way to preserve the demeanor of the witness and see exactly what was said, there are a few differences between these and regular depositions.
The videotape will show how the witness answered each question, whether it was quickly and matter-of-fact, or if they sat and squirmed in the chair before being reminded to answer the question. This may give some individuals credibility, while taking it away from others.
During the proceeding, Huseby’s professional legal videographer will monitor the audio and video portions of the record to make sure everything is properly recorded and intact on the video deposition’s record as it should be. In the event that the attorneys wish to go off the record for a discussion, the videographer will announce it before turning off the camera. Sometimes the certified court reporter will stay on the record although the video record has been suspended. This allows certain portions of the conversation to be preserved, but it will not need to be removed from the videotape in the event it is played for a jury during a trial. Video synchronization also allows the video to be searchable, and clips of certain questions and answers can easily be prepared.
Other times both the video and written record will be stopped so that attorneys can discuss important matters. There will not be any record of it, so both parties must agree to do so before it happens.
Court reporters may be at a slight disadvantage during videotape depositions. One of the courtesy rules is that the court stenographer should not interrupt on the video record if he or she did not understand a question or answer. This will interfere with a clean videotaped record. Every time the videographer must edit a recording before court, it costs the attorney a little more money. Edits are charged by the hour. Having a certified court reporter speaking on a video will distract the record. It is generally accepted that the reporter will use a copy of the videographer’s audio file to fill in any gaps or misunderstandings during the transcription process.
The written record must match the video record. This means that every false start and stutter must be recorded on the written portion of the record by the court reporter. They also must listen to the recording to make sure nothing has been missed or inserted where it does not belong. Sometimes this makes it easier, but it also makes it more time consuming to prepare the transcript.
Some attorneys prefer to use litigation support software that features a streaming written record below the featured videotaped witness. As the audio is playing, the words show up below on a screen. This is called video synchronization, or synching. This is helpful in court when the video is played to a jury. Some courtrooms have terrible acoustics. Additionally, jurors may have difficulty hearing or understanding the words. A visual aid helps.