Legal Videography: What is it and how can it help your next case?

Legal Videography: What is it and how can it help your next case?

There are times when it becomes necessary to have depositions and other legal proceedings recorded by a legal videographer to preserve the record. Also called forensic or court videographers, it is their role to follow standards to capture testimony. It’s often used as fraud evidence, signing of wills, proof of damages, presentations in the courtroom, reconstruction of scenarios or crimes, and outside court for documentaries.

While a video deposition can be taken by a court reporter, it’s advised to use a legal videographer who is specialized in this format. They’re typically hired by the same attorney that calls for the deposition and hires the court reporter.

Why are legal videographers hired?

You’ve seen it on television crime shows when the attorney catches a witness in a lie that changes the outcome of a case. While these scenes are often overly dramatic, they represent a real need for capturing video testimony. It’s often more impactful, especially if it’s a case decided by jury, to have video proof of a lie than just a written record.

Another reason? There’s always a risk that a witness becomes too ill to testify, dies, or is otherwise unavailable. This is especially true in estate law where an attorney may choose to record the signing of a will and other important documents.

For attorneys who spend a majority of their time in a courtroom setting, they find witnesses and other attorneys conduct themselves in a less disruptive way if they know they’re being recorded. While not a common reason, it can make a difference in the case, not to mention be beneficial in the future, to have a video record in addition to the transcript.

Be mindful that a legal videographer isn’t someone who just sets up a camera and sits down; there’s more to it.

What are the standards for video depositions?

There are 62 standards for legal video depositions by the Certified Legal Video Specialists (CLVS) Council of the National Court Reporters Association. We won’t go into all of them, but here are a few we thought might be of interest:

  • Working in conjunction with the court reporter to capture an accurate account.
  • Location of the camera in relation to the deponent.
  • Lighting, recording, and camera setting requirements.
  • Videographer must test and review prior to the start of the deposition.
  • Specified instances when videographer can interrupt proceedings such as the oath being read to the witness or technical problem with recording and/or equipment.

Read more about these standards on the NCRA website.

Video depositions are fast becoming common inside and outside the courtroom to capture a variety of legal proceedings. Whether it’s a deposition or will signing, we’ve got the legal videographers you need. Contact us today to learn more.

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