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Author Archives: Sarah Randall

6 Tips for Booking a Legal Videographer for Your Next Deposition

6 Tips for Booking a Legal Videographer for Your Next Deposition

6 Tips for Booking a Legal Videographer for Your Next DepositionI want to take the time to offer paralegals and attorneys some helpful tips on how to book a videographer for your next deposition. You may think scheduling a time and date is all that’s needed, but in order for any deposition to run smoothly, some details are crucial for the videographer and their office. Although clients may not know at the time of scheduling, it’s important to get those extra requests and details arranged prior to the day of the deposition. These tips will prevent delays and headaches so everyone is prepared and the videographer that is best for the job is sent to that specific deposition.

Tip No. 1 – Notice

Receiving the notice when the deposition is scheduled is helpful for everyone! The notice is what videographers rely on for their read-on and deposition information. Without it, the deposition cannot begin. The main items we rely on are the witness’ name, case name, the court, case number, location of the deposition and what attorney is requesting the videographer. All of this information is essential for creating and making a great record so the video can be used during trial.

Another point I want to touch on is whether or not the notice says the witness can be videotaped. If it does not, then this gives us a good idea of whether or not the videographer is going to be able to actually videotape. We’ve recently been seeing attorneys putting language about videotaping on every notice so it is never a problem. If it’s not on the notice and the videographer is hired, most likely the opposing counsel is going to throw his hands up and say the deposition cannot be videotaped. Bummer, but this usually costs the attorney some time and money. CCP 2025.330(c) references this issue and further clarifies notices and videotaped depositions.

Tip No. 2 – Location

Consider the location chosen for videotaping a deposition. Consider the size of the conference room, doctor’s office, prison space or hotel room. Anything larger than a 10×10 room would be helpful for the videographer. If the videographer is great at their job, they will make any space work. Although, we videographers do understand that the location is sometimes dictated by the deponent’s situation and availability.

Tip No. 3 – Expert Witness

Will the witness or deponent be giving expert testimony? It’s important that the court reporting firm/videographer knows whether or not the witness is an expert because not all videographers are notaries. In a perfect world they all would be, but that’s not always the case.  You do not want a problem later on down the road when opposing counsel tries to block the video from being used in court. Refer to CCP 2025.340(c) regarding this issue.

Tip No. 4 – Multiple Witnesses

Are all the witnesses needing to be videotaped? Are the videotaped witnesses scheduled back to back or out of order? Are they all at the same location? These are all questions the videographer will be asking and needing to know. Court reporters and videographers will cover a deposition with anywhere from two to five deponents in a day with one noticing attorney. It’s best to schedule the videotaped witnesses in order so the videographer can choose to pack up at an appropriate time without disrupting the next witness’ deposition. If the witnesses are at different locations, give plenty of time for the videographer to break down at one location, travel to the next location and have time to set up at the new location. As a point of reference, videographers should be able to break down and set up within an hour.

Tip No. 5 – Videographer Setup

Some attorneys and court reporters prefer the videographer to set up and videotape a specific way. Some attorneys will have the videographer videotape down the table versus across the table. If you’ve been on multiple videotaped depositions, you may have seen the different ways the videographer sets up and tapes. One tip I’d offer is if the attorney has a specific request on the setup, he/she should either disclose this during scheduling or arrive early to make sure this is done correctly. I know our office prefers to shoot across the table, with the court reporter at the end, and the noticing attorney next to the videographer so everyone can be near the witness. So knowing these preferences will help prevent delays and stress for everyone. 

Tip No. 6 – Additional Requests

Technology is only growing as time goes on. In the video world, technology has expanded to include things like picture-in-picture or document cameras (like an ELMO) with an end product displaying both the witness and the exhibits.  These types of details are crucial to learn at the time of booking so the right videographer can be booked and the right equipment can be made available.  As we all know technology continues to change, and not all videographers are up to speed with only some having the ability to handle these assignments. The more notice the videographer or court reporting firm has on these special requests, the better the deposition day will go.

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Now, are you wondering if you should synchronize your next videotaped deposition? Check out this blog Synchronize Or Not To Synchronize A Video Deposition? and any additional video blogs on our website!

Video Depositions: Attorney Requests and Incorrect Assumptions

Video Depositions

Video DepositionsI’ve been thinking about the many requests or issues that come up during depositions between attorneys and legal videographers. As a videographer, I know I, along with fellow videographers, can be guilty sometimes of assuming that attorneys know the rules videographers live by and the reasons behind those rule. I want to address a few of those requests and issues that come up from time to time in a deposition setting.   

When attorneys hire a legal videographer, they have a specific expectation of what they need during the deposition. This is great, but if the ordering counsel is needing something done out of the ordinary, it’s good to have that information known at the time of scheduling, or at least before the day of the deposition.

One request that has come up in the past that I want to touch on is when an attorney has the expectation that the legal videographer can videotape more than just the deponent in the room.

The request is usually to zoom out and get multiple people, whether it be the family in the room, opposing counsel, or even other clients present during the deposition. Whatever the reason for needing this, videographers simply cannot fulfill this request. If this request was as easy as adjusting the camera and zooming out so everyone was in the shot, videographers would do so.  But it’s not that simple.

You might ask why not. What’s the big deal? After all you noticed the deposition for video and it’s your video. Well, not exactly.  This video will be available to all the parties and as such must be done correctly.  I have written before about the various code sections in the California Code of Civil Procedure, but legal videographers also have a set standards or best practices that should be followed for an accurate and precise video record that was written and created by the National Court Reporters Association.  This group certifies not only court reporters but also videographers all over the country.  There are 62 Standard Rules that this group strongly recommends legal videographers follow. These rules are essential for keeping all videographers great at their jobs and keeping all videotaped depositions looking consistent so anyone can use the videos for trial, if need be. Believe me when I say that videographers really want to accommodate their clients and help them the best they can.

There are two standards that refer and clarify the request I explained above, Standards 23 and 24. These standards state:

The camera shall be positioned on a level tripod, and the lens barrel shall be at a height which is near to eye level of the deponent. The videographer shall position the camera in such a way so as to provide a clear view of: the deponent's face and hand during oath or affirmation, the presentation of exhibits or documents such as x-rays, charts, diagrams or models, and the deponent and at least a portion of the document from which the deponent is reading.

A simple and maybe obvious solution to a request for filming more than just the deponent, exhibits, et cetera, would be to shoot with two cameras and possibly having two videographers present. Many legal videographers would not carry extra equipment, so this is why the ordering firm would have to request this when scheduling or well before the deposition. It would give the videographer plenty of time to schedule and prepare for the deposition and the request.

We have to remember that the videographer’s main priority is to capture the deponent and get clear audio all while following those 62 Standard Rules. I would venture to say two videographers would be a must to make sure everything flows accordingly in this type of instance.  There would be one video produced for use at trial and another video to address the other request.

Something else that comes to our attention that we assume attorneys know is when we can and cannot go off the record.

Standard 48 states:

In the event that requests to go off the record are disputed by counsel, the videographer shall continue recording the deposition until agreement by all counsel.

Let’s say two attorneys are disagreeing, one counsel requesting to go off the record or one attorney decides to stand up and walk out without saying anything to the court reporter or videographer. These instances happen more often than attorneys may realize. It is the videographer’s job and duty to stay on the record until both attorneys/parties agree to go off record. We want to make sure we are getting the same accurate record as the court reporter beside us. In this instance, videographers cannot assume anything and there needs to be a clear communication between parties, the court reporter, and the videographer.

Hiring a legal videographer, you would assume, it’s a simple hook-up, the videographer has a read-on and then they press “record.” Surprisingly there is so much more to it. It’s important to all the people in the room, the litigants and the attorneys, that the videographer is properly trained for depositions and follows the appropriate rules and standards.

If you have any questions about videotaping your next deposition, we are here to help.  Just contact us at (800) 322-4595 or email me at sarah@woodrandall.com.  You may be interested in 5 Reasons You May Want to Videotape Your Next Deposition.

Video Deposition Clips at Trial: California Code of Civil Procedure 2025.340(m) & 2025.620

Video Deposition Clips at Trial and the California Code of Civil Procedure

Video Deposition Clips at Trial and the California Code of Civil Procedure

Before I start rambling on why making clips is so easy and great for trial, it is important to be aware of the California Code of Civil Procedure that pertains to video clips and the use of them during trial. We have heard from many attorneys that having these clips for trial has had a huge impact on the outcome of their case. I mean, how would it not?!  How would a jury react when they watch that pivotal moment in the deposition where a pregnant pause in his/her testimony said so very much.

So with this in mind, there are two CCP codes I want to concentrate on, 2025.340(m) and 2025.620 regarding video clips used at trial. There are quite a few sections that go with CCP 2025.340, but for the purpose of this blog, I am only focusing on those areas in the code and how to create clips yourself.

California Code of Civil Procedure 2025.340(m).

(m) A party intending to offer an audio or video recording of a deposition in evidence under Section 2025.620 shall notify the court and all parties in writing of that intent and of the parts of the deposition to be offered. That notice shall be given within sufficient time for objections to be made and ruled on by the judge to whom the case is assigned for trial or hearing, and for any editing of the recording. Objections to all or part of the deposition shall be made in writing. The court may permit further designations of testimony and objections as justice may require. With respect to those portions of an audio or video record of deposition testimony that are not designated by any party or that are ruled to be objectionable, the court may order that the party offering the recording of the deposition at the trial or hearing suppress those portions, or that an edited version of the deposition recording be prepared for use at the trial or hearing. The original audio or video record of the deposition shall be preserved unaltered. If no stenographic record of the deposition testimony has previously been made, the party offering an audio or video recording of that testimony under Section 2025.620 shall accompany that offer with a stenographic transcript prepared from that recording.

California Code of Civil Procedure 2025.620.  

At the trial or any other hearing in the action, any part or all of a deposition may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition, or who had due notice of the deposition and did not serve a valid objection under Section 2025.410, so far as admissible under the rules of evidence applied as though the deponent were then present and testifying as a witness, in accordance with the following provisions:

(a) Any party may use a deposition for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness, or for any other purpose permitted by the Evidence Code.

(b) An adverse party may use for any purpose, a deposition of a party to the action, or of anyone who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer, director, managing agent, employee, agent, or designee under Section 2025.230 of a party. It is not ground for objection to the use of a deposition of a party under this subdivision by an adverse party that the deponent is available to testify, has testified, or will testify at the trial or other hearing.

(c) Any party may use for any purpose the deposition of any person or organization, including that of any party to the action, if the court finds any of the following:

(1) The deponent resides more than 150 miles from the place of the trial or other hearing.

(2) The deponent, without the procurement or wrongdoing of the proponent of the deposition for the purpose of preventing testimony in open court, is any of the following:

(A) Exempted or precluded on the ground of privilege from testifying concerning the matter to which the deponent’s testimony is relevant.

(B) Disqualified from testifying.

(C) Dead or unable to attend or testify because of existing physical or mental illness or infirmity.

(D) Absent from the trial or other hearing and the court is unable to compel the deponent’s attendance by its process.

(E) Absent from the trial or other hearing and the proponent of the deposition has exercised reasonable diligence but has been unable to procure the deponent’s attendance by the court’s process.

(3) Exceptional circumstances exist that make it desirable to allow the use of any deposition in the interests of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open court.

(d) Any party may use a video recording of the deposition testimony of a treating or consulting physician or of any expert witness even though the deponent is available to testify if the deposition notice under Section 2025.220 reserved the right to use the deposition at trial, and if that party has complied with subdivision (m) of Section 2025.340.

(e) Subject to the requirements of this chapter, a party may offer in evidence all or any part of a deposition, and if the party introduces only part of the deposition, any other party may introduce any other parts that are relevant to the parts introduced.

(f) Substitution of parties does not affect the right to use depositions previously taken.

(g) When an action has been brought in any court of the United States or of any state, and another action involving the same subject matter is subsequently brought between the same parties or their representatives or successors in interest, all depositions lawfully taken and duly filed in the initial action may be used in the subsequent action as if originally taken in that subsequent action. A deposition previously taken may also be used as permitted by the Evidence Code.

So what is a clip? And how do we create clips?

First, let’s focus on what we mean by “clip.” In the legal world we usually know it is being created from a videotaped deposition and, of course, happening post deposition. I recently addressed this in another blog, Synchronize or Not to Synchronize a Video Deposition? A clip is a small segment of the video deposition, no matter how short or long. You are not editing or removing anything, just cutting down the video deposition into smaller video segments. It typically starts what a question from an attorney and ends in an answer from the deponent.

There are multiple ways to create clips once you have received your synchronized video deposition. Some of the most popular software in the industry used for creating clips are DepoView, YesLaw, and Trial Director. For this blog, I will only refer to DepoView, the most popular, and how to create clips from a synchronized video provided from your trusted videographer.  You will know that your video is synched through DepoView as this will display when you open the file.

First, you’ll need to download a free version of DepoView. It’s fast and easy and you can keep it right on your desktop for easy access. Open up DepoView and bring up the video deposition, most likely from a DVD or thumb drive, and it’ll look like this.

DepoView

 

Select the Hi-lite icon that is circled above. You would then click on the page and line number you want to start on and drag down until you decide where you want the clip to end.

 

DepoView

 

Select the Clip icon, what I have circled in the above photo. Once the new screen opens, it’ll appear like this below.

DepoView

You have all the regular functions of Play, Stop, and Rewind. It is important to listen to the beginning and the end of the clip so you know the first words and the last words are on the audio. If you want to add or remove time, you will need to edit the clip. By doing this, you will select the Edit icon that is circled above.

 

DepoView

 

To add additional seconds or remove seconds on the clip either at the beginning or the end, you will press one of the four buttons I have circled above. This will add/remove 1 second to the clip. Shift + one for those four buttons will add/remove 1/10 of a second. Such a great tool for creating clips!

You can listen and edit as much as you please. When you are all set and done, select Save at the top of the screen. This will take you to your list of clips where you get the option to rename it.

 

DepoView

 

If you want to create more clips, select Done, and start the process over with the Hi-lite icon. To get back to your clip(s), select the Clips tab at the top left, then select Show Clip List.

When you are ready to export from DepoView, select the Export icon at the top of the clip list and it will appear like the photo below.

DepoView

 

You will have several options on where to export: export to a folder, email to a recipient, use for a PowerPoint presentation or for TrialDirector Case. Depending on how you want to export the clips, the following options will change once you decide and select Next.

However you decide to use your clips, below is how it will appear to someone who is watching it on a laptop.

 

WindowsMedia

 

Utilizing these instructions and getting the most out of your synchronized video depositions will not only change your trial presentation, but will greatly impact your case for the better. You may have better control over your case when the viewer can perceive the person on video rather than reading their testimony and/or save you money with expert witnesses that cannot make it to trial. Whether you’re showing the clips to your clients or colleagues or showing the clip to the jurors, you have the capability to choose the moments you want to share. 

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact us at (800) 322-4595 or email me at sarah@woodrandall.com. To learn more about our video services, view our All Things Video page at www.woodrandall.com.

In another related article, we discuss Synchronize or Not to Synchronize a Video Deposition?

National Court Reporting & Captioning Week!

Court Reporting & Captioning

National Court Reporting & Captioning Week!

Wood & Randall is proud to be celebrating Court Reporting & Captioning this week from February 10-17 of 2018!

Court Reporting & Captioning Week represents how great and rewarding court reporting, captioning and CART professions are and what feasible career this can be for both men and women. We come across court reporters every day that really love their job and wonderfully represent the profession. We chose to ask some court reporters in honor of this week’s celebration about what they loved about reporting and hear what comes to mind. Some of their answers reflected on why many court reporters start in the first place and why they’re still doing it.

 

Reporter Dawn Thompson"Every day is different and it’s both challenging and rewarding." –Dawn Thompson, CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporter Kaitie Holland"I've been trained in a unique career that requires the accuracy and professionalism which only a Certified Shorthand Reporter can provide." – Kaitie Holland, CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporter Kelli Russell"I am regularly learning something new." – Kelli Russell, CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporter Suzanne Hull"Learning something new every day, whether it is vocabulary or software or useless trivia. It keeps my mind active."-Suzanne Hull, CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporter Susan Wood"Working with bright, talented attorneys in action and learning about new topics and information. I also love O&10s." – Susan Wood, CSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s continue this discussion with individuals around us so we can continue growing these professions! Teach someone around you that’s unfamiliar about these professions and let’s spread the word.

There are an ample amount of career opportunities in the court reporting and captioning professions. If any of this interests you or you think someone around you would be, we highly encourage to look into programs in your area. If you are in the Kern County area check out a program at www.westec.org.

Synchronize Or Not To Synchronize A Video Deposition?

Synchronize Or Not To Synchronize A Video Deposition?

Synchronize Or Not To Synchronize A Video Deposition?So you have jumped on the bandwagon to videotape your next deposition.  Let’s say you know this witness will not be available for trial or will be too expensive to bring to trial.  Now you are debating whether or not to synchronize the video.  Firstly, what is synchronizing?

The synchronizing software used to connect the transcript and the video together word for word using speech and pattern recognition. Just like you see with closed captioning on the television.

What is included on a synchronized video deposition?   

Some videographers or reporting firms, as a standard practice, offer syncing at the time of order, usually at a discounted rate. Having a synchronized video deposition is very easy to use on a television or computer. When you receive your synched video, it will be on a DVD that can play on your computer and a standard DVD player. In order to get the most out of your video, download the free DepoView software that makes displaying your video, full transcript, word index, clips and linked exhibits easy to view. This is helpful because you can skip around the transcript, word search and create clips on your own to use for trial.

Along with the easy view DVD, we send a plethora of extensions that can be utilized in other software, for instance, Trial Director, Lexus Nexus 2, Summation, Sanction, TrialPro, LiveNote, and much more. Per request, your videotaped deposition can even be viewed on your iPad. The great thing about using DepoView, you can print your word index and specific pages from the transcript which makes synchronizing more worth it.

Using Clips at Trial

Synchronized Clips are the best tool for trial! You might be wondering, what are clips and how can they be made? Clips are short segments of the synchronized video. Clips can be used or created in some trial presentation software, emailed to yourself or your client. This comes particularly in handy when the witness is unavailable or too pricy for trial. Our clients have told us how helpful the clips have been during their trials. You can play segments of the deposition so the jury can see the deponent’s demeanor with the captions of the transcript following below.

Although you may just need the video to show your client or so forth, it’s important to synchronize your video so you have the ability to use it in the trial presentation software. Having the ability to use the synchronized video for Trial Director, Sanction and so forth, gives you a better opportunity to use it during trial.

 

If you have any questions about synchronizing a video deposition, we are here to help. Just contact us at (800) 322-4595 or email me at sarah@woodrandall.com. You can also learn more about our video services at “All Things Video.”

 

You may also be interested in another related article, 5 Reasons You May Want to Videotape Your Next Deposition.