Technology today is changing the face of how we do things and how we see things. The courtroom is no exception to this. In the past, an onsite court reporter handled the recording of all the proceedings within a courtroom. Today, court reporters are still in use, and will continue to be so, but video depositions are becoming more and more common. Video depositions make it possible to see the full picture and hear the full report exactly the way it was intended to be viewed.
The Deposition Overview
In courtroom proceedings you have multiple players, including the witnesses. These witnesses are perhaps the most important element of any legal battle; their word will determine the outcome of the case. Yes, the judge or jury ultimately decides but the testimony can sway that decision. When video depositions are taken, the testimony becomes sworn evidence that is used in the case. The deposition can also be used for further testimony or to be reviewed by the lawyers and those on the legal team.
Video depositions do not replace standard court reporters. The two instead work together to give a well-rounded witness account. These depositions are important because they preserve the testimony of the witness. Too often, witnesses are unable to show up in court. In the past, when the witness didn’t show up the proceedings would come to a halt or move forward without them. If there was a previous testimony recorded by a court reporter, that would be brought back up. Today, the deposition can be used in place of the witness if the person is indisposed. It can also be reviewed by attorneys and staff members for cross-examining or a direct interaction with the witness.
These videos are also helpful if the witness decides to change the story. As mentioned above, video depositions are sworn evidence, no different than swearing on the bible during courtroom proceedings. If the story changes, the video is proof of the original claim – perjury becomes very difficult to commit.
Video depositions are used in the courtroom, but they are not required as part of the proceedings. However, many lawyers have found it helpful to hire deposition services because they are helpful in moving forward with the case. Any attorney involved in the case can hire a court reporter, and when they do, they choose the professionals.
When preparing witnesses for a deposition, a certain amount of training is required to make sure the final video is professional and will hold up in court. Because the depositions are video recordings, the witnesses need to be prepped on the proceedings. A professional will deliver training to the witnesses that will help them understand the impact of their body language, eye contact, and how they deliver their words.
Aside from the witnesses, a professional videographer will also maintain the technical end, making sure the video is produced with good sound and visual quality using the proper software and equipment. The final result will be a video that can be easily viewed and reviewed by members of the courtroom, the jury, and the legal staff. Keep in mind that poor quality deposition videos can be dismissed locally and in federal courts. Creating a professional video helps to reduce this risk.
When hiring a professional, it’s important to select an NCRA-certified deposition videographer. To meet NCRA certifications, the videographer has to be in good standing with the NCRA. They also go through specific training and tests to make sure they are capable of doing the job they profess – they have all of the tools, equipment, and software needed to create high quality depositions. Also, following the request of an attorney or the court, these professionals are able to create specific clips of the depositions, delivering exactly what is needed.
Video depositions do not replace court reporting, instead they are used in conjunction with it to create duel layer witness testimonies. They are proving to be invaluable in a courtroom setting.