If you’re used to using traditional transcripts to create the record of a deposition, you may be wondering whether there is any advantage in switching to the format of a video deposition. The answer? It depends.
Video depositions cost a little more but, depending on your case, they may be worth the incremental expense. As any regular user of social media knows, video is a popular medium for conveying information, which is why a video may be more effective in capturing – and keeping – a jury’s attention.
Video allows testimony to come to life, showing facial expressions, gestures, and nuances which cannot be included in a written transcription. And video offers rich opportunities for counsel, even when it is used to visualize the written record: good printed testimony of a credible witness can become powerfully great testimony when viewed as a video.
There are a couple of situations when experts recommend using video depositions for testimony as the medium of choice.In their Section of Litigation article, “Lights, Camera, Action: Taking, Defending and Using Video Depositions,” authors John H. Mathias, DavidM. Kroeger and Scott T. Schuttesuggestusing video depositions in two particular circumstances: by the plaintiff as an admission by a party opponent—as permitted by Rule 32(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)—and to depose important witnesses who will not be available for trial.
Video depositions have additional uses, too. They can be a valuable reference tool when considering whether to use particular witnesses at trial, or when preparing for the direct- or cross-examination of those witnesses.
Do it yourself or let a professional handle it?
Video technology is as accessible as your smartphone and more affordable than ever, making it tempting to consider “going it alone”. But before setting up a camera, attorneys should check the rules of their state to see if they are permitted to record a video deposition on their own.
Additionally, arguably the most important part of a video deposition is ensuring the testimony is clearly recorded for future review or reference. Monitoring the quality level of the input while the deposition is taking place is work best left to a professional videographer. A good rule of thumb to use in deciding whether or not to use a professional videographer for your deposition is to ask yourself how valuable the testimony is to your case – and what’s at stake if your amateur video turns out to be unusable.
Another advantage of video depositions is that the software allows lawyers to review and work on their depositions videos online, form anywhere, at any time. The types of software we use for video depositions at Misty Klapper& Associates lets you store your real-time transcription and video for later retrieval and review at your discretion. Using the software, you can annotate and index specific footage, create a searchable index, highlight and evaluate critical testimony, make clips of selected parts of the record to present at trial, and much more.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about using video depositions, or to help you schedule a videographer for your next deposition.