A Video Is Worth a Thousand Words in Court
How legal videography can help your case
Sometimes it makes sense to incorporate videography to record legal proceedings like depositions. This can be useful in accurately recording what was said, and also serve as a powerful part of a court presentation as evidence to prove (or disprove) fraud, reconstruct crime scenes, or show proof of an injury or damage to property. In some cases, it is necessary to bring in a legal videographer to make a professional recording. What is legal videography, how is it done, and when should you consider using this service for your case?
What is a legal videographer?
While it might sound easy to set up a camera and record a deposition, it actually takes a great deal of skill. Like a court reporter or stenographer, a legal videographer undergoes specific education and training to be qualified to take part in legal proceedings. These individuals must also be certified by the Certified Legal Video Specialists (CLVS) Council of the National Court Reporters Association.
How does legal videography work?
There are 62 specific standards that must be followed if you want to videotape testimony or depositions. These standards help to ensure the accuracy, effectiveness, and legality of any video recorded proceeding.
- How and where the testimony is recorded
- The placement of cameras
- The lighting and settings
- How, when and why videographers can interrupt the proceedings
- Guidelines for working with the designated court reporter or stenographer to create accurate court records.
You can find out more about videography standards and the profession from the Council of the National Court Reporter Association.
Benefits of Videography
There are many reasons why video recording testimony or another element of a court presentation might be necessary.
1. More accurate recording. You can get the most accurate record possible when it comes to creating the transcript of the proceeding. Even the best court reporter or stenographer can miss something, not to mention witnesses don’t always speak loudly or clearly enough, making it hard to understand them. A video can be played back as many times as needed to get the information right.
2. Proof of inaccuracies in witness testimony. Legal television shows and movies love to portray the moment an attorney catches a witness in a lie. It makes for a great story, but real life is rarely so dramatic. However, videography can be used to show that a witness has not been truthful. It can also help prove someone’s case. Either way, allowing a judge or jury to “see” the evidence can be very powerful in proving a case. Sometimes being able to judge the body language, facial expressions and demeanor of a witness can say more than his or her words.
3. Stronger connection with a jury. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” exists for a reason. Our eyes retain more information than our ears in many cases. Our brains process images faster than written words. Videography creates visual evidence that a juror or judge can remember more easily. This can be useful if the testimony or evidence is harder to understand. You will also be able to connect faces with their testimony, helping to create sympathy or antipathy, depending on your goal for questioning that witness.
4. The witness cannot be in court. If a key witness cannot be present in court due to serious illness or some other mitigating circumstances, video testimony is an acceptable and legal means of recording his/her testimony.
5. Cost savings. Videography can end up saving money. Video testimony of an out-of-state witness can be used in court, which may help cut down on costs related to travel expenses.
Legal videography can be an effective means of accurately recording depositions and other legal proceedings as well as a powerful tool to help prove and win your legal case. It can sway a jury to your side, tell a story that can’t be “seen” in a written transcript, and be used in cases where a key witness is not able to appear in court or travel for a deposition.
If you need professional legal videography services for your case, BOSS Reporting can help. We use reliable and professional videographers, state-of-the-art technology and video formats such as VHS & DVD. Boss Certified Realtime Reporting in Fort Lauderdale, FL has been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations, meetings and conferences since 1995. If you need legal videography services, call us at 954-467-6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.