What to Look for in a Video Deposition

By Brian Knieser, Media Specialist

When you schedule a videographer for your deposition, a high-quality product seems like a reasonable enough request, and it is!  The only problem is that most people don’t know one when they see one, and they shouldn’t!  Let me explain.  When everything is perfect in a video; the lighting, the contrast, the white balance, the framing, the audio… it looks how a video is “supposed” to look and sound.  The difference between a first-rate video and one that barely meets expectations is nothing.

It’s kind of like a GPA.  To maintain a 4.0, you can ace every test and do all the extra credit in the world but there’s a numeric ceiling.  Another student who averages 89.51% in every class will end up with the same GPA (assuming no minuses).  The same thing applies to a video deposition.  It is possible for two videographers of vastly disparate experience and skill to turn in similar quality products.  What you don’t know is what went on behind the scenes.  Did everything fall into place or was the videographer putting out fires the entire time?  Did the lighting just so happen to be perfect or did they have to rearrange the room to avoid side/back lighting and call building maintenance to replace light bulbs?

As a videographer, consider yourself lucky if the room has great lighting, the witness sits absolutely still and everyone remembers to put on their mics.  Only when the witness has a plant growing out of his head, the questioning attorney sounds like he’s under water and there are so many soda cans in front of the witness that it looks like a paid advertisement, does it become apparent what the videographer is really doing (or in this case, not doing).  The real magic happens when things go wrong; bad mics and cables, soda cans, laptop screens, errant lighting, un-mic’ed attorneys, restless witnesses… A quality videographer is always thinking two steps ahead and will have anticipated all of the aforementioned errors and distractions.  When you playback his/her video you should be none the wiser.  The witness is centered and unobstructed, the audio is clear with uniform volume and distractions are kept to a minimum.

One Response to What to Look for in a Video Deposition

  1. David Fuss November 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Can you provide me with a general idea how much it would cost to do a four hour single camera videodeposition in downtown DC? Include all production costs and cost of tape as well as cost of a written transcript. Thanks.

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