When attorneys take legal video depositions, it is to preserve a witness’ testimony before trial. That person may not be available on the trial date, or the lawyers may want to show their testimony to other people. There are a number of things that attorneys can do to make the job of the legal videographer and deposition reporter easier and, therefore, create a cleaner, more accurate record.
Speak clearly into the mike. The videographer will request that everyone wears one, even if they do not anticipate talking or questioning during the deposition. Try to limit coughing, throat clearing and making low off-the-cuff comments while the legal video specialist is on the record.
Do not shuffle paperwork near the microphone during the videotape deposition. This may block out some of the audio record. One way to prevent this is to organize all paper exhibits beforehand.
When using a laptop for a video deposition, be sure to turn it on before going on the record, not during the deposition. People sometimes forget that computers make musical sounds while booting up. This can drown out important words and make it difficult for other people to hear what is being said.
Keep in mind that the job of the court reporter is to take down a written record. Speak slowly and audibly. As a rule of thumb, deposition reporters will not interrupt a videotaped record. Sometimes they wish they could. Be courteous and do not speak while others are speaking. The court reporter can only take one person’s words at a time. Interrupting while another person is speaking not only clutters the video record, but makes it difficult to make an accurate written record.
Some items are edited out of a video deposition before it reaches court. This may include attorney objections or testimony that cannot be heard by the jury according to a judge’s ruling. Try to carry on as if there will not be any editing done. Lawyers and witnesses should not make any extra comments that they do not want everyone to hear. Do not count on them being removed in the editing process. This takes extra time, costs more money for the extra efforts and there is no guarantee the other lawyer will agree to having something removed that makes their opponent look foolish or arrogant.
All parties should pronounce and spell their names for both the deposition reporter and videographer. Lawyers’ firm names and addresses should be on a business card. If the individual is by telephone, they should give out their information before the deposition begins. Those with the best intentions often forget to do it at the end and hang up abruptly. This makes it difficult and time consuming for the court stenographer to track down the right information.