Tips for Synchronizing Time Stamping on Transcripts with Videos


Tips for Synchronizing Time Stamping on Transcripts with Videos

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By Sheila Atkinson-Baker, President, Atkinson-Baker Court Reporters

courtreporterTime stamping on transcripts must synchronize with the time on the video. Clients use the time stamping on the transcript to locate a particular point in the video (to see witness facial expression and other body language). They also watch the video to find a particular point in the transcript. They may want to spot a long gap of time between Q and A. When in court, they may want to quickly cue the video to a certain point to show the jury.

Also, some software has the transcripts embedded into the video. If time stamping is off, it’s not going to match up properly.

For these reasons and others, it is important for the transcript time stamping to synchronize with the video.  How do you ensure that this is done?

Here are some tips to help:

Most importantly, at the start of the deposition, coordinate with the videographer to ensure that your times match with each other.  You can check the time against the clock in Windows or in your CAT software.  Ideally, sync the seconds, as well as the minutes.   Have him tell you when the minute changes, as the clocks can be off by 20 or 30 seconds.   If possible, get the videographer to sync to what the reporter has. Or you can change this by adding or deleting seconds and make that fine adjustment in the CAT software.

Professional videographers always state the time when going on or off the record.   At these points, glance at your clock to make sure it matches up with the time they state when starting, before and after breaks, and at the end.

The time stamping is pulled from the computer’s time, so synchronizing your computer time to the videographer’s will ensure there are no problems with this.

In most CAT software, time stamping can be adjusted while editing.  If you drop and have to fill in several lines while editing, that section is not going to have a time stamp.  The time stamp will stay the same (as it takes the time stamp from the first word of that line).  But it then corrects itself within a few lines.  The time stamp may be off on that one spot, but the time stamp will be correct before and after that section.

Another suggestion is to not put time stamps on every line.   It is not incorrect to have one on every line, but this makes less obvious the points where sections have been filled in.  Time stamping on every line can make a transcript look cluttered: a lot of numbers on every single page in the margin.   This is a personal preference, but try every five lines, as this is sufficient to locate points on the video.  You will find this option in most CAT systems.

One last point on video’d depos: It is vital to proofread (and/or scope) the transcript against the video. Variations between the transcript and video “loudly” stand out when the client reviews the transcript with the video sync’d up to it. High professionalism mandates meticulous editing against the audio provided by the videographer to ensure that all drops and alterations are corrected.

Your care in editing against the video and in synchronizing the time stamping are the fine tuning which makes your transcript a professional product.

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