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Currently about 8-10% of the depositions we report are also videotaped, up from less than 3% five years ago. Video is used most often when the witness will not be available to testify at trial or when it is considered important to see the nuances of how the witness answered, something which would not be apparent from the transcript.
As computer usage has increased in law offices, and more powerful computers have become available, it is now possible for legal professionals to view and edit the video right on their computer. Following are some of the video options currently available.
The most common request is to receive a videotape which can then be viewed with your VCR. A tape can hold two hours of testimony.
Video on CD ROM
A newer way to receive the video is on CD ROM. A CD can hold one hour of testimony and can be viewed and edited on your computer.
Video and Transcript on CD
The latest way to receive the testimony is by having both the video and the transcript on the CD ROM. You can search for a particular word in the transcript and then play that portion of the video. While there are systems available on the market to do this which require the attorney to purchase special software, our videographer has developed a system which requires no special software to use. It should be ready by the time you read this article.
Videotape is the cheapest option in terms of initial cost, but CD ROM may be the most cost-effective for you considering the time you or your staff will spend in viewing, searching and editing the video.
Having the testimony on CD ROM allows you instant access to any portion of the testimony, rather than having to fast forward and rewind the tape looking for a particular part. You just stick the CD in your computer and can view and edit it right there. Having the video linked with the transcript allows even greater ease and speed of use.
Video teleconferencing is now readily available in most parts of the country. It is a costly option, running around $200 per hour per location, but it is a lot cheaper than flying across the country for a one-hour deposition. It can also be invaluable when there are time constraints or scheduling conflicts.