Effective D.C. Video Depositions Require Stars, Scripts, and Edits
You’ve used video cameras to depose witnesses in the past, but only in cases where the witness would be unavailable for trial. But now that video is becoming the preferred method, you’re wondering how you can help your clients appear to their best advantage on-screen—and how you can use the medium to build a more effective case.
If you are considering preparing a video deposition for your next case, here are a few tips to remember:
Use Video to Take the Guesswork Out of Trials
If you are deposing your own client, you can use a recording to prepare your client for the stand. Playing the video back for him will help him to remember the things he does that can hurt his case, such as speaking too quickly, fidgeting, or answering questions that have not been asked. With this trial run, your client will be better prepared for the opposing counsel’s questions, making it less likely he will make a mistake that costs him.
Language Is Key When Deposing Witnesses on Camera
It is important to have an airtight script when deposing a defendant. If your witness is prone to angry outbursts or joking comments, the right language could make him lose his cool on camera, making it hard for the jury to identify with him. In addition, a period of silence that could be glossed over in a transcript will be glaring on video, and a witness who takes a long time to answer questions can be seen as indecisive or untruthful.
Editing Is Vital to a Strong Video Deposition
When editing a deposition video, it’s better to watch the video rather than choose edits from transcripts. Written testimony will not have the same punch as a video clip, but you want to make sure the point is conveyed better on film. If you’re not sure whether to cut a portion of testimony, leave it in. After you provide your opponent with the excerpts you plan to use at trial, you cannot add additional clips.
You should avoid playing the whole deposition video from beginning to end. Even after editing, a long testimony can get repetitive, and you don’t want the jury to be bored. The best videos have memorable sound bites that will help you during the trial, and talking points that you can reinforce in your closing argument.
If you’re looking for someone to provide everything you need for a full-service video deposition in D.C., visit our online scheduler for booking information.