I want to take the time to offer paralegals and attorneys some helpful tips on how to book a videographer for your next deposition. You may think scheduling a time and date is all that’s needed, but in order for any deposition to run smoothly, some details are crucial for the videographer and their office. Although clients may not know at the time of scheduling, it’s important to get those extra requests and details arranged prior to the day of the deposition. These tips will prevent delays and headaches so everyone is prepared and the videographer that is best for the job is sent to that specific deposition.
Tip No. 1 – Notice
Receiving the notice when the deposition is scheduled is helpful for everyone! The notice is what videographers rely on for their read-on and deposition information. Without it, the deposition cannot begin. The main items we rely on are the witness’ name, case name, the court, case number, location of the deposition and what attorney is requesting the videographer. All of this information is essential for creating and making a great record so the video can be used during trial.
Another point I want to touch on is whether or not the notice says the witness can be videotaped. If it does not, then this gives us a good idea of whether or not the videographer is going to be able to actually videotape. We’ve recently been seeing attorneys putting language about videotaping on every notice so it is never a problem. If it’s not on the notice and the videographer is hired, most likely the opposing counsel is going to throw his hands up and say the deposition cannot be videotaped. Bummer, but this usually costs the attorney some time and money. CCP 2025.330(c) references this issue and further clarifies notices and videotaped depositions.
Tip No. 2 – Location
Consider the location chosen for videotaping a deposition. Consider the size of the conference room, doctor’s office, prison space or hotel room. Anything larger than a 10×10 room would be helpful for the videographer. If the videographer is great at their job, they will make any space work. Although, we videographers do understand that the location is sometimes dictated by the deponent’s situation and availability.
Tip No. 3 – Expert Witness
Will the witness or deponent be giving expert testimony? It’s important that the court reporting firm/videographer knows whether or not the witness is an expert because not all videographers are notaries. In a perfect world they all would be, but that’s not always the case. You do not want a problem later on down the road when opposing counsel tries to block the video from being used in court. Refer to CCP 2025.340(c) regarding this issue.
Tip No. 4 – Multiple Witnesses
Are all the witnesses needing to be videotaped? Are the videotaped witnesses scheduled back to back or out of order? Are they all at the same location? These are all questions the videographer will be asking and needing to know. Court reporters and videographers will cover a deposition with anywhere from two to five deponents in a day with one noticing attorney. It’s best to schedule the videotaped witnesses in order so the videographer can choose to pack up at an appropriate time without disrupting the next witness’ deposition. If the witnesses are at different locations, give plenty of time for the videographer to break down at one location, travel to the next location and have time to set up at the new location. As a point of reference, videographers should be able to break down and set up within an hour.
Tip No. 5 – Videographer Setup
Some attorneys and court reporters prefer the videographer to set up and videotape a specific way. Some attorneys will have the videographer videotape down the table versus across the table. If you’ve been on multiple videotaped depositions, you may have seen the different ways the videographer sets up and tapes. One tip I’d offer is if the attorney has a specific request on the setup, he/she should either disclose this during scheduling or arrive early to make sure this is done correctly. I know our office prefers to shoot across the table, with the court reporter at the end, and the noticing attorney next to the videographer so everyone can be near the witness. So knowing these preferences will help prevent delays and stress for everyone.
Tip No. 6 – Additional Requests
Technology is only growing as time goes on. In the video world, technology has expanded to include things like picture-in-picture or document cameras (like an ELMO) with an end product displaying both the witness and the exhibits. These types of details are crucial to learn at the time of booking so the right videographer can be booked and the right equipment can be made available. As we all know technology continues to change, and not all videographers are up to speed with only some having the ability to handle these assignments. The more notice the videographer or court reporting firm has on these special requests, the better the deposition day will go.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Now, are you wondering if you should synchronize your next videotaped deposition? Check out this blog Synchronize Or Not To Synchronize A Video Deposition? and any additional video blogs on our website!