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We’re sharing our list of important tips for you when you prepare for videotaped depositions:

  1. Include “Videotaped” in your Notice of Deposition
    • Note in the deposition notice that the testimony will be videotaped, whether it will be for de bene esse purposes and/or whether remote attendance is available. Check your state rules to see if you must include the reason for noting the videotaped deposition and whether it must “replicate presentation of evidence at trial.”
  2. Organize Everything!
    • Organize your materials and the witness’s materials. Case management software is excellent for this purpose and enables document acquisition with just a click of the mouse. Witnesses who can’t locate material quickly appear disorganized and may be unable to respond to questions without long pauses. They may also lose the judge and jury’s attention and confidence in their testimony.
  3. Mock Depositions
    • Consider conducting mock depositions with your witness to help coach them on facial expressions, insecure body language, poor verbal responses, and to help them prepare for potential questions from opposing counsel. The mock depo can be very helpful for a witness to see what they look like on camera, and it can provide them a better understanding of what the actual deposition will be like.
  4. Give Contact Info for Remote Attendance
    • For remote attendance, let the court reporting agency know the name and e-mail address of the attendee so they can receive login credentials well in advance of the proceeding. This will allow the agency to reach out and test the connection in order to avoid delays going on record.
  5. Arrive Early to Get Realtime
    • If you’ve ordered a Realtime feed of the transcript locally or remotely, arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time to ensure you are connected and receiving the feed before the proceedings begin.
  6. Avoid Bright Colors or Designs
    • The witness should wear solid pastel colors and avoid bright colors or designs that include polka dots, plaids and stripes. These patterns can sometimes be a distraction on camera. If the witness is not comfortable in business attire, be sure he or she dresses appropriately so they look appealing on camera.
  7. Bring Extra Copies
    • Provide all parties digital and/or hard copies of all materials in advance. This will eliminate the need to go off the record to photocopy, scan and/or e-mail the documentation that will be referenced on the record.
  8. Ask the Reporter to Pre-Mark Exhibits
    • Ask the court reporter to pre-mark anticipated exhibits before going on the record. If the deposition will be conducted for de bene esse purposes, work with the electronic trial consultant in advance to be sure the documents that will be digitally referenced and drawn upon during the deposition can be seen clearly on camera and can be saved electronically.
  9. Test Video/Audio Before Going on Record
    • Test all audio and video connections – local and remote – prior to going on the video record to avoid delays and to ensure a clean record.
  10. Prepare Your Objections
    • As Michael A. Vercher wrote in Law Trends & News, “Carefully anticipate and prepare your objections prior to the deposition” since “the tone of your voice and the way you present your objections will be carefully scrutinized by the jury if shown at trial.”
  11. Bring Your Power Cord
    • Have your power cord(s) with you and preferably plugged in for your electronic device(s) to ensure connectivity.
  12. Silence Your Phone
    • Turn off ringtones on all devices and do not respond to phone calls or text and e-mail messages during the deposition as this may interfere with the audio recording.

Finally, be prepared to move through the testimony at the same pace you would at trial. Juries expect the pace to be fast and look forward to it, thanks to both television and technology. Planet Depos Realtime court reporters, legal videographers and tech support team members are available 24/7 to assist you with your videotaped depositions.

Author Profile
David Andre

David Andre has been a videographer and litigation technology & presentation consultant for over 10 years. He has covered over 500 depositions and consulted on more than 70 trials covering a wide range of cases in various locations across the country. He is a certified Trial Director technician, and is equally proficient with other trial presentation databases, as well other standard presentation and graphics programs.


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