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What is a Legal Videographer?

A legal videographer (also called a certified legal video specialist) records courtroom cases, depositions, signing of legal documentation, and films evidence at crime scenes.

While traditional court reporters create a verbatim written transcript of proceedings using a steno machine, legal videographers create a video recording of proceedings. Unlike transcripts, video can capture facial expressions, long pauses, and each person’s personality. This helps create a more complete record for judges, attorneys, and litigants.

After the proceedings, legal video specialists edit the recordings with voice-overs to identify witnesses and explain the examinations being watched. The transcript may also be produced from the video, or by a court reporter, and then synced with the video to easily find specific questions.

Legal Videographer

How much do legal videographers make?

According to salary.com, the average salary for a videographer in the United States is $63,747 and ranges between $52,580 and $79,444.

As a legal videographer, your salary can vary depending on different factors, including certifications, level of education, and the number of years you have worked in this profession.

If you are searching for a steady paycheck, try a staff position at a court reporter agency like Planet Depos. If you want to make more money and are willing to take greater risks, become a freelancer.

How to become a legal videographer

Education

A college education is not required to become a legal videographer. However, an associate or bachelor’s degree in court reporting or legal videography can give you an edge on competition and teach you the skills you need to be successful. A college education can also be helpful develop communication skills, which are vital when working with people in the legal sector.

To become a legal videographer, you need to master videography skills. You must be comfortable with video equipment and software, including editing and voice over. You can gain these skills by volunteering to work with other videographers or by taking videography workshops.

Once you have a strong background in videography, you can register for the legal video specialist certificate.

Steps to complete the legal video specialist certificate

To become a legal videographer, you must earn a legal video specialist certificate. Here are the three steps to becoming certified:

Attend the “Videotape in the Legal Environment” Seminar

Sponsored by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), this legal video specialist training is held twice a year in different locations across the country. The seminar covers a wide variety of topics including CLVS Standards for Video Depositions, CLVS Code of Ethics, and a hands-on workshop.

Pass the written videographer test

Register for the written videographer test at one of the 200 different testing locations across the country. This test covers five different areas: professional development and ethics, operating practices, office procedures, post production, legal and judicial procedures, and video recording production. The test includes 100 multiple choice questions. To pass, you must answer at least 70 questions correctly.

Pass the production test

In the production test, you record a deposition that is staged for the test. First, you are given 30 minutes to become familiar with the recording equipment provided. Once the 30 minutes are up, you must record a brief mock deposition. You will be graded on your ability to provide a quality recording of the proceedings.

Job outlook for legal videographers

The use of video in the legal environment is rapidly growing. Job growth for legal videographers is predicted to be above average through 2024.


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