Videotape depositions give you powerful ammunition that you can never get from a written transcript—long pauses by the witness before an answer, a witness staring at the ceiling while thinking of an answer or a witness’s grimacing facial expressions and defensive, arms-crossed body language. Without video of your depositions, you will be missing out on the witness’s non-verbal facial expressions and body language that can make the difference in winning your case. It’s undeniable: if a deposition is not important enough to videotape, you shouldn’t take the deposition.
So why do so few lawyers videotape depositions? If you have a high volume personal injury practice with hundreds or thousands of cases, videotape depositions might be too expensive. It usually costs $475 to $600 per videotape deposition when you hire a videographer and it’s hard to justify the expense with a case that has a value of less than $50k.
How to Eliminate the Cost of a Videotape Deposition
The Uniform Rules of Trial Courts in New York do not require a videographer. That’s right, you can videotape a deposition right from your iPad or smart phone if you serve a notice of videotape deposition. You just set up your iPad to record video, connect lavalier microphones to the iPad and start and stop the video with a remote control. The video of the deposition is recorded to your iPad and you can keep a backup the video on iTunes or Dropbox.com.
Let’s say the witness answered a question about an event data recorder and you want to play back the answer at the deposition. You can search the video file by keywords and find the specific question and answer for playback during the deposition. And your paralegal will be able to edit the videotape for playback at trial to feature the testimony that favors your case.
With your handy iPad, you just completely eliminated the cost of the videographer in one foul swoop! Oh, and by the way, depositionlive.com is a nice resource for videotaping depositions that are done in a location that is remote from your office—saving you the time and expense of traveling to the deposition.