Video Depositions – Best Shooting Practices

Kentucky Court Reporters & Video Depositions Statewide

A professional deposition videographer is likely to be the first person to arrive at your scheduled deposition.  Taylor Court Reporters Kentucky videographers arrive an hour prior to the scheduled start time of any deposition in order that we might assess the video deposition space for size, lighting, seating capacity, electrical outlets, and table size.

Some depositions are easier to shoot than others.  We all have been jammed into a doctor’s small examination room with several attorneys, a court reporter, witness, videographer with all their equipment, and a seven foot examination table.  Videographers do the best they can, given the circumstances, and by showing up early, arranging chairs, lighting, and setting up camera and microphones, running a few tests, things should go smoothly. A professional videographer comes equipped with several tricks in their bag to make the most of any situation. 

Shooting configurations can vary depending on the circumstances, lighting, windows, table size, number of participants, but what is the ideal shooting configuration, and why?  Taylor Court Reporter Kentucky videographers are instructed to shoot across the table, with the questioning attorney to the immediate right or left of the camera, with the court reporter at the end of the table between the witness and questioning attorney.  Using this method, the witness is looking at the camera or slightly off to one side or the other.  We choose this method of shooting rather than shooting down the length of the table.

Why not make everyone comfortable and shoot down the length of the table with counsel lining both sides of the table?  The problems with shooting in this fashion are many.  Consider this:  The questioning attorney is sitting directly to the right or left of the witness, the camera is focused on the witness alone.  The picture you get is one of the witness constantly in profile answering questions and not appearing to speak to the jury.  The jury is more engaged when the witness appears to be speaking to them directly instead of looking off camera, speaking to an unseen person.

Another problem with shooting the length of the table is a cluttered picture.  Coffee cups, files, and hands get in the way of a long shot.  The framing of the witness in this configuration is wider than the across-the-table shot, allowing more opportunity for the distraction of stray water bottles and tissue boxes.

So the next time you attend a video deposition, bear with the videographer as they ask you to sit here or there.  They are the professionals and are trying to get the best audio and video record of the proceedings possible with the end result being a video record with which everyone will be pleased.