Best Practices: Using Video Testimony at Trial
Technology is increasing everywhere, including in the legal field and when offering testimony at a trial. Attorneys use video depositions when they want key witnesses in front of a court but the witnesses are unable to give live testimony. A video deposition allows an expert witness to present their professional perspective or a fact witness their story. Videos can show all of the nuanced body language and demeanor cues that a written affidavit or deposition transcript alone cannot convey. This effective use of technology serves the courts and the interested parties well.
Prepare for the Video Deposition
Your client will need to prepare for a video deposition as if they were testifying live in court. Your client should remain calm, tell the truth and avoid giving more information than is needed for each question. Your client should sit up straight, present only positive and confident body language, and should not interrupt anyone while they are speaking.
Since the jury might see the video deposition when defending, you should prepare your objections in advance. Your client needs to keep their hands visible, avoid nervous body movements, talk directly to the camera and be confident. He or she should show up for their video deposition in clean and professional clothing, neatly groomed and smiling as much as possible. Your client should answer each question in a positive and confident manner.
Jurors consider themselves experts on people, so the impressions made by a witness can strongly influence a jury’s decision making. This is especially true when such impressions are negative, or if previous testimony already shed a bad light on the witness in question. In this case, you will want to consider witness communication training.
A consultant can work with your witness to help him/her:
- understand jurors’ expectations for their testimony
- correct behaviors that get in the way of jurors’ positive perceptions
- practice strategies for delivering the most effective message
- confidently respond to challenging questions
Display the Scrolling Deposition Text in the Video Clips
A well-edited video deposition can help your case. For example, sync text so that it scrolls along the bottom of the screen as the client speaks. Sometimes jurors struggle to understand a witness, or the terms the witness is using might not be familiar. Scrolling text makes it much easier for jurors to follow the testimony and make notes that they can use during deliberation.
A picture-in-picture feature allows you to display exhibits during the deposition. This way, the jury can watch the witness testimony while having the image of the exhibit to refer to when needed. These helpful features will make your video deposition easier for jurors to understand and generally more effective.
Announce the Length of Your Video Clip
As you prepare to show the jury your clip, let them know the length of the video ahead of time so that they are ready. This helps put them at ease and allows them to absorb all of the information.
Ensure Adequate Size and Quality of the Videos
Before you show your video deposition, preview it to make sure it looks professional and has the proper impact. A professional and well-rehearsed video presentation will help the process flow seamlessly so that all of the information is easy to understand. You should practice your video presentation and make sure each section moves logically into the next.
To make the maximum impact with your video, you need to show it in the largest possible format. A large and clear video makes it easy for jurors to see important details and focus on the video’s information. On the other hand, jurors will struggle to see a low-quality or small video format and will lose interest.
Magna Video Services
Magna Legal Services uses all of the latest technology to create large format video depositions for an effective presentation of witness testimony. Magna’s legal experts understand the nuances of creating impactful video depositions, and we will use our expertise to enhance your case. Contact Magna Legal Services today to allow us to plan and create an effective video deposition for your upcoming case.