Lights, Camera, Action: Getting the Most Out of Videos at Trial

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]courtroom-technology-tipsEver since the nineties, multimedia presentations at trials have grown exponentially. This is especially true for videos. Successful attorneys have found that combining their argument with a visual presentation can give them an advantage when presenting a case to a jury. In light of this, we’ve got the tips, techniques, and information you need to successfully use video at your trial. Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Sometimes, just hearing words in court is not enough for a jury. They cannot interpret whether an answer is genuine, nor can they effectively glean context from written words. One common video shown in court is a videotaped deposition. This video shows the jury the vocal tone, inflection, and demeanor– things you cannot ascertain sometimes from text alone. This has the benefit of adding credibility to a report for a witness or impeaching credibility for an uncomfortable or contemptuous witness.

Videos and viewing can often be effective– after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. You can also save money because a paid expert can be played anytime on video for a jury rather than having them wait around. Experts often will not agree to testify unless they are paid a full day’s fee. It’s also useful for having witnesses who are unavailable or out of state be there in person, which can save countless costly delays. Video clips can also impeach a live testimony, showing how answers given now differ from those under oath, prompting often nervous corrections or contradictions.

Tips for Videos

  • How a video looks can influence the jury, so make sure your video is produced well and will not distracting.
  • Set your witness up against a neutral backdrop with no distracting lighting and no objects or clutter in the shot.
  • Have your witness dress comfortably and professionally, just as they would for the courtroom. Have them avoid wearing patterned, solid black and white fabrics, loud pieces of clothing as they may distort on the screen and be distracting.
  • Pastel shades work best for clothing, especially light blue.
  • Make sure all phones and PDA devices are off when filming as they could interfere with the audio.
  • Make sure they act naturally during a deposition and encourage a relaxed posture that displays earnestness. Have them look at a paper if they are testifying about a document and remind them to allow the question to be asked and allow for time for objections before answering.
  • The best deposition format used to be VHS, but now you can have DVT disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs and even Internet streaming. The most effective format is DVT as the transcript is synced to the video file, so spoken testimony and printed words are linked. This allows you to search for segments without having to rewind a tape or DVD to find it.
  • Create clips of video that show the important things to keep the jury’s interest.
  • Experience counts, so hire a videographer that is a pro and has been certified a Legal Video Specialist by the N.C.R.A.
  • Video contradicts witnesses who make statements that are inconsistent with their previous testimony. It shows that the witness is manipulating the information and has an incredible effect, painting doubt in the jurors’ minds over the effectiveness of the witness.
  • They say seeing is believing: videos can be very effective and can help you make your case clearly at points where it might be very difficult to try and explain to the jury with words alone.
  • Position the display screen across from the jurors at all times.


Scroll to Top