Should I “synch” my video transcript ?
I recently completed the out-of-state legal video deposition of a witness in a fraud case. The witness had business ties to the defendant and, despite obvious attempts to help the defendant, was very helpful to my case. Because I don’t expect the witness to be available for trial, I ordered both the deposition transcript and video. And when the court reporter and legal videographer asked if I wanted to “synch” the video, I of course said yes.
“Synching” refers to synchronizing the written deposition text prepared by the court reporter to the legal video deposition prepared by the legal videographer. It is most commonly seen on investigative-type television shows where an accused is interviewed in a clandestine “sting” operation or in a police interrogation room. The legal videographer combines his video with the transcript produced by a court reporter so an audience can watch the witness testify and simultaneously read the corresponding written text as the witness speaks it.
I’ve found synching especially helpful in three situations:
- Where a witness is difficult to understand
Many witnesses are difficult to understand. Some speak with a heavy accent – this occurs often with expert witnesses. Others suffer from a speech impediment. I usually want the jury to see the witness, so I to present the testimony by legal video deposition. And if I have any difficulty understanding the witness, I synch the transcript so the jury can read the testimony, to make it clear.
- Where technological problems make the witness difficult to hear
Sometimes technical difficulties make a legal video deposition difficult to understand; a witness or questioning attorney was too far from a microphone, a microphone was muffled, or other noise interfered with audio quality. In those cases, synching the legal video deposition with a court reporter’s transcript can clarify troublesome portions of the audio track.
- When I want to highlight criminal behavior
I periodically encounter parties who, I believe, have engaged in criminal or fraudulent behavior. In those cases, I ask the court reporter and legal videographer to synch the legal video deposition to the transcript. Or if I have videotape of the party, I ask the court reporter to transcribe the videotaped encounter for synching to the video, if possible. Why? Because thanks to investigative television shows, many of us easily relate synched video to criminal behavior.
In any of these circumstances, asking the court reporter and legal
videographer to synch the legal video deposition can help make deposition testimony clear and impactful.