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A deposition video not only records the question and answers that take place between the attorney and witness during the actual deposition, it also records the witnesses' reactions to those questions, such as facial expressions and mannerisms, in a way paper transcription just cannot provide.

What Are the Benefits of Recording a Deposition?

 Video depositions can benefit either the legal side of a case, or sometimes both, by providing insight, details, and intensity to testimony. Hearing an attorney read back a deposition transcript is a far cry from having the video available to experience the emotion of testimony firsthand. 



Depositions can be used to impeach key witnesses who contradict their original testimony, and a video clip can be used in addition to providing a transcript of the deposition. (2) Actually seeing a witness caught in a lie (or found to have an unreliable memory) carries more weight than the text-only transcript.

Stand-In for Missing Witness

If your witness is unavailable due to any of the following reasons, you’ll be sending your deposition videographer a thank-you card and playing deposition video clips in court: 

  • Distance (100+ miles from the court location or outside the country) (2) 
  • Illness, infirmity, or age
  • Death
  • Imprisonment
  • Willful absence after being served a subpoena

Lower Legal Costs

Flying in a key witness can be cost-prohibitive, especially if there are multiple appearances or days, or if the expert has a booked-up schedule. Depending on state law and judicial ruling, utilizing a video deposition at trial (especially one taken remotely) can put the use of critical testimony in reach for more cases.

Previewing a Witness’s Performance

An expert witness needs to display calm and confidence while communicating clearly, and an eyewitness needs to convey consistent recollections with the appearance of reliability. Previewing how well a witness holds up under examination by opposing counsel can help you: 

  • Learn more about the witness’s self-control, memory, and response under pressure
  • Decide whether or how to use the witness at trial
  • Plan for what type of additional witness preparation is needed

Conversely, this preview can help the attorney deposing the opposition’s witness identify potential weaknesses to exploit—such as scripting questions that lead to lengthy, technical, boring answers from a witness who speaks in a monotone with little facial animation. 

Mock Trials and Consultations

Video depositions can be used in place of live testimony at mock trials to test possible jury reactions. Similarly, your legal team, other expert witnesses, and legal consultants will be able  to analyze how your witness does under the spotlight and provide feedback and suggestions.

Pressure to Perform Yields More Direct Q&A

The presence of a videographer and the knowledge that a judge or jury may see clips usually impact how people perform. It can often result in: 

  • Shorter depositions
  • Fewer “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall” replies
  • More direct questioning by attorneys

Emotional Impact

“Sheila paused before sarcastically drawling “Oh, I’m sure that’s true,” with narrowed eyes and a disdainful smirk.” 

While this might sound like part of a cheesy genre novel, it’s not a sentence you’ll ever find in a court reporter’s transcript. There are no descriptions of expression or intonation, no dramatic interpretation of pauses or gestures.

Seeing a video clip can impact a courtroom much more strongly than a read-back of a deposition transcript. Viewers can: 

  • See visible evidence of physical injuries
  • View the emotional weight of testimony
  • Utilize non-verbal cues to decide on truthfulness

The emotional impact on a jury is a factor whether it’s live or simply anticipated. Seeing a video testimony and understanding how it may play in a courtroom can drastically affect settlement negotiations and even cause an about-face away from judgment at trial. 

For example, after malpractice attorney John H. Fisher’s client was awarded $4.1 million in a birth asphyxia case, jury members told him that seeing a nurse cringe and delay responding to one fairly innocuous question on video was why they sided with the plaintiff.

What Do You Wear to a Video Deposition?

While self-presentation is important at any deposition, it’s especially critical for depositions that’ll yield a video recording, since a judge or jury may view it. Instruct your team to follow the same guidelines they would for a courtroom appearance. 

For clothing, this includes: 

  • Professional attire in conservative silhouettes
  • Neutral colors such as navy, khaki or tan, and gray
  • Dress shoes with low to moderate heels

Avoid outfits that incorporate: 

  • Dramatic, large, or loud patterns
  • Monotone schemes with funeral, bridal, or other connotations
  • Logos, images, or text

Grooming should include: 

  • Hair styled
  • Day-time cosmetics with a light touch
  • A clean face or well-groomed facial hair

And finally—accessories. Don’t carry or wear: 

  • Loud, dangling, large, or flashy jewelry
  • Hats, large scarves, or anything that covers the face and upper neck
  • Playful, gothic, or other statement pieces

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