Court videographers aren’t required by all court systems and employers to hold Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) Council status from the National Court Reporters Association. However, the standards set forth by the association help ensure reliable, high-quality and protected videography results.
All court videographers should abide by these standards, which ensure that the videographer works in tandem with the reporter (if there is one) in order to protect and promote high-quality recordings.
One standard says that all tripods should be fluid-head, which has proven to be the best option for court and litigation recordings. Also, having an optical zoom ratio of 10:1 produces the best quality. You need both a skilled videographer and the best equipment to achieve the best results.
A cap of 120 minutes is put on all recordings, unless special circumstances or requests from a judge overrule this standard.
When it comes to video formatting, any type is acceptable for depositions, as long as it has simultaneous backup video recording capability. It also needs to have manual audio-level adjustment controls.
It’s the court videographer’s responsibility to give the court reporter audio recordings that have the output via the audio mixer or another compatible mixer source. It’s also the videographer’s job to make the call on light levels, ensuring they meet the minimum illumination requirements for the camera in use. If necessary, ancillary lighting should be added.
The gain boost circuits of the recording device should be at 0 db or off, unless special circumstances demand otherwise. Prior to filming, the videographer has to check the room for uniform color balance, correcting the color temperature if necessary.
Backlight should be masked out if it will cause excessive contrast, and the ancillary lighting should make the people filmed look as natural as possible. It shouldn’t create shadows, so soft lighting approaches via diffusion media, umbrella techniques or bounce is most often used.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Cameras should be white balanced to the light before test recordings are made, and the videographer should arrange the equipment (and people if possible) to capture at least three-quarter frontal views and preferably frontal. Any equipment used needs to have the capacity to continuously display and record both date and time, which is needed for index of events logging.
So much more goes into court videography than most people realize, which is why it’s such an in-demand specialty!
These are only half of the standards expected of the agency as well as reputable court videographers in general. Sometimes courtroom lighting can be difficult, and if a videographer doesn’t have the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary, then he or she might not be able to provide clear, efficient recordings.
To make sure you have the best possible third-party court videographer, contact DepomaxMerit Litigation Services and get connected with a professional who knows the standards and abides by them.