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What Does a Court Videographer Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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A court videographer records proceedings in the courtroom and at depositions. This requires videography skills as well as knowledge of the law and legal system, to provide recordings that will pass legal tests and meet generally accepted standards. Some belong to professional organizations which certify their members, while others may work without formal certification. A specific license is not usually required, but holding a formal degree in videography can be helpful, as can having substantial experience.

In addition to taking video, a court videographer performs video editing. Edits must comply with legal standards; the videographer cannot, for example, distort or manipulate testimony, but may edit a video to stabilize shaking or resolve other problems. Videographers can also insert visual displays, title cards, and other features to create a finished presentation for an attorney to use in court. They must be familiar with the standards for determining whether a court will accept a video into evidence to make sure recordings will be appropriate.

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During sessions in court, the court videographer can record sessions either for the court or the reference of the attorneys, depending on policy. Attorneys may find it helpful to review video and transcripts from the day’s proceedings as they plan the trial and respond to unfolding events. Some courts may permit the use of real-time video in testimony if a witness is unable to attend court, in which case a court videographer can set up the system and travel to the witness to record and transmit.

Firms offering videography services may also provide transcripts, closed captioning, and related services. These are typically the responsibility of other personnel, allowing the court videographer to concentrate on capturing good video and audio from a deposition or trial. A sound technician may provide assistance for increased sound quality, which can help attorneys avoid challenges on the basis of unclear testimony. Editing can also be used to clean up audio quality for a crisper sound.

Educational programs in videography can include segments for people interested in offering legal services. These include discussions on how to set up and break down in legal settings, and specific legal issues that may arise in the course of shooting, editing, and using video. Professional organizations also offer workshops and classes to their members. Some may require certain classes and an examination before they will allow videographers to join, ensuring a base standard of quality among their members.

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