This year, our in-house legal videography company McCloskey & Associates, Inc. turned 20. In September we talked about what legal videographers do for the benefit of our readers who are not a part of the legal community. Now, we’re shifting our focus to our attorney friends.
Depositions are a nerve-wracking process for plaintiffs and defendants who have never had to deal with the legal system before. Add a camera, and the pressure becomes even greater. A good, trained, certified videographer will help make your client feel comfortable on the day, but there are good ways to prepare before even stepping in the deposition room. Here’s some of our best tips from our videographers who have two decades of experience in the field.
Dress Professionally but Smartly
You want your client to look their best, but did you know there are clothing items that aren’t camera-friendly? Think about the news anchors on your local TV affiliate. They wear mostly solid colors or color blocks. That’s because prints, especially stripes and checker patterns, can mess with the camera. Pastels are ideal, and grey suits are better than black.
The videographer will also need your client to wear a lavaliere microphone. Think again about those news anchors. Ties are great, and so are button-downs and v-necks. The videographer will get the best audio when the mic is clipped to the front of the shirt and pointed up at the face.
Remind your client not to wear long, clunky necklaces. If your client moves and the microphone hits a metal chain, it makes quite a noise. Long hair should be worn back or tied. Microphones are incredibly sensitive, and even hair brushing the mic head can create a rustling sound.
Your client should look their best, but they should also be comfortable. Clothing that is restrictive, or short should be avoided. As far as the deposition room itself, a chair with legs is always preferable to one with wheels (if there is an option). That way, your client’s chair is planted in place and they can relax instead of rolling and shifting when they move.
Be Aware of the Camera…but Not Too Aware
Unless the deponent is a doctor or expert whose video testimony will be played for a jury, there’s no need to look straight into the camera. It’s perfectly fine for your client to look at the questioning attorney, provided that they don’t turn completely in profile. Some people fidget when they’re nervous. Tapping or clicking noises (such as fingers or a pen) are hard to edit out. Sometimes, a witness will play with the microphone cord, which is an absolute no-no. Not only could it damage the expensive mic’s cable, but coiling or bending the cable will absolutely cause audio interference. It’s loud, disruptive, and can cause testimony to be missed.
If in Doubt, Ask the Videographer
Like we said in the beginning, a trained, certified videographer will make the deposition run as smoothly as possible. They will already have the room set up when you arrive, and will have the best spot picked out for your client to sit. If you have any questions about your client’s clothing, or if their jewelry is distracting, or even if you just want the videographer to talk to your client to assure them that everything is fine, just ask! Videographers are problem solvers by nature and are always happy to help. They want the deposition to go smoothly just as you do.