The use of “Zoom” or virtual depositions seem like they will forever be part of the litigation landscape.
Attorneys and Videographers seem to learn something new all the time. There is certainly no shortage of technical and operations challenges.
Deponents, however, are mostly unaware of what’s required to participate in the proceedings.
Here is what we suggest:
” Review the technology with your Witness before the day of the deposition.
o Internet access is required
o A laptop, Chromebook, or personal computers are preferred.
o A direct connection to a router is best. WiFi is acceptable as long as there is enough available bandwidth.
o Smartphones are discouraged. Screens are not large enough to read exhibits if presented by the Taking Attorney.
o Smartphones require WiFi access. Cellular data does not work, as well.
” Instruct your Witness to log on to the Zoom deposition at least 30 minutes before the start of the proceeding.
o Early log-on allows for plenty of time to deal with any technical issues or last-minute Microsoft Windows updates.
o Ask the Witness to set up their computer or smartphone camera, not shooting into a window. They should also appear in a well-lit room.
o If the Witness appears with a smartphone, the orientation of the screen should be in the landscape or horizontal mode.
o If appearing via a smartphone requires something to prop the device during the deposition. A Deponent can not hold the camera during the duration of the proceeding.
o Smartphones also require power. A fully charged smartphone for the deposition is optimal.
o Ambient noise from television or radios must be turned off.
o Instruct Witnesses to adjust the framing of their camera. Having them appear center in the frame horizontally and vertically is a best practice.
o Camera positioning, which points up a Witness’s nose, is discouraged. Adjust the angle of the camera; if this is not possible, have them take a step backward.
o Baseball caps and gum chewing are discouraged.
” In a perfect world, you would know in advance if the Taking Attorney plans to introduce exhibits via screen sharing. Witnesses who appear via a smartphone will not be able to read the documents.
We hope these suggestions bring value to you.
Please distribute to others in your firm who may benefit from these ideas.
ARG Legal Video Houston provides legal video services in Houston, Texas. Our goal is for everything to go smoothly for everyone. Attention to detail is essential. Any questions about your virtual depositions, give us a call. We’d be glad to guide you through the process.
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