Published On: Tue, Sep 18th, 2018

What Not to Do in Video Depositions

Just because a video deposition doesn’t occur in a courtroom doesn’t mean you can take it lightly. A video deposition is a critical part of a trial that could make or break a case and may be used to help you rehearse for being questioned in the courtroom. If you don’t want to risk messing up the case, there are some things you should avoid.

Here are 4 things not to do in video depositions.

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#1 – Failing to prepare

When you schedule a deposition, your lawyer should prepare you for every aspect of the video deposition. Not only should you prepare for the deposition itself, but there are certain aspects of a video deposition that are even more important than those done in a courtroom.

Here are a few things Plaintiff Magazine says the lawyer should instruct you about prior to a video deposition:

-How to dress. You want to present a professional image since dressing sloppily might cause the jury to start with a negative impression before you’ve said a word. Comb your hair and wear a nice shirt.

-How to act. Even though a video deposition doesn’t happen in a courthouse, it’s important to remain calm and avoid arguing. Answer questions simply and don’t present additional information unless you’re asked.

-What to expect. You’ll provide a better deposition if you know what to expect, such as what type of questions you may be asked and who will be present. Be sure to ask plenty of questions before the deposition begins.

-Which details may be discussed. Your lawyer should have a good idea about what sorts of questions you will be asked. You should be prepared with details in mind so that you don’t hesitate when it comes time to answer questions.

-What a deposition is, why it’s necessary, and that it is a legal testimony. Some people don’t understand that anything they say in a video deposition is said under oath and it may be used in any way during a trial. Avoid saying something in a video deposition that you may handle differently in court to avoid perjuring yourself (lying under oath).

#2 – Ignoring lighting

When it comes to video depositions, painting a witness with a good light isn’t just a figure of speech. Bad lighting can seem to demonize a witness. Additional lighting pointing at the person being deposed usually looks better than relying on overhead fluorescent lights.

A video deposition is about putting your best foot forward, and you want to use every advantage to do so. Good lighting is one easy way to present a polished image to a judge or jury.

#3 – Forgetting makeup

According to the American Bar Association: “Appearing on camera without makeup can make a person look worse than they do in real life. Makeup can prevent this from happening or minimize the effect.” Even men can benefit from a bit of makeup to look better for the camera.

In a perfect world, looks wouldn’t have any bearing on a trial, but the truth of the matter is that a jury may subconsciously judge a person based on how they look. A little foundation to even out the skin tone won’t hurt and may help the case.  

#4 – Having a poor-quality video

A video deposition should focus only on the witness. The judge and jury shouldn’t see anything in the video that would distract them from the testimony of the person who is being deposed. A professional videographer can ensure that the video works in your favor.

The time to make adjustments to camera angles and the quality of the video is before the deposition begins. Your team should be prepared well ahead of time before the video deposition. Make sure somebody looks through the camera or at the screen to ensure the shot looks good.

A video deposition can be a crucial part of a case, and you want to do everything you can to use it to your advantage. If you avoid making these mistakes, you will have the best opportunity to be heard and taken seriously in the case. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have before the deposition begins.

Author: Jose Perez

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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  1. […] having video isn’t enough. It must be professional, with due consideration given to aspects like sound quality and lighting. Too much overhead light casts you in shadow; too far in the other direction casts a demon-like […]

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