Video Depositions May Come of Age in the Cloud Era

Cloud technology and tablet camera technology could make video depositions a lot less analog.

, Legaltech News


Cloud technology and tablet camera technology could make video depositions a lot less analog.

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What's being said

  • Derek Letellier, CLVS

    I have some major concerns about how this service could create a clear, accurate video record. The fact that they offer depositions without a trained videographer on hand would worry me as an attorney. First, I wonder the practicality of taking away a human being from handling proceedings. You‘d have no one in the room to adjust settings, adjust the camera, account for any technical difficulties on site, etc., and it seems like attorneys have plenty enough to worry about without dealing with any hiccups that arise (and, as we all know, problems can and do arise). Second, the fact that the operator administers and records the deposition remotely means you‘re completely dependent on the internet capabilities at that location. You could be at a law firm, a conference center, the home of a witness, and in all those places you‘d have to have a strong, stable internet connection. I can see at least a half dozen ways this could go awry fast. What if the location only has 2.4ghz WiFi and there‘s interference? What if the internet service provider is down that day? What if, when using a cellular iPad, the cell phone reception isn‘t strong enough? As others have said, I don‘t see how an iPad can grab an accurate audio record with its one microphone. Legal videographers are responsible first and foremost for creating an audio record, and this service seems to skip over that responsibility. It‘s also worth mentioning that their systems run on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which experienced a total outage last month. I can‘t imagine what would happen if I‘m an attorney using Storycloud on the day AWS went down, I can‘t imagine what I‘d do. This isn‘t even considering the implications of a group or entity recording that may or may not follow the standards that legal videographers follow for every videotaped deposition. I wonder how long it will take before this type of service is challenged in court. I certainly get the idea of making everything easier, faster, cheaper, but I wonder at what cost? If you take the human being out of something like legal proceedings, that‘s just asking for problems and pitfalls. Legal videographers exist for a reason, and that‘s to make an accurate video record while following rules and procedures that exist in the profession. A service like this seems like a giant leap backwards for the industry.

  • Henry Howard, legal videographer since 2004

    I have to agree with Mr. Church. I would also point out there is no license for a legal videographer. Being a Notary may be required in some states for some situations. There are two organizations that provide training and certification for legal videographers. If you had a videographer fall asleep in the room, then you are hiring the wrong company to record your video. Were you by any chance using a National firm who calls a local court reporter who then calls a local videographer, each level adding a percentage to your bill, or taking a cut out of the videographers rate such that you end up paying sub par money for a sub par videographer? Speaking of falling asleep, who is more likely to sleep or at least be distracted, a videographer sitting in the room with you or some monitor in a distant dark room probably having to watch multiple depositions at the same time. If there is a problem you will know faster from a professional in the room ( causing you to loose only a few words or one answer if that) than a distant operator, particularly if it is an internet connection problem and the monitor has to reconnect. (As I was entering this comment the first time I experienced a glitch and lost all of my entry.) The local professional will have two or more video recorders running in addition to an audio recorder. Another consideration is that the remote monitor must interrupt the deposition to correct problems during the deposition, while the local professional may be able to fix many problems without needing to stop. (Adjusting blinds, moving obstructions in the shot, even locating cell phones that are causing interference.) Finally there is the issue of what do you do when there is no internet connection. I’ve been there too many time. I arrived at one office suite that was totally down. I’ve shot deposition where there was no internet and we had only one bar of cell service or even none. If you hire good good people and pay them as professionals then you, the lawyer, can concentrate on deposing your witness and not have to worry.

  • Nolan C Church Jr

    My quotation marks were replaced by the website in the post with &

  • Nolan C Church Jr

    There is so much wrong with this article, I hardly know where to start. First of all, neither you, Mr Kalb or Mr Bloomberg mentioned the most important part of a "video" deposition and that is the AUDIO!! As a professional legal Videographer for 30 years I don‘t relish the constant reminding of witness and attorneys to remove and replace their microphones as we go on and off the record. The microphones aren‘t just to encumber and annoy, they have a very important purpose. Simple physics says the closer the microphone is to the source of the sound (attorney mouth) the more direct sound is captured in relation to reflected echo sound in the room. This is essential to clearly record not just the content but the nuance of the testimony. The court reporters often rely on this audio, provided through headphones at the depo as well as mp3 files later used for quality checking the transcript. The quality of auto-syncing is also dependent on the quality of the audio provided to the syncing engine. The iPad or smartphone located some distance from the witness just isn‘t capable of such clear audio capture, not to mention the zooming in on exhibits and adjusting to changing lighting conditions, especially when displaying xrays on a back-lit view box. There is no excuse for a legal videographer nodding off during a deposition but I know it does happen. I just don‘t see how a remote StoryCloud employee could be immune from this human reaction to boring testimony. At least if the videographer in the room falls asleap you will know it and can throw something at them. Legal videographers have a robust community exchanging tips and discoveries about the latest technology as well as the process of taking the video deposition. We have been using this "comming of age" technology Mr Kalb brags about for years. We can stream video and high quality audio to any location. We can deliver video files via the cloud or directly to the attorney at the end of the depo. The idea that capturing video to a third-party cloud is more secure than handing the attorney a thumbdrive or even providing it by my private FTP is laughable.

  • David Armstrong

    This probably has already been solved.

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