A Legal Videographer’s Tales from Behind the Camera
By Steve Troncone, CLVS
I’ve been working in legal videography for a little over 12 years now. Over my career I’ve worked in 4 different states and filmed just about every type of case there is. While most jobs I’ve covered have been relatively unmemorable, there are a few that have stood out over the years and some I can’t publicly write about, but I have complied a few stories to share about my time in the field. Where applicable, the names of specific places or people have been changed or omitted.
“Who needs chairs”
Filming a deposition in doctors’ offices always has a potential to cause problems. Some offices are well prepared with a conference room and plenty of seating; other times, however, we’ve found ourselves crammed into an examination room or a doctor’s tiny personal office. This is the nature of the job and we adapt the best we can. However, there was one time where “adapting” got taken to the extreme. The office we found ourselves in made the word tiny seemed spacious and the office we were to set up in amounted to little more than a closet. This room was so tiny there was only room for the doctor and one chair to fit in it. I ended up setting up down a narrow hallway and shot through the door. Whenever an attorney wanted to ask questions, they had to stand in the corner of the doorway (outside of my video shot) and ask questions from the hall. In addition, for an inexplicable reason there was a shortage of chairs in the office and no one but the court reporter and the doctor was able to sit for the entire time.
“Did you see that?”
For about a year or so I worked at a court reporting firm in Vegas which provided a…unique…array of cases and some “only in Vegas” moments. This particular deposition involved investment fraud and we were taking the deposition of a witness to the egregious spending of the defendant, so pretty heavy and serious stuff. Suddenly, in the middle of answering a question, the witness went wide eyed and began laughing uncontrollably. For a moment, I thought he had totally cracked and I was filming a mental breakdown in process. Before I could stop the recording, he blurted out, “There’s a man in lingerie in the parking lot.” We quickly went off the record and, as it turns out, yes, there was a grown man walking around our parking lot in lingerie and carrying balloons. Apparently, someone had hired this fellow to deliver a birthday telegram to a neighboring business owner and he was wandering outside the window looking for the right address.
“You’re not welcome here”
Not all of the work we do involves depositions. It’s not uncommon for attorneys to call and ask us to film all manner of procedures or examinations. So when I got a call asking me to film a town hall meeting, I thought nothing of it. The attorney who hired me left out two details. First, it was not a public town hall meeting I was filming but a local Homeowners’ Association meeting. Secondly, he didn’t tell anyone else I was coming. Not surprisingly, the members of the HOA did not approve of someone randomly coming in and setting up video equipment. It so happened that this meeting was in the annex of a local police station. I quickly found myself being confronted by an officer demanding who I was and what I was doing. After explaining myself the officer simply told me to get out and that “You are not welcome in Jamestown”. I imagine my exile has been lifted by now. but I have not gone back to that town since.
“Having fun yet?”
A common question I get during long depositions is some variation of “isn’t this exciting?” Usually this is in regards to long depositions dealing with financial or patent minutia. My honest answer is that I do find a lot of the topics we cover interesting. It is a unique way to expose myself to new facts that I otherwise would never have known about. In fact, there really is only one major exception to this mindset. This particular case involved a bridge and a contractor. Apparently, this bridge was fairly old and needed a new coat of paint which the local government paid a contractor to do. Shortly after the paint job was done the paint began to crack and peel off. The deposition that day was a chemical expert breaking down the chemical structure of the drying paint to explain why the paint used on the bridge wasn’t appropriate. This deposition was literally eight hours about paint drying. After that, everything is exciting.
This article was originally published on the Mike Mobley Reporting, A Veritext Company blog. Read the original post.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Troncone has worked in the court reporting field for over 12 years in multiple areas including videography, production, technology support, and trial presentations. He has been working with Mike Mobley Reporting, a Veritext Company as a legal videographer and office support team member since May 2016.