Q: What Do I Do If An Attorney Wants Me to Record Through the Zoom Platform, Even Though They Didn’t Schedule a Legal Videographer?
A: If the attorney would like a recording of the deposition and there is no videographer scheduled, we recommend you ask them to reach out to your local calendar team to schedule a videographer or to contact the calendar team directly on the attorneys behalf. You should not record the proceeding yourself under any circumstances as further described below.
When there is no videographer present, the reporter is always the host on a Veritext Virtual deposition for many reasons. The first of which is so that no one else has the capability to record directly through Zoom. You might think that’s because we don’t want anyone recording the deposition without ordering a copy of the video, but there are much more important logical and legal reasons involved.
You can tell the requesting attorneys that you cannot record the Veritext Virtual deposition because:
Zoom records the entire screen with every participant visible rather than just focusing on the witness
Without the acknowledgment and consent of all parties, this is like setting up an iPhone to record at the end of a conference table before the deposition begins without telling anyone.
Zoom is not turned on and off when the parties go on and off the record
It runs continuously, capturing off the record conversations.
Zoom recordings cannot be used as evidence at trial because they can be manipulated by anyone who has access to the recording
Zoom recordings can easily be edited. Even on the Zoom website, they state: “Lucky for you, the Zoom recording formats – MP4 and M4A – are easy to edit in virtually any editing software. Here at Zoom, we’ve used ScreenFlow, Camtasia, and iMovie, and have been happy with the results every time.” Even if their IT departments load screen capture software like Bandicam, the same rule applies; These recordings cannot be used as evidence at trial.
There is no impartial party monitoring Zoom recording for sound levels and quality
Again, if the attorney would like a recording of the deposition and there is no videographer scheduled, we recommend you ask them to reach out to your local calendar team to schedule a videographer or to contact the calendar team directly on the attorneys behalf. A videographer will announce the full case information at the beginning, go on and off the record when told, designate times for being on and off the record, and also closely monitor the audio to make sure everything is clear and audible on the final video product. They also have the equipment to only record the witness, just as an in-person video would be handled. A video from a remote video deposition will present in trial exactly as an in-person video deposition would present.
Our client is most certainly looking for a professional, admissible, and quality product to present to a jury at trial, and that can only be provided by a well-trained, professional, legal videographer.
Have you been in an “on the job” situation that you were unsure how to handle?
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About Judy Stevens – RPR, CMRS, CPE – Principal, Colorado
Judy Stevens has been a firm owner in Denver since 1994 before becoming part of Veritext in 2019. She began her career as a court reporter in Tucson, Arizona before moving to Denver, Colorado. In 2000, Judy earned the highly coveted designation of Certified Manager of Reporting Services (CMRS) by the National Court Reporters Association while building her firm, mentoring her team and also serving on the board of her state association and volunteering through the Alliance of Professional Women.
Over the years, Judy and her firm have been recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of the “Top 10 Fastest Growing Denver-Area Private Companies” and she has been nominated by the Denver Business Journal for its “Outstanding Women in Business” award on numerous occasions. In addition, Judy was recognized by NCRA with its prestigious “Excellence Award for Leadership and Team-Building” and has authored many articles for the JCR magazine. Judy is also quite active in her teaching/mentoring role as a regular guest lecturer at both Arapahoe Community College and the University of Denver Law School.