What’s Hot? Synchronized Video Transcripts

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Wendy Graves

What is synchronized video?  It is an effective trial presentation tool where the videotaped deposition is synchronized with the court reporter’s transcript enabling a word or phrase search.  This allows you to easily make video clips for presentation at trial.  The results the new technology can deliver are dramatic when an attorney is in the heat of trial. Video clips can be made in real-time and quickly shown to the jury.  Impeachment can be immediate – and effective.

What do attorneys do with synchronized video?  Some are using inexpensive programs such as TrialDirector to load video into, easily make video clips, post exhibits, and store photos of the case.  Most court reporting firms provide free software with the synchronized transcripts which a legal professional can use to quickly make the video clips in preparation for or during trial.

Why is it important to have video media for trial?  More and more attorneys are finding that juries are expecting video because of the proliferation of it in daily life.  As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director of Litigation Media Group of San Jose, says, “This is another example of how effective utilization of technology in trial helps to tell a story that a jury understands, remembers and takes into the jury room with them.  Today’s jury has an expectation of being captivated and engaged at a high level and using multimedia presentation in trial fulfills that need.”

Mr. Lloyd goes on to say, “Melding just the right amount of old-school trial skill with new-world multimedia presentation makes for a perfect mix in assisting the jury in their findings.  Working closely with a talented trial lawyer, utilizing courtroom multimedia makes for a powerful combination that can be unbeatable.  This generally provides for an excellent outcome, especially when others are not using it.”

This begs the question – what happens when the opposition is videotaping and giving an effective presentation with video clips, projected exhibits, and quick access to multimedia?  Are you disadvantaged by not utilizing the same tools?

Cost can be a concern.  Some attorneys have videotaped their own depositions, with the assistance of an employee.  However, the format does not provide for synchronization.  Others have successfully taken advantage of the newest electronic equipment and have a software-based solution for videotaping, with the unbiased court reporter providing and running the specialized equipment.  This format is synchronized, saving 50% or more on videotaping charges.  Law firms are rapidly discovering a new reporter-generated tool called Reporter Video Transcript (RVT).  RVT combines the power of video testimony with a synchronized transcript.

How it Works…

The court reporter is truly the keeper of the record, capturing all details of the proceedings: visual, audio and the written word.

Clients find the Reporter Video Transcript tool very effective.  They like the quick set-up/breakdown time, the significant cost savings, and its ease of use.  One client, who had never owned a laptop, purchased one and installed trial litigation software.  He learned it over the weekend and the following month was able to use the synchronized Reporter Video Transcript so effectively at trial that he impeached a witness on the spot and went on to win a $700,000 jury verdict in a slip-and-fall case against a restaurant chain.

There have been many innovative products developed to aid attorneys in their litigation needs.  This is a breakthrough for attorneys who want to incorporate 21st century technology into their trial presentation, increasing favorable outcomes.


Wendy Graves, CSR, RPR, has been a California CSR since 1983 and a Hawaii CSR since 2007.  Wendy founded Certified Reporting Services in 2002 in Benicia and has recently moved her business to Martinez, near the Bar Association.  As an early technology adopter, Wendy uses the latest in hardware, software and telecommunications to meet the reporting and transcript/exhibit management needs of the firms’ clients.  Wendy has served as a volunteer mediator with the Solano County Bar Association and spent three years as the newsletter editor for the Deposition Reporters Association.  When her busy schedule permits, Wendy enjoys sailing and gardening.

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