How to Take Videotaped Depositions on a Budget

Taking videotaped depositions are not cheap – especially when you want to take a lot of them during your legal career. Earlier this year, I gave a presentation at the WSAJ Annual Convention where I discussed buying 5 essential devices that will allow you to take as many videotaped depositions as you wish in your cases. (Make sure to follow all civil rules and provide advanced notice to all parties).

Basically, you will need a camcorder, carrying case, microphone, tripod or stand, and memory card. Here’s a list of the equipment that our office uses that may help you get started. Note that this article is not intended to promote the specific equipment and only serves as a guide for what our office currently uses.

Canon VIXIA HF R82 Camcorder (on Amazon: $268)

Large Digital Camcorder/Video Padded Carrying Bag/Case (on Amazon: $11.95). *This bag is larger than what you will need it to actually carry but will be good for if you have additional equipment.

Vidpro XM-L Lavalier Condenser Microphone for Camcorders 20’ Audio Cable (on Amazon: $10.95). *Depending on how many parties are at the deposition, you may consider ordering a different microphone to place on the table. If you use a lavalier, you may need to buy more than one and find an adapter to allow you to plug in multiple lavaliers. I've found that the camcorder records sound well within a few feet so I usually do not need the microphone.

JOBY GorillaPod Original Tripod (on Amazon: $16.99)

SanDisk 64GB Ultra SDXC UHS-I Memory Card (on Amazon: $13.49). *You may want a larger memory card if you are not saving the recordings on a consistent basis and/or if you’re frequently traveling and may not be able to upload the recordings.

I also suggest printing the below out and placing it in your carrying case, as well as having a copy handy to start every videotaped deposition with:

Today is _______________. The time is ________________. We are at the office of

_____________________________________________ located at _______________

_____________________________________________________________________.

This is in the case of ______________________v.__________________________,

_______ County Case No. _______________________________. We are about to take the deposition of ________________________________________ for use by the plaintiff at trial.

The video operator is _____________________________________________(name),

________________________________________________________ (address),

_________________________ (phone #). His/her employer is _________________________, located at __________________________________, with phone number ______________________.

My name is __________________________, and I represent the plaintiff

__________________. The defendant is represented by _______________________ of ____________________________. The court reporter today is __________________________. S/he will now swear in the witness.

Note that this article is not intended to promote the specific equipment and only serves as a guide for what our office currently uses.

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