Videotaping Depositions vs. Making Movies (Fiction)

by admin on August 9, 2012

By:  Charles Bonin, Videographer

When I started at Paradigm Reporting and Captioning as a Videographer in 2007, I didn’t think that what I wanted to do (filmmaking) would have much relevance to the world of Digital Videography for litigation.  One involved a lot of editing and camera angles, while the other was mainly point and shoot with nearly no editing at all.  However, as I sat through more and more depositions I realized they had more in common than one might think.

Watching the attorneys posture and spar while on the record and then cordially banter when off the record reminded me of the Looney Tunes cartoon of the Wolf and the Sheep Dog punching the time clock to determine when they will be going after each other and when they will be friends.

It can also be compelling drama watching the emotion of the witnesses.  Whether the emotion is due to the content of the deposition, stress of the process, or an outside influence heightened by the stress of the situation they have been put in.  I enjoy watching the compassion of many of the parties present when a witness is having trouble — it happens more than you might think — whether that compassion is from the court reporter, defending counsel, opposing counsel, or even a videographer.  On occasion the cruelty of humanity rears its ugly head and that can be equally fascinating.

When looking at the similarities of shooting depositions and making narrative films, essentially what everything boils down to is relationships.  Within the different type of cases, there are relationships. Whether it’s “why do you claim to be the top selling whatever” or “how could you do that to our marriage,” there is always an underlying story and decisions that could be made at any point of each case that would’ve, could’ve, or did change the direction of the suit at hand.  Which is no different than what we see at the movies.

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