Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Legal Video › Any video camera that allows
Any video camera that allows Date/Time to be displayed while recording is adequate. Since most legal video is still delivered on DVD there is no need for HD recording. Keep in mind that you're recording a talking head; the deponent: no pans or tilts, no camera movement at all. If you intend to do Day-in-the-Life videos or work other than depositions, you may need a more sophisticated camera. Some attorneys will require you to fade out when you go off the record. If your camera doesn't have a fader, and many don't, you can use a black card slid across the lens to accomplish the fade. It has worked for our legal videographer for five years with never a complaint.
A neutral gray backdrop with support system (two folding stands and a telescoping cross-bar.) While it's possible to get folding backdrops with semi-rigid frames, we have found a soft gray cloth to be much easier to transport and store. Ours has a slight pattern of lighter gray fibers which take light well and provide subtle backlight that helps separate the deponent from the background. You'll be on a medium shot of the deponent so the backdrop doesn't have to be very large.
At least 3 lavaliere mics (five is better), hard wired back to a mixer. One mic for the deponent, one or two for the opposing attorneys. You'll need a mic for yourself as well for the information you will need to read into the recording and for when you announce you're going off the record. You should have enough cable lengths to run the length of a long conference table. Color code the mics, cables, ports on the mixer and the mixer's sliders or dials. This will enable you to turn down a mic that's too hot, or that is rubbing against an attorney's zipper, etc., without having to hunt for the appropriate control
Although we've only had to use it once in five years it's not a bad idea to carry a small LED light. Don't shine this directly at the deponent, who is under enought pressure as it is. Bounce if off the ceiling or a white card to enhance the room's ambient light.
You'll need a DVD burner that can be fed directly from your camera while you're shooting. Without this you'll find it necessary to download from your camera's memory chip, then render and burn to DVD. Takes a lot of time.
Our setup is mics to a mixer; mixer into the camera. From the camera, data recorded to the camera chip and to the DVD burner.
You'll also need a card reader or software that allows you to download from your camea to your computer, and several large hard drives on which to store the depositions for up to 6 months.
Finally, and most importantly, the smallest bags you can find into which all your gear will fit. Use separate bags for each type of gear: one for mics, one for mixer, etc., and a folding cart of some sort to transport all this gear from your car to the client's venue. The cart should be able to deal with steps fairly easily, so large wheels are a plus.