Video Clips Will Sway A Juror’s Opinion in 30 Seconds (or less)
As humans, jurors develop an opinion about a witness within the first 30 seconds of seeing them. Decades of research in social psychology illustrate the surprising power of first impressions. From contexts as diverse as evaluating classroom teachers, selecting job applicants, or predicting the outcomes of court cases, human judgments made on the basis of just a “thin slice” of observational data can be highly predictive of subsequent evaluations.
The term thin slice comes from a frequently cited article by Ambady and Rosenthal (1993; see also Allport, 1937; Funder & Colvin, 1988; Gladwell, 2005; Goffman, 1979), who had college students evaluate 30-second silent video clips of instructors teaching a class and found high correlations between those evaluations and end-of-semester ratings of the same instructors by their respective students. This result was replicated with high school teachers and even thinner slices of video (as short as 6 seconds for each instructor). In other words, students made a decision about a teacher by watching a 30-second video clip and then kept that opinion throughout the semester.
Thin slices of behavioral data have been shown to predict a broad range of consequences, including therapist competency ratings (Blanck, Rosenthal, Vannicelli, & Lee, 1986), the personalities of strangers (Borkenau, Mauer, Riemann, Spinath, & Angleitner, 2004), and even courtroom judges’ expectations for criminal trial outcomes (Blanck, Rosenthal, & Cordell, 1985; for reviews, see Ambady, Bernieri, & Richeson, 2000; Ambady & Rosenthal, 1992).
Think of it this way: is it more persuasive to say “Bill is an angry driver” or to show the jury a video of Bill driving?
Show. Don’t Tell.
Opening statements are difficult. It is the attorney’s first opportunity to introduce themselves, their clients and their theory of the case. If not careful, an attorney’s opening statement can become bogged down in details, lengthy excerpts from depositions and, frankly, nuances that bore the jury to sleep. Instead of reading what a witness is expected to say, show the jury video clips of the witness’ discovery deposition. This allows you, as the attorney, to make the true first introduction of a witness in a manner which is likely to cause the jury to form an opinion of the witness. This is an incredibly powerful tool and one that attorneys must utilize as the Millenial Generation becomes the dominant presence in your jury pools. If you are not using visual media to present your case, you probably are not winning.
No matter how eloquent you might be, you will never convey this man’s buffoonery as well as the video from his deposition:
Milestone Reporting is One of Florida’s Leading Providers of Legal Video Services
So now that we have used a video to convince you to use video at your depositions, we would like to convince you to use Milestone. A few years ago, Milestone followed the same practice as most court reporting companies when it came to legal video: we would hire a third-party videographer on an as-needed basis. There are a lot of great videographers in Florida, but there are also a lot of really bad videographers. We experienced problems with video and audio quality, inconsistent pricing, delays in delivery and even lost videos. We made the decision to bring the vast majority of our video in-house and assembled a team of experienced videographers led by a Certified Legal Video Specialist. On any given day, we are covering all day depositions in Orlando, FL while simultaneously handling IMEs in Tampa or Miami, video-only depositions in Melbourne, and many other depositions across the state. Our team of legal videographers take depositions across Florida. Every single day.
That is why Milestone Reporting Company focuses on training our staff in accordance with the principles outlined by the NCRA’s Certified Legal Video Specialist program. Our department is led by a CLVS and all of our in-house video team members are required to begin the CLVS certification process. Again, this is not some mail-in certification but a year-long process that requires written and performance testing. We have the staffing, the experience, and equipment to cover all of your deposition needs.
An Experienced Video Team is Critical to Your Success
We have heard many horror stories over the years from attorneys who used independent videographers. In one case, an attorney tried to locate a copy of a video prior to trial but the videographer had retired and moved out of state. No one ever found him and the video was lost. All of Milestone’s videos are stored redundantly and in perpetuity in our secure facility. They are available immediately upon request, 24 hours per day. A single videographer who works from home will not be able to ensure a video’s long term availability.
The technology used by your videographer is just as important as their experience. Milestone has led the way in implementing fully-searchable and synchronized videos. We also provide attorneys with free software and training on all our products. With Milestone synchronized videos, you can literally prepare trial clips from an iPad or laptop while on an airplane, from home or even while waiting for a docket call.
Our team of videographers and technicians have generated edited thousands of video clips for use at trial. By edit, we do not mean that we added background music or aliens. Attorneys are obligated to remove any objections or objectionable material from the video prior to showing them to the jury. You tell us what needs to be removed and we will deliver the admissible video in a ready-to-use format that is compatible with any trial presentation software in existence. Not everyone can say that and, if they can’t, you should not be using them.
Trust Milestone to provide regional and nationwide videographers for all of your depositions. We will follow-up and ensure that your video is properly stored, edited and ready for trial. Give us a call today and learn why our quality and low prices have made us leaders in the industry.