NCRA’s CLVS Fall Event is filling fast

VideographySpace is filling up for NCRA’s 2016 CLVS Fall Event at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., November 5-6. Only twelve slots remain for the Production Examination, invigilated by NCRA’s CLVS Council. The Council is made up of a group of experienced legal videographers who volunteer their time and share their real-world experience when leading the CLVS Seminar and overseeing the exam. Their vast experience provides a huge benefit to candidates.

Candidates for NCRA’s CLVS certification must complete a three-step process: attend the CLVS Seminar, pass a written knowledge test, and pass a hands-on production examination. Steps two and three can be taken in any order once step one is completed. The Fall Event is an opportunity to complete step three, which for many will be the final step on their path to the legal video profession.

The production exam not only tests the candidate’s grasp of what they have learned but is also a fantastic opportunity for candidates to experience a real-world scenario. During the exam, candidates run the show at a staged deposition and are graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Two members of the Council observe proceedings and two additional members review the video recording and observations noted before giving a final grade. The passing grade of 70% is not easily given, so passing and gaining the CLVS certification is a true achievement.

Having this certification opens the doors to becoming a legal videographer. It demonstrates proven ability tested under real world conditions by expert legal videographers. It proves to any employer the candidate’s sincere desire to achieve. What better way to start the new future that lies ahead once this certification is achieved.

For more information about NCRA’s CLVS certification or to register for the upcoming production exam, visit NCRA.org/clvs or contact clvs@ncra.org.

Natalie Dippenaar is NCRA’s Professional Development Program Manager. She can be reached at ndippenaar@ncra.org.

Videography and court reporting

While much of the focus of court reporters is on capturing the spoken word through writing, there is another NCRA certified group that strongly complements the work of stenographers – certified legal videographers. As the name suggests, they focus on capturing proceedings through video. What better partnership could there be to provide the complete record.

What

The court reporting profession is very important to the legal process because it creates an exact record of what happened and what was said. Transcripts from a deposition or trial serve as a permanent record of the proceedings. With the need for an accurate and complete record, a legal videographer is sometimes included to capture the event. The use of video adds the opportunity to record facial expressions, long pauses, and nuances of personality and character that cannot be captured in writing.

The use of video in the legal environment is growing. Legal videographers can freelance or work directly for a court reporting firm. They can record depositions, the signing of legal documentation such as wills or real estate transfers, and courtroom cases. Occasionally evidence that has not been introduced as an exhibit might need to be captured, for example, the state of immovable property. Opportunities are unlimited, and job growth is predicted to be above average through 2024.

Who

Legal videographers come from any number of backgrounds, but typically they have an appreciation of technology and are comfortable using video equipment and software. They might be new to the field, perhaps career changers, or experienced videographers comfortable capturing a wedding or producing a documentary. While the skills employed will differ, the ability to use a professional camera, an understanding of the importance of capturing the event first time, and an interest in maintaining their skills is paramount.

Why

Attorneys, judges, and litigants will use details from the transcripts, so it is of absolute importance that the visual record is accurate. While tertiary education is always attractive to employers, being hired requires technical proficiency and an understanding of what is required, as well as the ability to interact professionally. Because of the importance of quality work, in most cases, certification is required to secure employment. Being certified proves that you have the knowledge and skills to produce a quality record. Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) is the main certification used for this type of work. There are three steps to becoming certified, and they are shown below.

The three steps to certification

The first step requires attendance at a three-day seminar that is offered twice a year – in either spring or fall at the National Court Reporters Association headquarters in Reston, Va., and in summer at the annual NCRA Convention & Expo. The next opportunity will be March 2017.

The seminar provides detailed training and hands-on demonstrations, as well as a textbook to help you prepare for the written exam. The first day is an introduction to the profession, discussing the use of video in a deposition, and reviewing the different kinds of equipment used. The second day focuses on the CLVS Code of Ethics, the CLVS Standards for Video Depositions,  and the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The final day provides time for a hands-on workshop, either at an introductory level or at a more advanced level.

The second and third steps are the written test and production exam. Many chose to do the written test first to be sure they have covered all the basics. Written tests must be taken at Pearson Vue testing centers during one of four testing periods (January, April, July, and October) annually. The test includes 100 multiple-choice questions and at least 70 of them must be correctly answered in order to pass. The areas being tested cover video recording production, legal and judicial procedures, post production, office procedures, operating practices and professional development, and ethics.

The production exam is a staged deposition in order to test your ability to take a deposition. You are allowed 30 minutes in the room. Candidates can take some time to become familiar with the equipment that has been provided and then must document a brief mock deposition. The candidates are graded on their ability to provide a quality videotape of the deposition proceedings. Registration for the production exam in November 2016 is open through October 28.

Explore the world of CLVS on the CLVS Community page.

For more information about the CLVS certification program: Visit the NCRA Web page: Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS).

Natalie Dippenaar is NCRA’s  Professional Development Program Manager. She can be reached at ndippenaar@ncra.org.

 

 

Recognize innovative business strategies with the JCR Awards

JCR Awards - TheJCR comThe JCR Awards are a way to tell compelling stories that bring to life innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. Originally conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members, the JCR Awards seek nominations for several subcategories, such as best-in-class stories for: Marketing and customer service; Leadership, teambuilding, and mentoring; Use of technology; Community outreach; Service in a nonlegal setting; and Court Reporting & Captioning Week (2016) initiative. In addition, NCRA is looking for a firm and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination. Nominate a noteworthy court reporter, captioner, videographer, scopist, teacher, school administrator, or court reporting manager or a group, such as firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs. Self-nominations are accepted. More information about specific criteria for each of the categories is available on the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To enter, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered based on the best fact-based story. Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31Read more about the JCR Awards.

See last year’s winners. 

JCR Awards nominations open through Oct. 31

Nominate yourself or a noteworthy court reporter, captioner, videographer, scopist, teacher, school administrator, or court reporting manager for recognition through the JCR Awards. Conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members, the JCR Awards is a way to tell compelling stories that bring to life innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. In addition to nominations for several subcategories, NCRA is looking for a firm and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are accepted. Firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs may be nominated as a group as long as they meet the criteria for membership for one of the definitions in the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To nominate yourself or someone else, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies you implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered by the JCR editorial team based on the best fact-based story. Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31. Read more about the JCR Awards.

NCRA launched redesigned online NCRA Sourcebook

A newly redesigned online NCRA Sourcebook is now available through the National Court Reporters Association’s website. As the newly redesigned membership search site integrates directly with each record,  members can update their information online and see those changes in effect immediately. In addition, members can also add photos to their records.

NCRA’s 2016 Convention & Expo: Something for everyone

Convention-JCRcom-BoxAdOnline registration for NCRA 2016 Convention & Expo happening at the Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 4-7, closes July 29, so hurry and register now to participate in the vast array of continuing education sessions, networking opportunities, certification preparation workshops for the Certified Realtime Reporter and the Realtime Systems Administrator, and, of course, all that’s new on the Expo floor.

Whether you are an official, freelancer, broadcast or CART captioner, legal videographer, educator, student, or legal services provider, this year’s schedule has something to help you be the architect of your future. Plus attendees who need CEUs can earn up to 2.45 of them with a full registration and optional workshops.

Among the educational session highlights are:

Freelancer business 101. Presenters: Lisa DiMonte, RMR, CMRS; Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS; Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR; and Dave Tackla, CLVS

Compassion fatigue and job stress. Presenter: April Kopp, LCSW, MFA

Your cloud-based office. Presenters: Nancy Bistany, RPR and Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CRC

The secret business of court reporting. Presenter: Debbie Bridges Duffy, RPR

Beyond the captions:  Captioner roundtable. Presenters: Merilee Johnson, RMR, CRR, CRC; Bill Graham; and Deanna Baker, FAPR, RMR

90 apps in 90 minutes. Presenter: Sara Wood, CAE

Tax tips for court reporters. Presenter: Charlotte Ogorek

Best practices for realtime reporting. Presenters: Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC; Christine Phipps, RPR; and Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR

Anywhere, anytime:  Online testing. Presenter: Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE

Are you an independent contractor or an employee? Presenter: Chris Wojcicki

Video equipment configuration:  Real world equipment setups. Presenters: Richard Hayden, CLVS, and Jason Levin, CLVS

In addition, students, educators, and school administrators will enjoy a selection of sessions tailored specifically to their interests and needs.

Other highlights for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo include professional speaker and humorist John Wagner, who will address the topic of “Pride in the Profession” when he takes the stage as the keynote presenter during the Premier Session; the national Speed and Realtime Contests; the installation of NCRA’s 2016-2017 Officers and Board of Directors; and the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award bestowed by NCRA. Networking opportunities will include receptions, the annual awards and NCRF Angels luncheons, and the President’s Party.

Remember, the deadline for online registration is July 29. For more information and to register for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

CLVS: (L)earning your ABCs

By Robin Cassidy-Duran

After 25 years as a court reporter, I decided to branch out into the video world. Prior to January 2014 my video production experience consisted of borrowing a friend’s camera twice — maybe three times — over the last 30 years as my kids were growing up just to catch those special moments.

In high school, I had enjoyed photography class immensely, but that was long before video cameras became a household item. Still subjects were fairly easy to capture, and we learned the process of developing prints in the darkroom.

Ten years ago, I became a partner in a court reporting firm, and the demands on my time made it more difficult to remain a reporter in the field, produce transcripts, and manage an office. A few years ago, I made the decision to focus on the office, using my reporting skills perhaps once a week. Of course, as my time spent on my machine dwindled, it became more challenging to keep my writing skills up.

As a court reporter, I had observed many videographers over the years, and I sometimes envied their job as I struggled to get every word down on my machine. Although some videographers appeared more attentive than others, there were the few that sat in the back of the room reading emails, playing solitaire, or catching a few winks (or so I thought).

Granted, my knowledge of F stops and depth of field was a little rusty when I decided to pursue a career in legal videography, but everyone assured me that it was so easy. “I mean, really, how difficult could it be?” they said. “You can borrow my home video camera and try it out. Don’t worry about those lapel mics, lighting, or backdrops — that’s overkill.”

I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to be taken seriously when I walked into the deposition. I wanted to know what I was doing — or at least have that appearance — so I started looking at the legal video certification process and earning the alphabet letters — CLVS, CDVS, etc.

Since I was already a member of NCRA, I decided to begin with their Certified Legal Video Specialist program. It consists of a two-day seminar followed by a Written Knowledge Test and a hands-on Production Exam. At the same time I signed up for the seminar in Atlanta, I noticed that they were offering the written test the week following the seminar. I thought, “How convenient! I can take that knowledge I’ve gained the weekend before and pass the written portion lickety-split.”

And then I arrived in Atlanta. I was handed the CLVS Guide to Video Depositions. And I opened the book and read and read and read and began to think, “What have I gotten myself into? This is going to be so embarrassing. I’m never going to be able to cram all of this knowledge into my pea-sized brain in three days in time for the written exam. What data can I purge so that I can implant this information in my head? Everyone has told me how easy this is going to be, but it’s not!”

I am not a natural born test taker. I’m sure you’ve all met a reporter who sailed through the test and exclaimed, “Wasn’t that a great test?” I exceeded the average of three tries to pass the RPR. As Benjamin Franklin said, “I didn’t fail the test; I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”

I have to say that the instructors were fantastic, and they were able to teach a novice like myself what I should be doing out in the field. Taking that training with the fact that I studied like I haven’t in years and, miracle of miracles, I passed the written test three days later.

Fast forward one year: I attended NCRA’s TechCon 2015 in Denver, to attempt to pass the Production Exam. This consists of setting up a mock video deposition in a room of practicing videographers filming you while you are attempting to film them. I was informed ahead of time by well-meaning CLVSs that there were no tricks to this test. Take a deep breath. I’ve been doing this for a year. Right?

Well, as a reporter we all remember the famous words, “Ready? Begin.” What I should have replied was, “Nope. Stop everything.”

With heart pounding and lead-filled legs, I entered the test room. I proceeded toward the equipment to run through the various sound and camera tests before my deposition participants entered the room. I succeeded in turning the mixer off (no, it is supposed to be on) and back on and set the camera to my satisfaction.

Then the participants for the mock deposition entered the room (“Oh, dear. That can’t be him. I know that person. Why is he here? Why is he smiling?”) and the real fun began. After struggling to get refocused on what I was there to accomplish, I think I gave the proper admonitions to the parties. I say think of course because it is all pretty much a blur. What I do remember next is, “Is everyone ready? One moment please.” And I turned the power to the camera off.

Seriously. I turned the camera off. How much worse could this get?

Breathe. The power to the camera was restored, and we moved forward. The deposition began and I couldn’t wait for it to end. But it got worse – really.

I needed to zoom in on an exhibit and back out again. Normally this is not a difficult task but my arms felt like sandbags. My mind was saying I could do it, but my hands were not cooperating. I did some facsimile of zooming. All I could think of was, “Please beam me up, Scotty. Please!”

Well, it eventually ended. I passed. It wasn’t a pretty pass, but I’ll take it.

CSR, RPR, RMR, CRR, CRI, CLVS, CRC, etc. — in our reporting world, all of these letters demonstrate a level of competency. But they are more than that. These individuals who earn these letters are striving to improve and perfect their skills, stepping outside of their comfort zone and making changes in their lives that can lead to personal and professional growth.

Enjoying our comfort zone, of course, is fine unless we get so complacent that we hold ourselves back instead of challenging ourselves to improve and try new things.

I’d like to encourage you to continue striving to improve and perfect your skills even when it might seem or be difficult. Step outside of your comfort zone and make changes in your life that can lead to personal and professional growth. I’m sure glad I did.

Robin Cassidy-Duran, RPR, CLVS, is a freelancer and firm owner in Eugene, Ore.

Important considerations when using videotaped depositions

A blog posted May 23 on Lexology offers tips for making effective videotaped depositions, including how to best preserve the record of excerpts from the video played at a trial.

Read more.

Advancements in court reporting technology: Synchronized video depositions

Film strip of court scenes with excerpts from the transcript at the bottom as captions.

By Todd Mobley

As experienced litigators know, there is no substitute for thorough trial preparation. Knowing which details to present, and when to present them, are key to successfully making a case or impeaching the testimony of opposition witnesses.

At the same time, recalling those details, especially from hours of accumulated depositions compiled over the course of months, or years, can be difficult at best. But with the help of ongoing advances in court reporting technology, attorneys now have options that can help them prepare cases more efficiently, create a more polished presentation, and thoroughly control the cross examination.

synched video depos1 Among the best of these advanced court reporting technologies are synchronized video depositions. Potentially game-changing, synchronized video depositions feature built-in software that synchronizes video with the written transcription provided by the court reporter and legal videographer team. The benefit of this system is that attorneys can not only read the transcript on screen while watching the deposition or trial video footage, but they can also search the video record for key words and phrases at any point. This gives them the ability to quickly find important testimony or review hours of testimony for key excerpts. At trial, a litigation team can use the system to immediately locate and play back passages of important testimony to the entire court at a moment’s notice.

Linda Weber, a partner at the trial presentation service company Visual Evidence, says that synchronized depositions can help with the retention of information, especially when a jury is asked to watch a video.

“If you just put the talking head up there, it can be difficult for juries to retain the information,” said Weber. “But when you scroll the text across the bottom, they can see it and they can hear it. It really helps the jury.”

Weber has found this to be a huge advantage in business and medical malpractice litigation where the jury may be unfamiliar with terminology. In many cases, her clients will ask her to highlight specific terms or quotes so that the jury understands the importance of what was said.

Along with helping jurors retain information, synchronized video depositions are also powerful tools to impeach opposing witnesses.

synched video depos2“I use (synchronized video) in every trial,” said Marc Pera, a partner in the Cincinnati law firm Crandall, Pera & Wilt. “Nothing is more useful in trial than having an opposing witness impeach themselves.”

A plaintiff’s attorney specializing in medical malpractice, Pera has found synchronized video testimony to have a much greater impact on jurors than a traditional read back. The reason, he says, is that even the most compelling testimony loses its effectiveness when shared as a stenographic transcript.

As any juror would confirm, a passage read aloud from a prior deposition or testimony is often abstract and more difficult to remember. On the other hand, a video is much easier to recall, in both the short-term and the long-term when it comes time for a jury to begin deliberations.

Another drawback to the traditional read back is that it leaves room for interpretation, Pera said.

“If you’re using paper, it’s easier for a witness to say that they didn’t understand what was asked with the question,” Pera said. A video, he added, leaves little doubt.

For Pera, synchronized video depositions have become an indispensable tool, and he can point to specific cases where synchronized video depositions helped him to win cases for clients. One example in particular, he said, was a medical malpractice case in which a client underwent a surgical procedure and the doctor perforated his client’s bowel without realizing it. Afterwards, Pera’s client became septic. Over the course of depositions and at trial, Pera said the doctor changed his story multiple times. But by impeaching the doctor with his own video testimony, Pera said the jury was convinced.

synched video depos3“In another case, I was able to impeach a surgeon several times during his first day of testimony,” Pera said. “His team settled the next day.”

The benefits of synchronized video depositions extend beyond the courtroom, too. A powerful tool for case preparation, it offers the ability to quickly reference testimony when preparing for examination of witnesses.

Whether for trial preparation or in trial, Pera says the results synchronized video depositions offer should not be discounted.

Said Pera, “I think it’s an invaluable tool. I have no doubt that it helps.”

Todd Mobley is president of Mike Mobley Reporting in Dayton, Ohio. He can be reached at Todd@MobleyReporting.com.

 

TECHNOLOGY: The benefits of early adoption

person hold laptop with digital planet; light emits from video cameraBy David Ward

Because concentration is paramount for their job, court reporters don’t like disruptions — and that often extends to the equipment and other technology they use during work. Once reporters are comfortable with their writers and other gear, many are loathe not only to try to try new hardware, but often even to update some of the software that supports their equipment. This reliance on the tried and true can help a reporter stay in their comfort zone, but it also comes with a cost.

Foregoing the opportunity to be an early technology adopter means that at least some reporters may end up missing out on trends that can help them do their job better and also grow their business.

“There are so many great new tools now with reporting,” says Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, a principal with LNS Court Reporting based in Portland, Ore. “From where it was when I started in 1980, it almost feels like we’re cheating now thanks to software that can, for example, remember complex medical terms, so if you write it two or three times, it will start to suggest it.” Though it does require both a financial investment and a willingness to learn the ins and outs of the latest hardware and technology, Nodland says being an early tech adopter has more than paid off by helping her firm generate new business.

“Being tech-savvy really resonates with our client base,” she explains. “Every single time we’ve given a five-minute tour of our technology to a client, they are beside themselves. It’s usually the assistants — the attorneys don’t want to deal with it — who are just delighted because it makes their job easier. If they go home and are not sure if they have scheduled a videographer for the next day, they can log in and double check.”

One of the main reasons LNS embraces new technology is because it now does a lot more than reporting and videography. “We are tech heavy because we have both court reporting and captioning and video conferencing over IP, so we need a real robust infrastructure,” Nodland says.

LNS has an IT person on monthly retainer to oversee and maintain the company’s servers and website. “We use ReporterBase for the calendaring, invoicing, and the repository with 24/7 access to transcripts — and it’s our IT person’s job is to makes sure it’s all running properly. He also makes sure there are backups to all our reporters’ notes and files, even though that’s really the reporters’ responsibility.”

The cost-effective early tech adopter

Not every firm or individual reporter will have the resources to invest in an array of on-site servers, let alone hire a tech guy to manage it all.

But Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, an NCRA director and freelance reporter based in Dayton, Ohio, notes there are still cost-effective ways to be an early tech adopting reporter. Terry notes that even little things like upgrading laptops and home PCs to the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system can make a huge difference.

“I know many reporters are afraid to make that switch for fear of messing up their laptop,” she explains. “But most of the upgrades are taking place on the software side, and many reporters don’t realize how powerful they can be and how effective they can be when streaming a deposition. Once you have your router in place, no matter what CAT system you’re on, it’s easier to get the hookup when all your software is up to date.”

Being an early tech adopter also requires reporters to understand what type of new tech can truly make a difference in their business.

Dianne Cromwell, RPR, is an official reporter in Boise, Idaho, as well as the owner of the Boise reporting firm Tucker & Associates. Cromwell says that virtually every reporter can help their business with relatively low-cost investments such iPads. “Compared with the old days when you had to deal with all different kinds of laptops and other repeaters, the iPad is much easier,” she says. “The freelancers that work for our company all have their own iPads, which they provide clients.”

Asking the right tech questions

Many small business owners — and not just those in the court reporting field — may understand the importance of staying on top of technology but often don’t know how to start that process.

Terry notes that people don’t have to be all that tech conversant to be early adopters; they just have to know the right people and ask the right questions.

“Many reporters buy a new laptop or other equipment, and the settings are not optimized for their job, which is the recording of proceedings,” Terry explains. “So they think they have a crappy laptop and they go out and buy another one.”

Asking other court reporters for advice is one way to get up to speed on new technology, but Terry says reporters also can’t be shy about asking the very people they’re buying the equipment from for their input. “These are professionals, and to me what they’re also selling me is support,” she says. “It really doesn’t do you any good to get a microphone that picks up the sound in a room great if you don’t know how to set the settings to make that happen.”

Most tech and software vendors say they want those questions from court reporters. Jason Yee, marketing director with OMTI, makers of the ReporterBase line of software, notes his company routinely handles queries from their hundreds of firm clients.

“We find their interest in new technology ranges from very conservative to eager early adopters,” he explains. “We view it as our job, as software developers, to be up on what is happening technology-wise and use our experience from 30 years of developing for this industry — plus insights from our clients — to decide which technologies to incorporate into ReporterBase. Then we teach our clients why they have these new abilities and what they can do with them.”

Yee says OMTI upgrades its two main court reporting products, RB8 office management software and RB Web online office, twice annually, keeping firm owners abreast of any new features through online content as well as its annual conference.

“We have found that often clients who describe themselves as not technically savvy will embrace these foreign new concepts and abilities when they understand the benefits and learn how to use the new features properly,” he adds.

Reporting technology for a rich future

The right technology can not only assist individual reporters and court reporting firms with their current work, it can also ready them for what could massive new opportunities over the next decade.

Jason Primuth, executive vice president for NextGen Reporting, points out that remote reporting — where the reporter is far from the witness being deposed — has not really taken off in many parts of the country.

“However, we’ve seen a strong growth in the demand for remote depositions where the parties are in multiple locations, and the court reporter is generally with the deponent,” he adds. “Forward-thinking corporations and insurance companies have found significant savings in time and money by conducting remote depositions.”

Primuth has also seen a surge in the use of video technology in legal proceedings, noting, “Some of our cases require the high-quality video that only traditional videographers and a professional camera can provide. But there’s a massively underserved market for video in smaller cases with smaller budgets. Other options, such as remote streaming, make video affordable to a much broader range of cases.”

Rhonda Jensen, RDR, CRR, CMRS, president of Jensen Litigation Solutions, based in Chicago, Ill., says her firm is rapidly adding new video equipment, including HD cameras, to take advantage of the growing popularity of video.

“We’ve expanded dramatically,” she explains. “We now do promotional videos for attorneys to post on their websites, and we’re very active in the local bar associations here in Illinois where we’ve done things like ‘Women in the Legal World’ videos for them.”

Jensen adds video is already influencing many parts of civil litigation. For example, her company now works with law firms to put together day-in-the-life videos used in personal injury suits.

“If someone is injured, the attorneys often want the jury to know what it’s like to be in their shoes by showing their daily life,” she explains. “We’ve also just invested in our first GoPro camera, which can be put on the injured person to show directly what life is like from their side.”

As much as video is affecting litigation, the huge growth in video outside of the legal arena has been a real technological trigger for the court reporting industry along with the need to caption much of that content.

A report last year from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicted that 80 percent of all Internet traffic will be video by 2019.

Carol Studenmund, RDR, CRC, and co-founder (along with Nodland) of LNS Reporting in Portland, Ore., agrees that the surge in video, both online and off, could have a profound effect on the captioning community – but only for reporters willing to step outside their comfort zone.

Studenmund explains that over the past five years, captioning prices in the network television affiliate world have dropped, adding, “But I still see reporters who only want to do network affiliate news, and they’re willing to take less money to just do that. In the meantime, there’s all this new work.”

One area where Studenmund is seeing growth is areas affected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“The world of people with hearing disabilities are finally beginning to ask for what they’re allowed to have through ADA,” she says. “And it’s booming. One example is stadiums. How many stadiums now have to provide captions? Another is in the workplace as people are realizing that in order to participate in a workplace webinar, they need captions.”

If that’s not opportunity enough, consider the vast amounts of old videotape that could soon be converted to digital and posted online.

“There’s so much content, not just current videos being produced, but archived content from years back when they still had VHS,” Terry says. “These are sitting at colleges and universities, and they’re dying to make that content digital and searchable.”

In addition to possessing their traditional captioning skills, Terry says court reporters should start thinking and talking like early tech adopters when it comes to video.

“You have to explain to people looking to post videos to YouTube that most search engines can’t index that content unless it’s captioned and there are keywords to pull up,” she says. “We have so much video history right now that if I was just entering the business, I would be marketing video captioning as strongly as I would depositions and hearings. If you can learn to caption videos, you really have an unlimited market.”

The good news for court reporters looking to be on the cutting edge of video is that it doesn’t require that much new tech.

Studenmund, who does captioning at stadiums, including high-profile events like the Super Bowl, remotely from her home office, says other than a great high-speed Internet connection, all you really need are great earpieces.

“I indulge in nice headphones,” she adds. “When working remotely, it all comes down to hearing clearly.”

Like most early tech adopters, Studenmund says the real key is to embrace any new technology as an opportunity rather than distraction, adding, “Everything changes all the time, so you just need to be ready for that.”

David Ward is a journalist in Carrboro, N.C. Comments on this article can be sent to jcrfeedback@ncra.org.

This article was suggested by NCRA’s Technology Committee.