The CLVS experience at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Back view of a packed classroom. In the front left, a man sits on a chair in front of a PowerPoint presentation; the slide is on the topic "computer as recorder."

Jason Levin leads a discussion on equipment during the CLVS Seminar at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

By Jason Levin

Each year at the NCRA Convention & Expo, videographers from across the country (and even from around the globe) meet for a three-day intensive course. Instructors and attendees go over everything necessary for starting a career as a deposition videographer. While the primary purpose of the CLVS Seminar is to instruct both novice and experienced videographers on how to become legal videographers, perhaps even more crucial is impressing upon them the importance of a professional and respectful relationship between reporter and videographer. Any reporter who has had a bad experience working with an uncertified videographer can appreciate the value of the CLVS certification process.

The curriculum for the CLVS Seminar is developed and taught by the CLVS Council, which is a team of volunteers who already have earned their CLVS certification. Attendees at the Las Vegas Convention had the privilege of being taught by a legend of legal video, Brian Clune, CLVS, who after twenty years of service to NCRA, stepped down from his post on the CLVS Council. Brian’s wealth of knowledge and inimitable charm will be greatly missed!

Attendance at this year’s Seminar was higher than anticipated. It was standing room–only until we brought in extra chairs to accommodate the high demand. An added benefit to having the CLVS Seminar at the Convention is the networking opportunities available to both videographers and reporting firms alike. I hear from firm owners all the time that they have great difficulty finding qualified videographers to cover their jobs. The CLVS certification is the gold standard for identifying competent and vetted legal videographers and sets them apart from the rest of the field.

In addition to teaching the legal video curriculum at the Convention, the CLVS Council also administers the Production Exam. This is a thirty-minute timed examination in which the candidates video a mock deposition under real-life circumstances. We grade them on how they conduct themselves in the deposition as well as the video record they produce. I am pleased to report that the results of the CLVS practical exam at this Convention had the highest passing rate in many years, which I believe is a testament to the quality of teaching at the Seminar.

The next opportunity to take the practical exam will be Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. Based on the attendance in Las Vegas, NCRA expects the time slots for the Production Exam to fill up quickly, so reserve your spot now! Visit NCRA.org/CLVS for more information about this program or to register.

 

Jason Levin, CLVS, of Washington, D.C., is chair of NCRA’s CLVS Council. He can be reached at jason@virginiamediagroup.com

Register for the September CLVS Production Exam

VideographyThe next testing dates to take the CLVS Production Exam will be Sept. 29-30 at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. Registration is open Aug. 25-Sept. 22. Space is limited, so candidates are encouraged to sign up early. The registration form is available here.

The Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) program sets and enforces standards for competency in the capture, use, and retention of legal video and promotes awareness of these standards within the legal marketplace. “The CLVS certification is the gold standard for identifying competent and vetted legal videographers and sets them apart from the rest of the field,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, Chair of the CLVS Council. The CLVS Council leads the CLVS Seminar and administers the Production Exam.

“I am starting down a new career path and have chosen the CLVS program to add to my video skills. I found the CLVS workshop to be extremely beneficial and well organized,” said Benjamin Hamblen, a multimedia producer in New York who attended the CLVS Seminar at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. “I now know that the CLVS certification will help me down my new career path and will let others know I can produce to the CLVS standard.”

During the Production Exam, candidates will run the show at a staged deposition and be graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Candidates must have taken the CLVS Seminar first; the Production Exam and the Written Knowledge Test may be taken in any order. Learn more about the CLVS program at NCRA.org/CLVS.

Advance your legal video skills at the NCRA Convention & Expo

VideographyNCRA offers legal videographers the opportunity to complete several steps toward their Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) certification at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Work toward the CLVS certification through the three-day CLVS Seminar and Production Exam while networking with both up-and-coming and highly regarded CLVSs and court reporters. There is also a ticketed Legal Videographers Reception on Friday from 6-7 p.m.

Robin Cassidy-Duran, RPR, CLVS, a freelancer and firm owner in Eugene, Ore., offers this advice on becoming a CLVS: “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. 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 decided to begin with the Certified Legal Video Specialist program.”

Put CLVS after your name

Videographers new to legal video can take the three-day CLVS Seminar. If they have already completed the CLVS Seminar, then they can sign up for the CLVS Production Exam on Friday or Saturday.

Craig F. Mitchell, CLVS, states: “Had I not studied the CLVS standards, invested in top quality professional equipment, practiced, and intensely tested every aspect of what was expected, that first deposition certainly would have been my last.”

Legal videographers with sufficient deposition-taking experience may apply to take the CLVS Seminar and CLVS Production Exam concurrently. Once approved by the CLVS Council, experienced videographers will be notified that they can take the CLVS Seminar on Saturday and the CLVS Production Exam on Sunday.

CLVS candidates are encouraged to take advantage of the NCRA room block while in Las Vegas.

NCRA’s CLVS Council plans launch of online seminar content

VideographyBy Natalie Dippenaar

In conjunction with the Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) Fall Event, held at the NCRA offices in Reston, Va., NCRA’s CLVS Council launched an exciting and long-planned project. Rather than offering training to prospective CLVS candidates, NCRA and the council members opted to spend the weekend capturing the contents of the seminar with the goal of bringing the majority of the three-day program online. Typically, the CLVS Council travels two or three times a year to offer the three-day seminar and production exam testing required for the CLVS certification.

With this in mind, the National Court Reporters Foundation offered space in NCRA headquarters as a production studio. Brian Clune, CLVS; Jason Levin, CLVS; Gene Betler, Jr., CLVS; and Bruce Balmer, CLVS, presented and captured topics as diverse as what it means to be a legal videographer, the components of a deposition recording system, the CLVS Code of Ethics, and the CLVS Standards for Video Depositions, as well as applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The project is still in its infancy, but NCRA plans to make the online version available by early to mid-2017.

The weekend concluded with a number of candidates taking the production exam. For some, it was the culmination of their studies and will result in them becoming newly certified, while for others it was the second step as they prepare to take the Written Knowledge Test in January 2017.

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

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.

NCRA’s CLVS Spring Event draws professionals from around the nation

DSC_0148The NCRA CLVS Spring Event held March 11-13 at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., drew 36 participants for the three-day seminar and 22 candidates for the required test. The seminar, which is held twice a year, is led by some of the best and brightest in the legal video profession. The program provides CLVS certification candidates with skills in video-recording depositions and courtroom proceedings that follow accepted Rules of Civil Procedure.

“The CLVS conference was awesome. It was well worth the time and money spent to learn from the experts in the field. From guidance in assembling your first video kit to how to properly end a deposition, they covered everything from A to Z,” said Andrea Kreutz, a videographer for Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The networking session allowed us to meet other videographers from around the country,” Kreutz added.

Candidates for NCRA’s CLVS certification must complete a three-step process: attend the CLVS Seminar, pass the Written Knowledge Test, and pass the hands-on Production Exam. Steps two and three can be taken in any order once step one is completed.

DSC_0190NCRA’s CLVS Spring Event also offered an Experienced Track, which allowed qualified experienced legal videographers the opportunity to attend only the mandatory Saturday session of the Seminar followed by the CLVS Production Exam on Sunday.

“I had the pleasure of being one of the instructors in the hands-on section on Sunday. For most of the participants, this was their first time setting up the equipment and actually operating the camera in a mock deposition,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, with the Virginia Media Group in Washington, D.C.

“The feedback I got was extremely positive. In fact, one woman pulled me aside to tell me she felt a bit overwhelmed Friday and Saturday, but by the end of the hands-on training on Sunday, her confidence was at an all-time high and her spirit was greatly lifted. So as far as I’m concerned, mission accomplished!” Levin added.

In addition to the seminar’s attendees, eight members of NCRA’s CLVS Council were also on hand. The CLVS Council is made up of a group of experienced legal videographers who volunteer their time and share their real-world expertise when leading the CLVS Seminar, which provides a huge benefit to the candidates who attend. Participants in the CLVS Seminar also experience valuable networking opportunities that can lead to future job assignments.

For more information about NCRA’s CLVS certification or to register for next the seminar, visit NCRA.org/CLVS or contact Angie Ritterpusch, Assistant Director of Professional Development, at aritterpusch@ncra.org.

NCRA’s CLVS Spring Event is filling fast

VideographySpace is filling up for NCRA’s 2016 CLVS Spring Event at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., March 11-13. To date, only five slots are left for the three-day seminar, which is led by some of the best and brightest in the legal video profession. The seminar gives CLVS certification candidates with experience in video-recording depositions and courtroom proceedings a skill level that follows accepted Rules of Civil Procedure.

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.

“My goal for 2016 is to become CLVS certified,” said Andrea Kreutz, who is registered for the seminar and the production exam. “It will mean that I am dedicated to providing quality services to our clients.”

Kreutz has been working as a videographer for just over six months for Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters, Des Moines, Iowa. She thinks one of the greatest benefits of attending the Spring Event will be the opportunity to learn from experienced videographers.

“I hope we are provided with recommended practices that will make our jobs easier. Also, I hope to learn the best way to educate attorneys on how videography works,” she added.

Nicholas Sanfratello, a videographer with Jenson Litigation Solutions, Chicago, Ill., is also looking forward to learning the necessary skills to become a CLVS for his company when he attends the seminar.

“Having the certification will mean that I have opened the doors to be a legal videographer and to explore what else I can do with this great achievement,” said Sanfratello, who has just recently entered the videography field.

NCRA’s CLVS Spring Event also offers an Experienced Track, which allows qualified experienced legal videographers the opportunity to attend only the mandatory Saturday session of the seminar followed by the CLVS production exam on Sunday.

NCRA’s CLVS 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. Their vast experience provides a huge benefit to the candidates who attend. Participants in the CLVS Seminar also experience valuable networking opportunities that can lead to future job assignments.

For more information about NCRA’s CLVS certification or to register for the upcoming seminar, visit NCRA.org/meetings or contact Angie Ritterpusch, Assistant Director of Professional Development, at aritterpusch@ncra.org.

Legal videographers can earn NCRA’s CLVS certification

VideographyRegistration is now open for NCRA’s 2016 CLVS Spring Event taking place at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., March 11-13. The three-day seminar, led by some of the best and brightest in the legal video profession, provides candidates for the certification with experience in video recording depositions and courtroom proceedings with a skill level that is in accordance with accepted Rules of Civil Procedure. Space for the CLVS Seminar is limited to 25 spots.

“If you want to be seen as a professional in any endeavor, you must first become familiar with the rules, regulations, and customs of that profession,” said Gene Betler, CLVS, Huntington, W.Va., chair of NCRA’s CLVS Committee. “Second, you must test yourself against the industry rules and standards and pass. Obtaining your CLVS certification shows not only yourself but others as well that you have met those goals.”

Candidates for NCRA’s CLVS certification are required to complete a three-step process that includes attending the CLVS Seminar, passing a written knowledge test, and passing a hands-on production examination. Steps two and three can be taken in any order once step one is completed.

An Experienced Track is also being offered at the Spring CLVS Event. Experienced legal videographers who qualify will have the opportunity to attend only the mandatory Saturday session of the seminar followed by the CLVS production test on Sunday.

NCRA’s CLVS Council is comprised of a group of experienced legal videographers who volunteer their time and share their real-world experience when leading the CLVS Seminar. Their vast experience provides a huge benefit to the candidates who attend. Participants in the CLVS Seminar also experience valuable networking opportunities that can very often lead to future job assignments.

“The networking aspect of attending the seminar cannot be overstated. I still obtain information and ideas and network jobs with those that I have met at my initial class,” said Betler. Candidates also learn the latest about new hardware and software, as well as how changes within the industry can impact the end product, said Betler. “Just think in the last few years we have gone from VHS to DVD to thumb drives to cloud based to live streaming.”

“As a seasoned video professional, I found video depositions to be a unique area of video production with special rules and procedures. These rules are necessary to learn and be aware of at every deposition,” said Brian Clune, CLVS, San Anselmo, Calif., a consultant to NCRA’s CLVS Council.

“NCRA provides the education and guidance needed to be successful and avoid critical mistakes. It is the first step to becoming a competent professional legal videographer. This is an opportunity to receive a large volume of critical information which is all condensed into one long weekend of learning,” said Clune.

For more information about NCRA’s CLVS Certification or to register for the upcoming seminar, visit NCRA.org/meetings, or contact Angie Ritterpusch, Assistant Director ofProfessional Development at aritterpusch@ncra.org.

CLVS Corner: Evolution of a CLVS kit

 

By Kelly Boyd

boyd_kit2I like many things about being a CLVS, and near the top are the fine people I get to work with – not to mention that the importance of the issues at stake in a legal case can often make for high drama. It also is satisfying to try to continuously improve your game and learn from other videographers whenever possible. During my 23 years in the field, my “kit” has evolved many times to become what it is today, and perhaps my version will give you an idea you can use. In the pictures you can see the Panasonic HMC80 camera, a hi-def full feature camera at a reasonable price, that has served me well the past five years. That is connected to the rolling case with mixer, DVD recorder, and H4 Zoom recorder.

The advantages to this setup for me are two-fold. First, it keeps my stuff off the conference table. That piece of furniture is for the attorneys, and I don’t want to compete with their laptops, files and coffee cups for space. Second, the dual monitors not only show me the larger picture that I need for focus and composition, they allow me to compare the camera picture to what the DVD is recording. The Toshiba recorder gives an on-screen readout of elapsed time, record mode and active inputs, and instantly alerts to any problems. When it’s time to finalize, the extra screen makes it easy and quick.

The Mackie 1402 mixer has six XLR channels with phantom power to drive the AT831b lapel mics and boundary mic, with faders, mute, lo-cut filters, and full equalizing on each channel. The equalizers help reduce traffic noise and HVAC noise in most cases. The six channels allow for four lapel mics, a boundary mic, and the headset. The headset is a Beyerdynamic sportscaster’s model with boom mic, which gives on-camera announcements a certain punch that matches the other voices in the room, and makes life easy for the person who has to play it back in court. The cabling is split so that the boom mic can have an XLR male plug and the earcups have 1/4” male tip and sleeve for the mixer’s headphone jack.

The H4 recorder is attached by Velcro, and it is there simply to capture audio for the court reporter. He or she can attach an audio cable either to it or to the headphone jack, or the court reporter can download the files to a laptop at the end of the deposition. Sometimes the court reporter will ask for audio later, and it can be emailed to them.

The rugged case has large wheels, and everything can be loaded on top and strapped in place, so the trip from car to workplace can be managed easily. There is space in the lower section for mics and cables. This setup is quick, and everything is at your fingertips and – as an added bonus — nearly eye level. Although things can still go wrong, it will give confidence that you will be able to handle it.

Boyd_kit1The one disadvantage is its sheer size: It can be hard to get up stairs if there’s no ramp or elevator, but most people can probably work around it. I have used this system for more than ten years.

One deposition that stands out in my mind was a hot summer day where there was no air conditioning, and the attorney insisted on opening all the windows. The traffic noise was deafening, but because I was able to easily mute all mics except the person speaking and open them instantly when necessary, it was manageable. The equalizers cut the traffic noise down even further. I don’t think we could have produced a usable video otherwise. On another occasion, there was a defect in the DVD-R disk, and an error message popped up instantly on the monitor. After inserting a new disk, we continued on uninterrupted. You can always produce a DVD from the SDHC card in the camera, of course, but catching the error quickly means less work later, and continuous redundancy is your only guarantee.

On another occasion, I was using a FireWire connection to the DVD recorder, and experienced an SD card failure, which was a new experience at the time. Because it appeared that the DVD recorder was still capturing everything, I waited until there was a pause in the testimony to go off record. Later I discovered that when using FireWire, audio ceases to be transmitted during an SD card failure, so I had about three minutes of video that had no audio. I was able to dub in the missing audio from the H4 recorder, producing a seamless audio track on the DVD. I never used the FireWire again after that experience.

We all plan to get to a location an hour early, but how many times has it happened that they keep you waiting, and only let you into the room 15 minutes before scheduled start? With this kit you can be set up and ready, and wouldn’t we all like to be heroes instead of apologizing? It has saved schedules and embarrassment in that way times without number. I have a similar setup for courtroom playback.

I don’t expect comments on my kit from attorneys; they have more important things on their minds. It’s not there to impress them. It’s there to deliver results, and it does, every time.

Kelly Boyd, CLVS, is an associate member of NCRA and is based in Ashland, Pa. He can be reached at legaleze@ptd.net.

 

Registration options for the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo

NCRA has received questions on what’s included in each registration package for the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo. Here’s a breakdown of each registration option so that members can make their decision before registration prices go up by $50 after July 6 (extended deadline!).

Full registration discount package

  • With general seating
  • With VIP seating

Best value! The full registration discount package includes admission to concurrent seminars, the Premier Session, the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, the President’s Party, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include pre-convention intensive workshops, special programs, workshops, or the CLVS Seminar.

Partial registration

  • Three days
  • Two days (Fri./Sat. or Sat./Sun.)
  • One day (Fri. or Sat.)
  • Sunday only (half-day)

Partial registration includes admission to concurrent seminars on the days registered, the Premier Session, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include pre-convention intensive workshops, special programs, workshops, or the CLVS Seminar. Social event tickets are not included in this package.

CLVS Seminar

  • Three days (Fri./Sat./Sun.)
  • Two days (Fri./Mandatory Day [Sat.] or Sat./Sun.)
  • One-day (Mandatory Day [Sat.])

Registration for the CLVS Seminar includes one ticket to the legal videographer reception and a 3-day Expo pass. It does not include other social events, concurrent seminars, or special programs/events. Those items must be purchased separately.

Special programs and events

  • National Speed Competition
  • Realtime Competition
  • Special offer — Speed & Realtime Competition combo
  • Punctuation Workshop
  • Teachers’ Workshop

The Speed and Realtime Competitions are not included with partial registration, certification programs packages, or the CLVS Seminar and must be purchased separately. Please register for the Punctuation Workshop and Teachers’ Workshop to reserve your seat.

Certificate and certification programs

  • Realtime Systems Administrators Workshop
  • Realtime Systems Administrators Exam
  • Certified Reporting Instructor Orientation
  • Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop
  • Certified Realtime Captioner Exam

Registration for these certificate and certification programs includes a 3-day Expo pass; social events are not included. The Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop includes admission to concurrent seminars on Friday and Saturday afternoons after the workshop breaks for the day. Partial registration (Sunday) will be required for attendance at Sunday concurrent seminars.

Pre-convention vendor workshops

  • Advantage Software/Eclipse
  • ProCAT
  • Stenograph

These intensive training seminars are held on Thursday, July 30. Registration for these workshops includes a 3-day Expo pass. Select which vendor workshop you wish to attend.

Networking package

  • Networking package general seating
  • Networking package VIP seating

The networking package includes the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, the President’s Party, the Premier Seminar, the Annual Business Meeting, and a 3-day Expo pass.

Individual social event tickets

  • Opening Reception (Thurs.)
  • CLVS Reception (Fri.)
  • CART/Captioner’s Reception (Fri.)
  • Awards Luncheon (Sat.)
  • President’s Party (Sat.) — general seating
  • President’s Party (Sat.) — VIP seating

Social event tickets are not included with partial registration, certification programs packages, or the CLVS Seminar (except as noted) and must be purchased separately.

Register now or visit the registration information page for a breakdown of prices.