Certified Legal Videographer

Video Deposition Certification: Official Rules & Guidelines

The primary job of a legal videographer is to record video depositions. To do so, one must obtain certain training and equipment. Although there are no education requirements for becoming a legal videographer, a video deposition certification may set you apart from your competition.

So how does a legal videographer become certified? There are several organizations that offer video deposition certification. These organizations all operate under the same rules and guidelines which create a level playing field for a legal videographer looking to receive their certification. 

Since a video deposition certification is not a requirement for legal videographers, many wonder if it is worth the investment of both their money and time. Today we will cover everything you need to know about the video deposition certification including the pros and cons of certification, rules and regulations, and even organizations that offer this particular certification.

What is a Video Deposition Certification?

A video deposition certification is a form of further education for a legal videographer. Other names for this certification include Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) or Certified Deposition Video Specialist (CDVS).

The video deposition certification course covers topics such as:

  • basic rules of civil procedure
  • responsibilities of the deposition videographer
  • how to direct a video deposition
  • how to set up the room for a video deposition
  • necessary equipment for a video deposition
  • how to edit a video deposition
  • presenting a video deposition in the courtroom

 

This certification is not required by the government to record a video deposition. However, it might be a requirement for certain court reporting firms or agencies that would employ a legal videographer.

Even when it is not a necessity, obtaining a video deposition certification is an excellent way to set yourself up for success. Certifications show a future client or employer that you take your job seriously and constantly work on your craft.

A video deposition certification is an excellent idea for a legal videographer as a way to expand their knowledge and add to their resume. It is also perfect for someone wanting to start a career in the field of legal videography. Completing a certification course is a great way to launch yourself towards success in your new career.

How to Get Certified

Certified Legal VideographerTo receive your video deposition certification, one must complete a video deposition certification course. There are several organizations that offer this program, we will cover those in-depth later on in this article. The certification process includes three portions:

  • A certification course is the first step towards completing your certification. These courses are offered both online or in an in-person setting.
  • A written exam is the second step in the process. This exam is comprised of 100 questions. In order to pass, you must answer at least 70 questions correctly.
  • A practical exam is the final step you must complete in order to receive your video deposition certification. This exam consists of a mock video deposition in which the certification candidate will have complete control. They must set up, direct, and record the deposition as they would for a client. The final grade is based upon both the videographers ability to follow rules and guidelines during the deposition as well as the completed video deposition.

 

Upon successful completion of each of these three components, the videographer receives their video deposition certification through the organization.

Official Rules and Regulations for Video Deposition

Although a video deposition certification is not a requirement for a legal videographer, there are several rules and regulations that set a standard of excellence for legal videographers with a certification. One of the requirements for maintaining your video deposition certification is attending continuing education. Members with this certification must meet certain training minimums each year to renew their certification.

There are two prominent organizations that offer the certification for video depositions. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) as well as The American Guild of Court Videographers (AGCV) both have a Code of Ethics which provides guidance for their members. Many of the items in their Codes of Ethics are similar.

Some of the items covered in these Codes of Ethics include:

  • Professionalism is a key component that is covered. Professionalism involves communicating clearly and directly, completing jobs in a timely manner, and observing all rules of the court when conducting or presenting a video deposition.
  • Confidentiality is crucial to the reputation of a certified videographer. This includes keeping all details and parties involved confidential unless otherwise agreed upon by the client.
  • Remaining impartial to any case in which one may have to act as a witness. This includes presenting any video evidence in a manner that will not create a bias towards any of the parties involved.
  • Practicing proper recording practices such as keeping a backup of every deposition on file indefinitely. This also involves both completing and filing the correct paperwork for each client.

 

Exceptions to Rules for Certification

While there are no states that require a video deposition certification, there are a few states that have other requirements that one must meet before filming a video deposition. The most common requirement is that the videographer has no conflict of interest with any of the parties involved. In some states, such as California, the videographer must also be legally certified to administer an oath. Many legal videographers in these states become a Notary Public for this specific purpose.

A video deposition certification will cover the various state and federal rules for filming a video deposition, this is a major benefit to attending a certification course.

Pros and Cons of Becoming Certified

There are few negative factors impacting the decision to work towards a video deposition certification. As with any continuing education, money is a factor worth considering.

However, videographers with certification on their resume are more likely to find work in the field of legal videography. Another factor to consider is the time you will invest in pursuing the certification. Thankfully, in recent years, the certification course has become available online which enables you to work through the material at your convenience.

Maintaining your membership through observing the continuing education requirements is another thing to consider when deciding if a certification is right for you. Completing the certification class is not worth your time or money without a commitment to maintaining your membership with the NCRA or AGCV.

The positive factors involved in receiving your video deposition certification are many. Continuing education is always looked upon fondly by potential employers and clients. A legal videographer with a video deposition certification is held in high regard as a knowledgeable expert in their field. With a certification under your belt, you will be able to make a higher salary while working the same jobs.

A video deposition certification is also a way to streamline your workday by learning new tips and tricks. Technology is constantly advancing and there is often a new or better way to complete some of the most time-consuming tasks.

Further Certifications for Legal Videographers

Beyond a video deposition certification, there are additional certifications available for a legal videographer. The American Guild of Court Videographers offers two additional certifications:

  • Certified Evidentiary Video Specialist (CEVS) is a certification designed for legal videographers that are hired to record evidence at a crime scene or other location. This typically involves filming immovable evidence while working in various environments.
  • Certified Trial Technology Specialist (CTTS) is a certification for the legal videographer that is looking to expand their field into the courtroom. This course covers everything that is required to become part of the trial support team and also explains basic courtroom procedures. This is an excellent way to learn more about the trial process and all that it entails. Even if you are not interested in working in the courtroom, this course provides additional information which will enable you to serve your clients better.

 

Where to Become Certified

There are several organizations that offer video deposition certifications. The two most notable organizations are The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and The American Guild of Court Videographers (AGCV). Both of these organizations provide the training and support necessary to receive your video deposition certification. It is important to do your research before deciding which course or certification will be best for you. As with anything, it is wise to make decisions that will enhance your resume and propel your career path forward.

Related Questions

What does a legal videographer do? A legal videographer is hired to record a video deposition. A deposition is a meeting that takes place before the courtroom trial during the investigative portion of the trial. During a deposition, a witness gives their testimony while under oath.

A legal videographer is responsible for recording and producing this testimony, as well as occasionally presenting it in court on the day of the trial. You can learn more about what a legal videographer does in the article I wrote here

Can anyone become a legal videographer? Yes! Legal videography is an excellent career choice for those with an interest in videography. It is an excellent career choice for someone that already owns professional video equipment, but it is also a great new field for someone wanting to start something new. The only requirement for this job is a high school diploma or equivalent, making this one of the only careers where you can earn a high salary without a college degree.