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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old June 13th, 2007, 06:06 AM   #1
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I got a call yesterday to tape a deposition, and it caught me off guard I have never done one before. How do you charge for a job like that? I would not think that there is any editing involved. Any one want to share about their experiences here? The bulk of my work is weddings and such.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #2
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My understanding is that there can be no editing, as it is considered a "legal" document. Search for deposition as I have seen a few threads on here from people that do them for a living.

Found a link that seemed pretty informative..
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #3
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does the client (the attorney) want VHS or DVD finished product?
Do you have enough decks to make master copies for all parties?
Do you have enough mics and a mixer to mic all parties present?
Can you imprint the Date/Timecode on the finished product?

These are a few of the things you need to do to make it a LEGAL (presentable in courrt) depo.

when I did them (not many a long time ago) I used an S-VHS camera (state of the art back then) with 3 vhs decks thru a DA and a small mixer with 4 wired lavs to get everyone that was there.

Also a monitor so I didn't have to watch thru the VF for the day.

If going to VHS OR DVD you need at least 3 decks since you need an unedited version for each attorney and one for the court-possibly even keeping a master for yourself.
As for editing there is none UNLESS the judge tells you to and then the judge will determine what you can do to it.
To make sure it's never been played with you need the date and timecode showing so neither party can accuse the other OR you of playing with the depo.
As for charges-a couple of guys I know that still do them sharge $125 for the 1st hour with a 1 hour minimum and $75 per hour there after up to 10 hours after that its time and a half. Plus they get reimbursed for parking and travel - per mile.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:53 AM   #4
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Charges vary by market.

Here in NJ, the going rate varies between about $ 80 per hour to as much as $ 125 per hour (for someone who might be "certified" by either the NCRA or the AGCV). Some charge a minimum price, e.g. $ 200 for the first hour of recording, then an hourly fee for each hour after that. Reason being, you must arrive approx 1 hr early to be set-up, checked, and be ready to record as soon as the deponent and deposing attorney are present, and then you must break-down your equipment. Generally, you get paid only for time spent recording, so some folks bill more for the first hour to make up for time spent in set-up/breakdown.

Try to get some idea as to how long the depo will run; some go less than an hour, some can go for days.

Often there are at least 2 attorneys present, the deposing attorney, and one for the opposing side. I've seen depos with as many as 5 attorneys present, with each posing questions to the deponent.

Recording and displayin the time/date stamp is a common practice, though not required everywhere.

Keep a log of objections, i.e. who made each one, and the time of day that each was made. This helps locate the objection on the recording (using the time stamp), and makes it easier for the judge to rule on objections later, after the depo has been completed and the judge needs to rule on objections, if any.

Basically, the only time you stop recording is when the attorneys agree to go off the record.

Do a web search, and a search of the forums here. There are plenty of posts that at least outline the process. It's not difficult, and it can be either boring or entertaining depending on the case and the deponent, but there are a few generally-accepted practices to follow, and a few that are mandated by either state or federal law..

Good luck.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #5
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Thank you

I just want to thank you folks for sharing what you knew about this. This seems like a good use of equipment and time for my business. I will let you all know how it went.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #6
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Here is what I do.

$300 flat rate for the first three hours, plus mileage at $.45/mile. $75.00 per hour for each hour following the first three. Tape Stock at cost. Back-up audio copy for court reporter at either 1) twice audio tape cost or 2) extraction from video tape and burning to disc at $75.00/ hour. I have one court reporter who refuses to abandon audio cassettes, so i always go to depositions with a cassete recorder. All other court reporters record audio digitally, so the audio extraction is a post process. Most don't want the additional copy.

The clock starts when I arrive on site. No fees for lunch breaks. The clock stops when I leave the site.

I live in a very large rural community. If I do 12 depositions in a year I have had a busy year. If the local opportunities were bigger, i would become certified.

Large court reporting firms often ask to have original tapes sent to them for processing. They think that should entitle them to a reduced rate for shooting the event. $50-$65/hour is the oft-quoted rate. Nuts to that!

In the past, I would provide the noticing attorney a copy of all video at no additional fee, but the reality is few opposing attorneys will purchase copies. They know they can get copies free through other avenues. So now, all video copies, whether DVD or MPEG1, cost $40. each.

The important thing to know is your video is a legal document, and therefore must conform to the rules of the state court system in which the noticing attorney is based. It would likely be worth it to spend the $50 or so dollars some entrepeneurs offer online for basic hard copy info on doing legal video depositions. It has been a long time since I went down that path, so an internet search should give you a lot of options to review.
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