Videotaped depos and listening/adding every false start/stutter

Okay.   This has been a question I've wanted to ask for a long time:  Do you listen to every word of the audio and put in all the stutters and false starts in a videotaped depo, or have your scopist do it?  I'm not talking words you missed; I'm talking the stutters and actual false starts.


I tell you, I cringe when my scopist puts in all the false starts and stutters.  I know they're supposed to be in there when it's a videotaped depo, I guess, but I just think it looks so bad. 

She'll put in "the -- the -- the --" and I know maybe that's how it's supposed to be done - I'm not faulting her - but I take that stuff out.  No attorney that hires a court reporting agency wants to see that in their transcript as to what they said; just looks terrible. 

I do put in the false starts if the job is videotaped but not if it's not videotaped.  Example:


Q     When did  -- who brought this issue to your attention?


What do you do?  What's your practice?  I know the answers are going to be all across the board on this one I bet.

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Kelli, this is a GREAT question and as a scopist, I read everyone's replies with great interest.  It's always an issue on my end, how much is too much to add back into the record without mucking it up so it's unreadable?  From my experience, in the earlier years when video depositions were less common, it was get every stutter and utterance.  Now that videos are becoming routine, I've seen a more relaxed attitude surface to leave out the stutters but pick up false starts and okays and you knows.  I also take into consideration the cadence of the speaker and put in stutters where it seems appropriate. So as a scopist, these are my thoughts to throw into the mix.

Kelli, The first thing I decide is:  Is this transcript going to be synced with the audio for trial?  If it is, I put every sound in as I'm writing and what I miss, I have my scopist at fill in the blanks.


If it's not going to be synced I do the best I can and so does my scopists.

Hope this helps.


One more thing I love about being an official is not having to deal with videos!  But if I did, I think I would not do it myself.  I worry about my job and let the audio person worry about his, the syncing. I did read on another forum that the stutters are not necessary for syncing.  

As I also do scoping, I have been told by one or two reporters to put in even partial words. That made me want to pull my hair out.  But I just think it's important to know before the scoping is commenced how the reporter prefers to handle it.

Hope all is well with you, Kelli.


There's no way I leave in stutters like "I -- I -- I." That's been my practice before video and it is now. Video is not the boss of me! :D Seriously, I always cringe when I see transcripts or answers that endorse this kind of thing. I personally think it makes all of us look bad, no better than those awful 911 transcripts you see that were done from recordings, so that we look no better than recordings. We need to distinguish ourselves from recordings, IMO, for job security; and this is one way we can do so: show we're intelligent humans and can listen through cr*p. (OTOH, I once had a case involving alleged brain injury and stuttering, and it was gettable enough that I did take down each and every godawful "I," and I did include it; therefore, of course, I also had to include each and every stutter from the attorney, to be fair. But that's unusual.) I do keep in false starts if they are different words, such as your "When did -- who brought" example.

And who cares if it doesn't sync up exactly. The videographer can take care of that for the very specifically designated portion that is ever going to be used in trial anyway.

Woot woot, Lisa O.  Good point.  :)

"Video is not the boss of me" should be blazoned across every laptop in every video deposition taken.  There may be an odd attorney out there as Christi mentioned, but generally, transcripts are to be readable and useful.  None of this was ever an issue before, and it shouldn't be now.  Why is it OUR job to make the VIDEOGRAPHER's job easier?  It isn't.  Plus technology is such today that every utterance doesn't need to be there to sync.

Video is not the boss of me either!

It is now an old wives' tale that you need to put in every stutter, word, syllable for the video to sync up.  The video sync software has come a long way from when we all first started syncing video and transcripts.  You can put blurbs in for discussions that are obviously off the record but the videographer doesn't go off or for a reporter clarification or extraneous talk about does anyone have a stapler, etc.  The videographer can sync it all up.  There is no need for the verbal diarrhea to be in a transcript and make us look ridiculous.

While I do understand the reasons some put it in, this is good information. I especially love the last sentence.  For someone who doesn't have to deal with video, I seem to have a lot to say, huh?  :)

Thank you, Lisa!!  My sentiment exactly.

Another point is I ask for clarification sometimes when I'm not certain I heard something correctly.  I NEVER put myself on the record even if the job is videotaped.  I've seen reporters put themselves on the record when there is a heavy-accent witness and it's a disaster.  The reporter is on the record more than anyone else in the room.  Attorneys don't pay this type of money to see a reporter asking for clarification all day long. 

You might all think I'm crazy but I know what I'm talking about.  I never get a call on my transcripts.  Attorneys pay major bucks for this record; I actually give them the record and not me blabbering on about clarifications.  Just put in the correct info and get it right and give them what they want.

I agree about putting yourself on the record unnecessarily.  I also don't understand the blurb (Reporter clarification.)  Who cares?  Ask your question and put what you need to in the record.  

I like (Reporter clarification) because sometimes if you're trying to confirm something you heard, the witness actually starts an explanatory thought instead of repeating what you're asking for, so in a video deposition (since I don't want to put myself directly on the record) it helps explain the subject shift when that happens.


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