Camera experience, networking, and some education are the main skills needed to become a court videographer. In addition, there are voluntary certification programs throughout the United States that can enhance a videographer's resume. Many of these workers are self-employed and act as independent contractors, serving the local law community.
The main purpose of a court videographer is to film depositions, or evidential interviews. These depositions can occur in many different locales, from a business office to an individual's home. These different filming locations mean tha the videographer must be very familiar with his or her camera equipment, understanding how to adjust it to the environment to achieve the best possible results.
One route to become a court videographer is to practice filming different events, such as weddings. Your experience with the camera itself, lighting, and focusing will grow with each filming. It is good practice to network with people at events, especially if they are employed by the local courts; you can bring business cards to pass out to prospective clients for future communication.
Once your camera skills have improved, you should visit a nearby courthouse; many lawyers and other law professionals must remain in the hallways during certain court proceedings. When lawyers and other staff leave the courtroom during the proceedings, it can be a good time to pass out business cards to them to generate business. If possible, you can ask for the law professionals' business cards for a follow-up telephone call.
Another pathway to become a court videographer is to attend a college that offers videography courses. In fact, these colleges may offer a certificate of completion or even a degree after specific film courses are passed. As a result, many students find independent film work from networking with college administrators and professors, especially if the school offers particular deposition filming courses; the certificate or degree adds a level of professionalism to the worker's resume, which will often attract clientele.
Videographers are not required to hold a certificate or license to film depositions, but a United States association of videographers offers a certification that ensures that each filmmaker understands his or her impact on the legal system. The group covers the basics of filming and how to demonstrate proper professional manners while working with witnesses and lawyers. Many association members looking to become a court videographer will receive more work after earning this certification.
Additionally, to become a court videographer you must have the ability to write and submit contractual agreements to the lawyer or court professional before accepting a deposition filming project. Some depositions may be canceled unexpectedly; the agreement should note your minimum payment for the day even if the deposition does not take place. Having a mutual understanding about this expectation helps to ensure that a good working relationship is maintained between the videographer and the deposition party.