thoughtreactor

Technical and Trial Preparation Services

 

Trial Services

Below you will find a description of all of the trial services I offer. If you are unsure if your needs match any of my services, contact me today so I can get a better understanding of your requirements.

Convert DVDs to digital files

Most interviews and videos recorded by law enforcement agencies and other organizations are burned in DVD format--the same format movie studios use that allow you to insert your Caddyshack disc into any DVD player and watch it instantly. While the DVD format is incredibly popular and versatile, it does have one downside: it is not very portable. Odds are, when you receive a stack of DVDs from a law enforcement agency, each disc will only contain a single video. But what if a particular case has seven interviews, four crime scene videos, and two surveillance videos? You now have a stack of thirteen discs to manage! And when you go before a jury, do you really want to fumble through a stack of discs? Not only does it look unprofessional, it can easily waste the court's time.

By converting your DVDs to digital files (.avi, .mpg, .mkv, .wmv, etc.), you can save these files to your computer, laptop, external hard drive, or even burn them all to a single DVD (or fewer DVDs, depending on size) without sacrificing quality. While presenting your case, instead of fumbling with a stack of DVDs, you can connect your laptop to the projector and simply double-click the video files you need to present. And if you need to edit or redact any of the videos, each DVD will need to be converted to a digital format before it can be edited--most video editing software does not support editing DVD video directly.

In order to convert your DVDs to digital files, simply provide me with the required DVDs, and I will provide you with the digital files in the medium and format you require.

Redact audio and video files

Unbeknownst to most juries, attorneys must follow specific rules and laws when presenting digital evidence like audio, video, and images. In many cases, attorneys for both sides are not allowed to present interviews in their entirety because some statements and information are inadmissible as evidence. In order to follow the rules and laws governing the presentation of evidence, statements made in audio and video interviews may need to be redacted to be admissible as evidence.

By providing me with a copy of the interview (if it is in DVD format, it will need to be converted to a digital format) and the time frames to be redacted, I can provide you with a professionally redacted video in the medium and format you require.

Clip audio and video files into specific, predefined segments

Often times, you do not have a need to present an entire video or interview to the court. Sometimes, all you need to present to jurors are clips of the interview. This can be useful in opening and closing arguments and during cross-examination. With a traditional DVD video, you would need to skip forward and backward to get to the points in the video that are relevant. This method is cumbersome and unprofessional. By creating specific scenes or segments of an interview, you can quickly and easily present important, relevant information to the court. When questioning a witness on the stand, you can easily refute their statement by presenting a specific clip from the witness's original statements.

By providing me with a copy of the interview (if it is in DVD format, it will need to be converted to a digital format) and the time frames of segments to clip, I can provide you with professionally clipped video or audio segments in the medium and format you require. I will name these segments according to your requirements, but the best naming convention is the order of the clip plus the statement made in the clip: 1 - I was in the bathroom when the guy broke the door down.wmv.

Synchronize audio and video files with transcripts

When presenting audio or video segments to the court, it can be difficult for the viewers to hear and comprehend what individuals in the segments are saying. This could be caused by a number of issues ranging from poor audio quality, background noises, or even less-than-standard audio playback equipment in the courtroom itself. By synchronizing an audio or video segment with a transcript, the court is able to both hear and see the statements being made by the individuals in the segments. By synchronizing audio and video segments with transcripts, you can rest assured know viewers will be able to both see and hear the statements made in the segments, increasing their comprehension of the facts being presented. The transcript text is displayed at the bottom of the video, very similar to subtitles and Closed Caption.

By providing me with a copy of the audio or video segment and the certified transcript, I can provide you with professionally synchronized (subtitled) segments in the medium and format you require.

Capture and export surveillance video into a usable, shareable format

In many cases, a major piece of incriminating evidence can be obtained through an organization's surveillance system. These surveillance systems can make or break a case--photographically recording the events as they executed. When surveillance video is this important to a case, then why do surveillance system manufacturers make it so difficult for attorneys to simply view the surveillance video? Surveillance system manufacturers are notorious for creating confusing, complicated, and clunky interfaces to their systems. Additionally, these same manufacturers rarely make it easy (if possible) to export this footage to be played before the court. This, in turn, makes it harder for you to properly and efficiently analyze and document your case.

Luckily, with the right software, it is possible to obtain surveillance video in a usable and friendly format. By providing me with a copy of the surveillance video disc (usually on a CD or DVD), I can export the video into a usable format for easy playback on your computer in before the court.

Convert and combine documents into OCRd PDFs

As an attorney, chances are you have a respectable collection of documents consisting of briefs, contracts, motions, notes, and even evidence. In order to guarantee you will be able to open these years from now without experiencing formatting problems, it is imperative you prepare and preserve your documents for archival purposes. By converting these documents to PDF (more specifically, PDF/A), you can ensure you will be able to open, view, and print your old case files years in the future. When your documents are converted to PDF, their layout, format, and fonts are preserved so regardless of what computer you use to open the documents, they will always look exactly like the originals.

Another benefit of converting your documents to PDF is they can be easily searched across applications. This makes it easy to search for specific text within PDF documents.

By providing me with a copy of your documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, or even paper documents), I can convert these into PDF files ideal for archival purposes.

Extract pages from PDFs into individual pages or documents

If you have received PDFs consisting of multiple documents and would like these broken down into smaller, more manageable documents, then you will need specialized software to accomplish this task. During the extraction process, your documents will be OCRd to make searching them easier, especially if you are searching for specific text within the document. By providing me a copy of the PDF file you would like broken down into smaller documents, I can generate these documents for you quickly and easily.

Embed audio, video, or images into Microsoft PowerPoint presentations

PowerPoint. It is one of the most difficult Microsoft products to master. But it is a necessary evil because the court benefits from being able to both hear and see the facts of a case as they are presented. However, when your presentation consists of several audio and video segments, your PowerPoint presentation can start to get complicated very fast. If you need assistance inserting audio or video clips, or even images, I can help. If you have read this far in my list of trial services, you will also know I can convert your DVDs into digital files which can be easily inserted into your PowerPoint presentations.

By providing me with a copy of your trial presentation materials, I can build the presentation for you; or if you like, I can come to you and assist you with building the presentation. Either way, you will be able to present a professionally built PowerPoint presentation to the court.

 

About Jeff Prater

I have over eight years experience working with office technology, audio/video technology, and workplace automation. From 2005-2011, I worked for the Houston County District Attorney's Office as the Director of Information Technology. While serving the citizens of Houston County, I planned, designed, and developed Georgia's first paperless prosecutor's office... (read more)

Contact Me

You can contact me two ways. Email may be the quicker option depending on my schedule.

Phone: 478.542.1403

Email: (Click here to send me a message)