Law Office Computing Verdict: Synchron is recommended to attorneys.

Law Office Computing (Oct/Nov ’04)
Verdict: Synchron is recommended to attorneys.

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by Brett Burney, the legal practice support
coordinator for Thompson Hine

If you are not videotaping your depositions these days, then you are not taking full advantage of the available technology. Judges and juries like to watch someone talk, rather than read from a transcript. This technology was out of reach a few years ago, but it’s reasonably accessible these days with offerings from companies such as Synchron Voice and Video.
Synchron offers several services to help you prepare your video depositions for trial. Synchron can synchronize the video and the text transcript of your deposition together, which allows you to create persuasive video clips to show a judge or jury.
There are a multitude of studies that prove the effectiveness of using multimedia in the courtroom. Today’s society, from which juries are formed, is conditioned for TV and flashy presentations. They appreciate a good show and get bored quickly with tedious documents and toneless deposition transcripts. Judges and juries expect more in today’s tech-savvy world.
One of the easiest areas where an attorney can gain a multimedia advantage is through videotaping depositions. Hire a videographer for your next deposition, in addition to a court reporter, and request the video in digital format as opposed to the old analog VHS format. The standard format for digital video today is MPEG-1. A few days after your deposition is over, you will receive an official version of the transcript in ASCII format (a text file) and the digital video on a CD or DVD.
Synchron can then help you go from video depositions to maximize your multimedia experience.
The goal is to get the words of the official transcript synchronized to the video of the same deposition. The advantages of having this done are tremendous. When you get these two files synchronized, you
can import them into a trial presentation application such as Verdict Systems’ Sanction or InData’s TrialDirec-tor and simply highlight sections of the text transcript to create video clips.
The synchronization is done at Synchron’s facilities after you send the company your transcript and video file. You download a free utility called “SyncUploader” from Synchron’s Web site to transport your files to Synchron, which will send the finished synchronized transcripts back to you over a secure, encrypted connection. This utility also will process your video so only the audio portion of the file is uploaded. This really can save you valuable Internet bandwidth and time.
Once Synchron has your text transcript and the audio from your video, it works its magic. The company’s founder has his roots in voice recognition software and decided it would be a good area to apply his craft. The work is done by computers (which makes it affordable), but you always can elect to have it proofed by a human for a few dollars more.
AutoSync checks for completed jobs to send back and forth, but once the transcript and media is uploaded, you don’t need to keep SyncUploader on. Customers can choose to receive an e-mail notifying them of the job completion, and SyncUploader can be launched at a later time to receive the synchronized transcripts. Once Synchron is done with your video and transcript, it delivers the completed files right back to your computer, in whatever format you requested (Sanction, TrialDirector, LiveNote Technologies’ LiveNote, etc.)
I found the service to be effortless. I launched AutoSync, put in my username and password and was welcomed with a screen asking for my first upload.
I found a video of a recent deposition along with the accompanying text transcript and hit send. The AutoSync box showed me the progress as it uploaded my transcript and created an audio file of my video. At that point, all I had to do was wait for the file to be finished. Sure enough, it was ready by the next day. Synchron tries to stick to a 24-hour turnaround and can handle a large number of jobs at one time.
When I launched AutoSync again, it told me a completed file was ready to download. When the download was done, I clicked a button that opened the folder where the files were stored. Since I use Sanction, all I had to do was drag the appropriate file from that folder into Sanction and viola — I had a fully synchronized video file.
I found the synchronization to be amazingly accurate, although I did have to tweak my individual clips to get them just right. I have to do this anyway, regardless of what method I use to synchronize the text and video. As long as Synchron can get me an accurate synchronization I can work with, the savings are fantastic. I highly recommend using Synchron for your next multimedia adventure. The folks at Synchron are helpful and will respond to any questions you have.

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