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Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?

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Ned Miller
Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:12:10 pm

I am a DP with a HPX300 and will be filming a Day-in-the-Life cinema verite documentary this Thursday of an unfortunate child who is now totally paralyzed due to malpractice. I have done quite a few of these over the years with video (betacam & DV) but now am wondering if I can go tapeless. I am certified by the American Guild of Court Videographers and they hammered into us the importance of what's called "Chain of Custody", meaning the opposing side can demand to see the "originals".

So...before I bring the issue up with the attorney client I was wondering if anyone on this forum has had experience with this touchy issue. I imagine when I tell the client about transferring from a P2 card and then reformatting his solution will be to keep the P2 cards, until I tell him the cost. I don't think they will want something this important stored on a hard drive for a couple of years, especially when the material on the hard drive can not be considered "original", can it? This seems like a benefit of Sony's XDCAM disk system I guess.

When I have done litigation support using stills they bought and kept the flash memory card, but those are nothing compared to P2.

Thanks for your advice.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 2:29:27 am

Well it's a 1:1 digital clone so I'd make the argument that if you make a hard drive transfer with verification it's in fact more 'original' than any analog tape dub could be. Or you charge them the cost of the P2 card and give them that- but that's going to make your services cost-prohibitive I'm thinking. Best would be sign off from the attorneys involved.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera! Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
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Ned Miller
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:39:19 am

Hi Noah,

Thanks for your opinion, which is the way I also think, but it is based on logic, whereas litigation is based on "The Law". I'm trying to find out if The Law would consider the P2 card "the original" and if so it would be cost prohibitive. I think it may be safer to just shoot on old betacam. Since it is an all day handheld shoot I was hoping to get by with the much lighter 300. At least with beta there's an original to keep and label. I know from doing stills for litigation the original card is inviolate, it MUST be preserved, as we did with tapes, so it seems just mentioning that the "original" was erased will open a can of worms.

I also have a post on the Yahoo Legal Video Group site, but they're probably still shooting in DV or HDV so they may not know what tapeless means. They'd have no reason to upgrade to HD for their client base. By the way, for any knowledgeable folks thinking of responding I forgot to say I am in Illinois because state law matters.

Best regards,

Ned


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Steve Eisen
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:01:05 am

I have to agree with Noah. I would contact an attorney. Not all laws are set in stone. Hard drives today are at an all time low cost per gigabyte. Burning the data to Blu-Ray and backing up to LTO/DLT are also reasonable options.



Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Noah Kadner
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 5:44:20 am

Yeah I doubt highly the law has bothered to catch up specifically with P2 cards but that's why I recommended discussing with the attorneys involved. In this case it's less about what the law specifically states than what the parties agree to accept- isn't it?

If there's a doubt, yeah go with a tape. No reason to blow a gig over something where they probably are not caring what it's shot on so long as they follow the letter of the law.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera! Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Call Box Training now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, and Panasonic DVX100.


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gary adcock
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 3:15:12 pm

[Noah Kadner] "Well it's a 1:1 digital clone so I'd make the argument that if you make a hard drive transfer with verification it's in fact more 'original' than any analog tape dub could be."

This is a sticky one, because in some states the custody only allows for "Pristine" copies to be used as evidence.

in Illinois an LTO tape backup of the original P2 Cards (or any tapeless media) is considered as an "archive" master if the LTO tape was sealed and then handled under the chain of custody procedures.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Tracy Peterson
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 4:17:48 pm

One workflow that I use is to run the P2 off to DVCPROHD tape. That could work for you if you need physical media for the firm. I agree that you should verify with your legal client. Might just be cheaper to buy a 2k $ HDV camera. I doubt legal clients care more about video quality than they do following proper procedure.

Tracy Peterson
http://www.onetwomany.com


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Ned Miller
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 6:33:43 pm

One thing I do know is not to pose a question to an attorney client that I don't have the answer to. They look at us as their outside consultant/expert so I need to find out if any case law in IL is relevant to erasing the media the original event was shot on.

I have a post into the LinkedIn Litigation Specialists group and the Yahoo Legal Video group so perhaps someone on the legal side can let us video folks know what's up. I do know that in depositions (which I don't do because there's no money in it) they often record direct to hard drives, but I do not know if that hard drive is then considered the archival master and they never can erase it.

When digital still was first used in litigation support there was a big hulabaloo about how easy it was to manipulate digital imagery undetected. And that is why I am wondering if erasing a P2 is considered "destroying the original", even though we all know it's 1:1.

My gut says to play it safe, record tape like I always have and do more research re: IL case law because if there ever is a problem with a law firm, look out! I will let you all know what I find out. Thanks!


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Steve Eisen
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:03:26 pm

You have the option to connect a DVCAM deck (DSR-11) via firewire to the HPX-300 and record to tape.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Ned Miller
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:08:14 pm

Yes, but Day-in-the-Life documentaries are handheld all over so I can't be tethered. Might as well go beta. One nice thing is there is no audio allowed.

Thanks


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Ned Miller
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:09:46 pm

Got the answer! From the folks at the Yahoo Legal Video Group, seems everyone who responded on this thread that a digital copy is just as good are correct, in civil litigation. Criminal it would be a different matter erasing the "original" but it seems Chain of Custody pertains to criminal.

So thanks everyone for your two cents worth!

Ned


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Steve Eisen
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:46:40 pm

Glad you got your answer.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Nate Stephens
Re: Can TAPELESS be used for litigation support video?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 7:10:08 pm

I video tape a bunch of legal continuing education training. From what I have learned the key words to use when ever shooting legal video is "full disclosure" If you include signed/dated testimony to what is on the tape, disk, or hard drive, your video will be valuable (to one side or the other) in court. Testify in writing to what is on the media and how it was created or produced. This will allow the judge to have the last word and for your lawyer client to properly present your video.

And save you the headache of false law suits.

FCP, Mac Pro, Mac Book Pro, HPX500, HVX200, Betacam, Dvcam
Write for the Edit, Shoot for the Edit, Edit.....KISS Principle


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