If pictures are a worth a thousand words, videos can be priceless. There are very few media better at evoking emotion in jurors’ minds than a well-made video. Videos are an efficient way for trial attorneys to establish credibility, communicate a story, support a narrative, all the while breaking the monotony of a presentation. And technology makes it even easier to place videos seamlessly into your opening or closing PowerPoint presentation. With a few mouse clicks, you can have a multimedia presentation featuring video that can be a powerful tool to use in your trial.
Why Videos Are Useful for Trials
Throughout litigation, videos are used most often for video depositions. While transcripts are readily available for jurors – it’s the video that will leave an impression in jurors’ minds. Video can lend credibility to an expert witness, or add a sympathetic connection to the plaintiff or humanize the defendant. By utilizing videos in a PowerPoint presentation, an attorney can add an emotional component not easily replicated with just words and deposition text.
How to Add a Saved Video from Your Computer
For courtroom trial graphics, I usually recommend inserting a video that is saved to the computer you will have on hand in the courtroom. This eliminates the problem of needing Internet access during your presentation, but it does make the PowerPoint file size larger. PowerPoint recommends that you use mp4 videos for the best playback experience, although it does support other forms of video.
To insert a video that is saved to your computer, go to the “INSERT” tab, followed by the “Video” icon. Select “Video on My PC” (See Figure 1) and browse to where your video file is located. Select your file and click the “Insert” button (see Figure 2). Your video is now embedded and ready for playback in Slide Show mode.
How to Make Quick Video Edits
The ability to make quick video edits within the PowerPoint presentation can be a useful tool for the trial lawyer. There may be an occasion in which certain parts of a video could be ruled inadmissible in court, so having a quick way of editing the video gives the trial team the flexibility it needs to respond to the unpredictable at trial. These tools can be found under the “VIDEO TOOLS, PLAYBACK” tab (see Figure 3) when the video is selected. There, you can trim the video’s start and finish time, or bookmark a certain point in the video. While these tools can’t replace full professional editing software, they allow trial teams to respond appropriately as trial evolves.
How to Format the Video Testimony in PowerPoint
While the video inserted into the PowerPoint presentation is now playable, you can polish the look of the video presentation to make it more professional. Once the video has been added, you can make it smaller or larger by clicking on the video and dragging the corners. You can add borders by selecting the video and then clicking on the “FORMAT” tab (see Figure 4).
For a quick and easy viewing presentation that looks polished and professional, make the video full screen and change the background to black by right-clicking on the slide background and selecting Format Background (See Figures 5 & 6) and selecting black.
You can also select what image still you would like to show as the video preview image (aka “thumbnail”). Press play on the video and pause at the image still you want as the preview image. With the video still selected, click on the “FORMAT” tab. Click on the “Poster Frame” icon and click on “Current Frame” (see Figure 7). Your preview image should now be set. Depending on your preference, you can also make your video start automatically when you come to the slide or you have the option to have the video start on a click. You can set that in the “PLAYBACK” tab (see Figure 8).
Why It Is Important to Conduct a Final Test Run
Test run your presentation in Slide Show mode and tweak as necessary. Remember, it’s always a good practice to test your videos in an environment as close as possible to the real environment you will be presenting in so there are no surprises.
It is easier than you might think to add a multimedia dimension to your litigation trial graphics, which can be a very effective tool in helping your narrative come alive. Let us know how we can help you as you prepare your trial graphics and multimedia presentations. Our goal is to help make your presentations not only look professional, but also keep jurors’ attention.
By: Amanda Scheid – Design Consultant