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Esrom Jayasinghe, long-time NCRA CLVS Council member, steps down

Esrom Jayasinghe, CLVS, recently announced that after more than a decade serving on NCRA’s CLVS Council, he is stepping down to focus more time on new and evolving trends in the profession. Jayasinghe is the owner of Verbatim Video based in Northridge, Calif., which specializes in digitally recorded depositions, trial editing, transcript synchronized to video, courtroom playback, site inspections, and settlement brochures.

Jayasinghe’s career in film was launched when he appeared as a child actor in the Wonderful World of Disney’s production of “Chandar the Black Leopard of Ceylon,” as well as playing the main role in 26 episodes of “Elephant Boy,” the on-screen adaptation of the story by Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling.

Jayasinghe said he has enjoyed his time on the CLVS Council because it allowed him to bring his film production and education experience to the CLVS candidates and members, including his on-set experience gained from working with cinematographers, lighting directors, and production directors during his days of acting.

“Current equipment has many automatic controls that can give operators’ a false sense of security. Just because you see an image on the monitor does not mean it is the correct image to be captured,” he explained. “Many members come to this industry from many walks of life.  Driving home the basics was my contribution.  I tried to focus on protocol of production as it can be easily overlooked.”

A 1981 graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor degree in radio, television, and film, Jayasinghe worked gathering news for a Spanish language television station in Los Angeles followed by stints with Valley Cable and Time Warner Cable. In 1987, he entered the legal video profession when a high school friend of his who had become a court reporter recruited him to serve as his agency’s in-house videographer.

“Esrom guided the CLVS Council from VHS tape to digital files. His passion for quality video was evident to candidates the many times he spoke to them over the past 10 years,” said Brian Clune, CLVS, principal at Mark Associates based in San Francisco, a consulting company that provides services to the legal industry. Clune also serves as a consultant to NCRA’s CLVS Council.

Clune noted that Jayasinghe was also instrumental in providing students with hands-on equipment training, one-on-one attention, and the ability to practice with professional grade equipment. According to Clune, Jayasinghe was known for bringing his own equipment to training sessions so that students could enjoy learning in small groups.

“As a small business owner, he donated many hours to the Council away from his livelihood and earned the gratitude of candidates and the Council for his years of contribution. I will miss him and speak for the entire council when I say we all wish him the best and great success, and especially a swift recovery from the Council,” Clune added.

In 1993, Jayasinghe formed his company Verbatim Video and attributes the many relationships with other professionals he has established to networking with colleagues and peers, including Robert MacTavish, who, he said, is the reason he became a CLVS.

According to Jayasinghe, he and MacTavish found themselves double booked for a deposition and from there, despite being competitors, began to share work to help each other out.

“Robert, who became a CLVS Committee member, suggested I become a CLVS through NCRA and after I did, I was invited to join the committee,” said Jayasinghe. “Over the years I have enjoyed travelling to various locations where events took place, despite that fact that preparation was extra work since many of us travelled with our video production kits for demonstration purposes,” he said.

“We tried to organize at least one sightseeing trip per trip with most of the Council members.  There are many memories of our field trips in Washington, D.C. to museums, the White House, and Secret Service encounters. We would also raid an NCRA employee’s or council member’s residence to bake or barbeque,” he added.

Colleagues and peers attribute Jayasinghe’s hard work and dedication to the development and structure of NCRA’s three-day Legal Video Conference held each year. During the event, Council members offer lectures to new CLVS candidates, oversee the actual production exam, and grade the candidates’ results. In addition, there is also a continuing education track dedicated to current CLVS looking to earn continuing education credits.

“Seeing the committee members three times a year is a lot of fun. We pick up right where we left off.  Everyone slips into each of their roles and helps out any new committee members to get up to speed. Sometimes we have to slip into another’s role when they are unavailable due to a trial or other engagement,” he said.

Jayasinghe said he is happy with the direction that the council has taken, especially with the move away from tape to digital cards, and an expanded curriculum that now includes many other aspects of the legal videography profession.

“Although automation of equipment has made one aspect easier, there are many more variables that one encounters as a videographer.  Encoding, transcoding, synchronization, archiving, editing, and trial presentation now fall in the videographers’ domain,” he explained.

“I plan to do more research in the area of legal video. The science is expanding in this field.  There is a lot to learn from analyzing a security video to watching eye movement of a witness.

I also plan on writing a few articles for the JCR and visiting some of the past committee members, as these relationships formed through the NCRA are lasting ones,” he added.

According to Bruce Balmer, MBA, CIRM, CLVS, CCVS, vice president of CompuScripts Inc., Columbia, S.C., and co-chair of NCRA’s CLVS Council, Jayasinghe’s training in broadcast video combined with his experience in acting and his wonderful personality made him incredibly valuable to both the Council and to the legal videographers-in-training that have passed through its seminars.

“Esrom will be sorely missed by the Council and I’m glad to know he’ll still be out there helping folks understand the business we’re all involved in. You’ve paid your dues. Thank you for your years of service to the CLVS community and to the countless volunteer hours you’ve given to teach new legal videographers how to approach our profession with the utmost level of professionalism,” Balmer said.

“I know that I am a better legal videographer because of his dedication to the CLVS program and his willingness to help me into this profession,” added Gene Betler, CLVS, Huntington, W.V., and co-chair of NCRA’s CLVS Council.