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NCRA Legal Video Conference wins big in Las Vegas

IMG_3478The 2014 NCRA Legal Video Conference was held this past Oct. 17-19 in Las Vegas, Nev., showcasing both the CLVS Seminar as well as continuing education designed specifically for legal videographers.

The event kicked off on Friday, Oct. 17, with the Certified Legal Video Specialist Seminar, the first step to earning the CLVS certification. Faculty members Brian Clune, CLVS, San Anselmo, Calif.; Joe Cerda, CLVS, Dallas, Texas; Bruce Balmer, CLVS, Columbia, S.C.; and Gene Betler, CLVS, Huntington, W.Va., familiarized the attendees with the basics of legal video depositions and how the videographer fits into the puzzle of the proceedings. “It’s so important that videographers learn the proper way to take a deposition and work with the court reporter,” said Betler, CLVS Council Co-chair. “When reporters work with a CLVS, they know they are working with a trained individual, so we take our job as educators very seriously.”

Day two welcomed already certified CLVSs seeking continuing education for their credentials to the venue along with those attending the ongoing CLVS seminar. An entirely new track of advanced topics was created for these seasoned videographers and included a discussion on the future of HD in video depositions, how to deal with multiple inputs during a depositions, and video services beyond a deposition setting.

One of the major challenges of the Legal Video Conference is to ensure that both experienced and new videographers are receiving the right level of education. While the continuing education track covered advanced topics, faculty member Maureen Walsh, CLVS, Tallahassee, Fla. created a new introductory version of the video chain, by introducing the concept with props, a beach ball, and commonsense stories. “I try to make things entertaining so people will stay engaged. Using visuals to explain thingsIMG_3492 is also part of my training. Everybody on the Council has his or her strength,” said Walsh. She continued: “The beach ball and my other props seemed like obvious ways of illustrating complex technical concepts. And they worked! One attendee told me the video chain session scared her most of all because it was so technical, but she left understanding everything.”

While Walsh was covering the introductory version of the topic in one room, Balmer, another faculty member and the CLVS Council Co-chair, was next door giving a high-level advanced session. Walsh explained, “It is important for us to acknowledge and address those different levels, so that there is something there for everybody. I teach the fundamentals, and Bruce gets into more complicated aspects of what we do. I tell people that I teach basic math, while Bruce goes into trigonometry.” Other introductory topics of the day were a primer in civil procedure taught by Steve Crandall, CLVS, Seattle, Wash., how to do the paperwork of a videographer, taught by Jason Levin, CLVS, Washington, D.C., and how to deal with post-production issues, taught by Clune.

The final day wrapped-up with the CLVS program’s signature hands-on workshop. With instructors Levin and LaJuana Pruitt, CLVS, Bradenton, Fla., at the helm, attendees had an opportunity to gain practical knowledge of a deposition set-up. “The Sunday hands-on session is a chance to explore the video deposition process at the ground level,” says Levin, “We tailor our instruction to beginners new to the industry, seasoned reporters who want to learn more about video, and professional videographers who may have years of experience in broadcast or event videography but lack the knowledge of how to put their IMG_3464_Bskills to use in the legal environment.”

While the CLVS prospects were receiving their hands-on instruction, the continuing education track focused heavily on advanced topics, centering on how to stream realtime text and video with Crandall and how to use TMPGEnc/Video Master Works 5 with Balmer. The afternoon sessions ended with a two-part marketing series led by Council members Clune, Don Cely, CLVS, Greenville, N.C., and Sara Wood, NCRA Membership & Marketing Director. The sessions focused on everything from building relationships at a deposition to creating strategic marketing plans for services, leaving attendees with a way to promote their newly-learned skills.

While educational sessions were running in the seminar rooms, the CLVS Production Exam was taking place down the hall. Comprised of a 30-minute mock-deposition, test candidates had to demonstrate not only their technical proficiency, but also their ability follow CLVS standards during the proceedings. Continuing this year was the “experienced track” for testing, which allowed legal videographers who could show experience in the legal video field to take their practical exam immediately following the seminar.

As the event came to a close, attendees from both the continuing education track and the hands-on training came together for a final Q&A panel, allowing the participants to get their final questions in before heading home. When new Council member Cely was asked about his first time as a faculty member, he said, “I was so thrilled at experiencing everything, from meeting prospective CLVS candidates to spending time with experienced NCRA/CLVS Council members. I can’t say enough of how positive an experience this has been. I returned with aggressive ideas for marketing, which our best client reflected to my boss the very day I got back! I couldn’t be moIMG_3475_Bre excited about future prospects than I am right now.”

Learn more about the CLVS program
The next CLVS Seminar will be offered in conjunction with NCRA’s TechCon to be held April 10-12 in Denver, Colo. To learn more about the program, visit To find a CLVS in your area, visit

Special thank you to the CLVS Council:

Gene Betler (co-chair), Bruce Balmer (co-chair), Mike Bailey, Steve Crandall, Joe Cerda, Don Cely, Brian Clune, Jason Levin, Marueen Walsh, and LaJuana Pruitt.