DES MOINES, IOWA—Court reporters are the eyes and ears of the legal team, capturing detailed transcripts and records of official legal proceedings. The quality and reliability of their work is integral to the judicial process.
The team at Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters prides itself on being Iowa’s largest court reporting firm with a core staff of 10 certified reporters servicing attorneys and legal teams from across the United States from the three Huney-Vaughn offices. The firm was the first in Iowa to computerize, bridging stenography skills with videoconferencing and deposition recording capabilities. To maintain their leading technological edge, Huney-Vaughn tapped Matrox’s Monarch HD to ensure the highest calibre court reporting for their clients.
As part of pre-trial preparations, attorneys request depositions and collect statements from witnesses to trial events and from experts who can contribute testimony to the case. These depositions are oral accounts that are later reproduced as written documents as part of trial discovery.
Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters use the Matrox Monarch HD H.264 appliance for their deposition videos.
Depositions commonly take place outside of the court and are not overseen by the presiding judge for the case. Consequently, the recording quality of the deposition video is tantamount, for there is but a single opportunity to capture a quality video recording, with no chance for retakes or do-overs.
Recognizing this need, Huney-Vaughn sought a solution that offered optimal recording and live streaming capabilities with fail-safe measures to back up each recording for posterity.
EXHIBIT A: STREAMING AND RECORDING SOLUTION
Prior to the changeover, Huney-Vaughn recorded and streamed live content from a laptop with a built-in webcam. This set-up was less than ideal, offering limited ability to zoom in on the speaking witness or expert; moreover, if the streaming stopped or the recording failed because of the laptop not being able to keep up, this would be detrimental to the deposition. Huney-Vaughn sought a reliable appliance with built-in stream and record capabilities, instead of a laptop.
Huney-Vaughn became aware of Matrox’s offerings through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the leading educational and informational resource for members of the legal community; after scrupulous study of available hardware and software options, the firm selected the Matrox Monarch HD streaming and recording appliance. The versatile, cost-efficient solution integrated seamlessly into Huney-Vaughn’s corporate workflow.
With the Monarch HD, videographers can stream and record simultaneously, ensuring the one-time deposition opportunity is secured. High-quality H.264 video is recorded as MP4 or MOV files; the Monarch HD’s deinterlacing and scaling engines produce superior footage with every recording. A file-splitting feature is also available in the Monarch HD. While file splitting is not currently part of their workflow, Huney-Vaughn knows this fail-safe feature is available if they need it in the future.
The device can record digital video files at bitrates up to 30 Mbps (when recording without streaming) before saving the files to an SD card. This back-up system provides the assurance Huney-Vaughn needs; as Andrea Kreutz, manager of IT services, notes, “The last thing you want is to lose the video you’ve worked so hard to record.”
The Monarch HD also generates an H.264-encoded, RMTP-compliant stream at bitrates up to a maximum of 20 Mbps. These streaming capabilities mean attorneys can conduct depositions from remote offices—thus saving on travel time and costs—while the deponents are present at one of the three Huney-Vaughn offices located in Des Moines, Davenport, and Council Bluffs. Depositions are broadcast via LiveDeposition.com, a cloud-based text-and-video streaming service.
The Matrox Monarch HD streaming and recording appliance is a key component of the video installation at Huney-Vaughn Court Reporters.
Monarch HD appliances are installed in Huney-Vaughn conference rooms; on-device buttons allow easy control of start/stop operations. The input to the Monarch HD is the HDMI output of an HDMI Panasonic camcorder, while the Monarch HD’s HDMI output is used to preview on a Delvcam monitor, ensuring the camera signal is framed and focused correctly. The rack-mounted QSC TouchMix-8 mixer handles the audio from the four Lavalier and two conference microphones situated in each room. The audio mixer output is sent to the Monarch HD’s audio input.
A compact yet powerful appliance, the Monarch HD makes life simpler for court videographers, who need only to configure the Monarch HD once; afterwards, with a single push of the button, the Monarch HD is streaming and recording to pre-specified encoding parameters.
With the Monarch HD in place, Huney-Vaughn makes a solid case for their position as an industry leader in court recording. High-quality video recordings are integral for deposition testimonies, and the results obtained with the Monarch HD streaming and recording appliance are unparalleled. The older laptop and webcam setup was limited, a situation greatly improved by the Monarch HD and its ability to dial in the quality of recordings, as videographers can now control professional video camera and equipment, producing the clear, well-framed deposition videos Huney-Vaughn require. Live streaming content means increased efficiency and cost reduction when attorneys can conduct and view depositions remotely.
“The Monarch HD is the first dedicated streaming/recording appliance our firm has used and we could not be happier,” Kreutz said. “Its installation was simple to integrate into our conference room environment. Most importantly for a busy firm, we were live in less than 15 minutes. The jury is in: we have found a perfect streaming and recording solution at an attractive price point.”