We have a question from a YesLaw video synch software user. “Last week a court reporter asked about timestamps and I told her that either way was fine. But is there a preferred condition? She’s a stickler…”
Let’s start with background. Time-of-day stamps, or timestamps as some reporters refer to them, are an indication of the time within a transcript and not dependant on whether it is a video deposition. The time can show up on the right or the left of the page, before the line numbers or right justified after a line of testimony.
Time-of-day can be helpful for attorneys when looking for testimony, they have a reference to help them find a certain exchange by using the universal interface of time on the clock. Although not precise the time-of-day will get an attorney into proximity of the line of questioning they are searching for, but only if they noted the time of day that a question was asked during the deposition.
Also time-of-day stamps were used for a short period, prior to the release of auto-synch, for the synching of the transcript to video files. With the prevalence of auto-synch software being used for video to transcript synching any request for time-of-day stamps is now no longer for the purpose of video to text synching. The use of time-of-day indications may still be helpful to attorney’s requesting only a printed transcript.
Now back to the question. When the videographer said that “either way is fine” (with time-of-day stamps or not). The consideration is if the attorney requests a time-of-day indication on the transcript. For the purpose of synching the text to the video, the time-of-day stamps only complicate the process. This is why YesLaw strips the timestamps off every transcript before performing the synch process. They can easily be added back to the display of transcript information through a simple click of a box. With the simple YesLaw process of selecting timestamps for display in the transcript, the presence of time-of-day indications is only limited by whether the court reporter provides them within their ASCII file.
Be aware that time-of-day stamps may cause problems with some litigation support software. The problems we have experienced include the time-of-day clutters the margin before the line numbers and may sometimes run right into the line numbers making the transcript hard to read. Also time-of-day stamps may cause software to improperly number the pages or improperly indicate the lines per page. This occurs because the time is indicated by numbers and so are page and lines. Depending on the placement of the time-of-day number text, the transcript formatting function may falsely pick-up the time-of-day as a line or page indication.
In conclusion, for YesLaw software the use of time-of-day stamps gives the attorney the option of ordering a printed transcript with the time displayed. The time-of day will not disrupt the synching process or the creation of a YesLaw PDF transcript. With current technology the time-of-day stamps have very little value in creating a synchronized transcript. Although time-of-day may be helpful in the printed transcript for the clients that are familiar with using the information. So, time-of-day stamps are for printed transcripts where time is used for the purpose of finding testimony. It no longer has any value in video-to-text synch requirements but they will not interfere with the synchronization. Therefore “either way” is a valid answer from a videographer, as it depends on what the client wants in their printed version of the transcript.