CALI Conference 2008: Video Production and Ongoing Transformation in Legal Education

Law schools traditionally utilized video for the instructional needs of students in such courses as trial advocacy and depositions. However, a near two decade migration of video technology from an analog format to a digital technology has had profound impact on the way educators and professionals think about video services. No longer just a recording service, law media departments have transformed into a serious production operation offering more creative ways to generate and use video content in legal education and other related applications. With the arrival of affordable production, postproduction and distribution technologies there also comes the corresponding opportunity for the production of a quality product beyond the mediocre recordings of the past. The result is the expansion of services into new areas that include support of legal documentary filmmaking classes, interactive teaching with video technology, distance education, law school marketing and conference and event coverage. This has inevitably resulted in the need for better trained personnel with the necessary skills for scripting, producing and editing materials for law school applications. It has also resulted in practical analyses of how the service is used, and how best to make cost effective use of it in the near future.

This presentation will cover the practical aspects of setting up and maintaining a law school video operation with special attention given to technique and the use of affordable technologies to create a quality project. Part of the discussion will include methods of video distribution, such as via streaming or recorded physical format, along with the criteria for selection. In addition, mention will be made of the challenges of managing service growth within the reality of dwindling budgetary resources.

Examples of productions will be integrated into the program.

Nefeli Soteriou
Associate for Insructional Production Support
soteriou at buffalo dot edu

Nefeli Soteriou is our wonderful video production professional at UB Law.  We created the position and hired Nefeli in response to growing demand for high-end video production both for instruction and law school promotion.

Nefeli was trained in film and digital arts.  First thing: know your audience.  As this is her first CALI conference, she doesn’t know her audience yet 🙂  So she decided to hide behind her camera and interview some of her colleagues at UB Law.

Mobile production setup: video camera with monopod, wireless mic.

Demo: A variety of applications of video at UB Law.

Clip: Joe Gerken (now UB Law Reference Librarian, in 1986 a clinical professor) did a mock video of a complete criminal trial.  Law students played the roles in the video.  Played the video back in class, students were expected to make evidentiary objections, with Joe as the judge.  Used the video for three semesters.

Clips: 2008 clips of Mediation and Trial Technique.  Now we collaborate with theater students.

Clip: Law Librarian/spokesmodel Karen Spencer: orientation to research in the Law Library.

Clip: UB Law Clinical Programs (still photos with voiceover).

Production method: Lightweight, mobile equipment that can be operated by one skilled operator.

More high-end production: Professor Teri Miller’s documentary project, Encountering Attica.

Debate about consumer-type vs. professional-quality videocameras.  Nefeli likes high-end cameras.

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