After producing several accident reconstruction videos in my career as a video forensic expert, I have made observations about what works when we recreate the accident in video form for court. I would like to share some tips with you so that you can avoid problems and best capture your external environment and bring it in to court.
Accident reconstruction video brings the accident site into the courtroom so the jury can see what the site looks like and how the accident occurred. Here are four tips to help you bring the best video into the courtroom:
1) Try not to add demonstrative features to your video, like graphics or animation, without a reference point or an accurate scale. These demonstrative characteristics, especially animation, diminish the authenticity of the video footage.
2) Shoot both wide shots and tight shots of the scene. When designing your shot sheet, make sure to include every angle and perspective so the judge and jury feel like they were actually there and actually witnessed the accident.
3) Always record more footage than you will need for your accident recreation video presentation.
4) Keep original source files with all original footage on them so the opposing counsel can examine and authenticate them.
I have had cases where the opposing counsel had video recorded that was not used in the accident reconstruction video on DVD. When the missing footage was discovered, it was detrimental to their case. In this situation, the accident reconstruction video worked against the opposing counsel.