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Practical Technology in the Courtroom

by David Perry

The following paper was presented by David L. Perry of Perry & Haas, Attorneys at Law. at the Attorneys Information Exchange Technology Seminar August 7-8, 2000 in Denver.

What to Do with the Technology?
Low Tech Is Not Dead

Practical Considerations

Appendix: Full Courtroom Set up

The most important thing about technology for trial lawyers is to develop practical and usable technology which supports the presentation of evidence, but does not overwhelm or distract from the evidence being presented. During trial, the technological medium is not the message. It must serve to carry the message, to present the evidence, efficiently and unobtrusively. Properly used, technology can be a tremendous benefit, allowing the lawyer to present evidence in a way that jurors can more easily understand, and adding a visual power to the presentation. Poorly handled, technology can be disruptive and distracting. The purpose of this paper is to present our experience with the practical use of technology to assist in courtroom presentation, and pretrial development.

In our practice, we use technology in the courtroom primarily to assist in the presentation of documents, videos or other forms of demonstrative evidence. We have developed a system with which the trial lawyer is comfortable, and which we try to keep as unobtrusive as possible. The system is intended to allow the trial lawyer maximum flexibility to present any item of evidence, at any time, with maximum impact.

In summary, our system is to display documents, videos, "key quote" excerpts from depositions, photographs, X-rays and images of small objects on a large "home- movie" screen which has been positioned in the courtroom so that the judge, jurors and attorneys can see the display. We usually do not use small "satellite" monitors for judge, jurors or any attorneys because we are usually able to position the projection screen in the courtroom where it can be seen by everyone.

For documents, we usually place the documents under an Elmo stand, which captures the image in a video camera, routes the image through a projector which, in turn, projects it onto the projection screen. (Documents may also be displayed using Trial Director software, but we generally do not display them in that way. I will explain why below.) The Elmo may also be used to project X-rays, small three-dimensional objects, hand-drawn notes, photographs, etc.

For short video clips and "key quotes" from depositions, we store the images in a computer, and route the image through the projector to the screen. The computer may also be used to store photographs and other still images. Individual selections are made from the computer via a bar code and bar code reader which will be explained in more detail below.

For longer video presentations, such as an entire deposition, we use a VCR. The VCR may also be used as a backup for short video clips, although it is more cumbersome and is not the vehicle of choice. We do place the clips on video tape and offer the video as the actual exhibit, so that the image being played through the computer is actually a duplicate of that on the exhibit video tape.

The screen can be any standard home movie type projection screen. This is known as a "front-projection" screen, in which the projector is in front of the screen. The projector must be placed squarely in front of the screen to avoid "keystoning," a distortion of the image which results from the projected image hitting the screen from one side, within a range of distance which will be prescribed by the projector. The distance between the projector and the screen will affect the size of the image. If space does not allow for front projection, it is possible to save space by going to a rear projection system, which is more complicated and requires a different screen and different setup with the projector. Our screen may be either mounted on a tripod or hung on a wall; there are screens available with other types of mounting system.

In practice, we need to gain access to the courtroom in advance to take measurements and place equipment for a trial run, and to obtain the court's agreement to the equipment placement. It is important to place the screen so that the important images which we wish to show the jury can be easily seen from every position in the jury box, and it is best to verify the setup by looking at the projected images from the jury box during a trial run of the equipment setup.

We do not use any type of television or computer monitor system. First, the projector screen is larger than even the largest commercially available rear projection television systems, and thus provides a better view for the jury. Second, the resolution (sharpness) of television is not adequate to effectively display typewritten documents. As technology develops, the high definition flat panel TV systems recently coming to market may prove to be a useful alternative, but, at present, they are both far more expensive and smaller than the screen system which we are using.

The heart of our system is the projector, which is a Sharp LCD Projector Model # XG-E3500U. At the time it was purchased, it was the brightest available (1300 lumens) which allows the projection of most images on the screen, easily readable and viewable across the courtroom, without dimming the lights.

In selecting a projector, the three critical elements to consider are:

1. Brightness
2. Resolution or definition
3. Availability of multiple inputs

For many years, front projection was greatly limited by its inability to project a picture which could be seen clearly and easily across a fully lighted room. Picture quality washed out dramatically unless courtroom lights were dimmed. Dimming the lights, when permitted, nevertheless remains an intrusive distraction when required repeatedly during trial.

The 1300 lumens of brightness in our Sharp model has proven completely satisfactory for courtroom use without dimming the lights. For long presentations, such as a deposition which may run for a substantial time, we may dim the lights for improved picture quality (this also has the advantage of focusing the jury's attention on the picture), but, for general use, reducing the lights is not necessary.

Newer projector models are available with as much as 2200 lumens brightness, and improvement continues. It would be advisable to test any projector before purchase or use either in the courtroom in which it will be used, or in a fully lighted office setting.

The second major issue is resolution. The sharpness or definition of the picture is determined by the number of lines of resolution which are being projected. While the traditional TV-video format is sufficient for viewing of still and motion pictures, it will not allow reading a line of ordinary typewritten text when projected so that the entire line is visible in the screen. In order to read typewriting, the camera must "zoom in" to where only half or less of the line is visible, which, in my opinion, is not adequate for routine courtroom use.

The projector which we use handles the XGA format, which projects a high resolution picture. It is combined with an Elmo which, in turn, captures a high definition image and sends it to the projector; between the two, an ordinary typed document can be displayed, from margin to margin, with a resolution that allows it to be read from across a room from the large screen.

Finally, the projector must be able to accept inputs from numerous input devices and be able to switch seamlessly from one to another. Our projector includes a multi-scan RGB input which accepts signals from SXGA, XGA, SVGA, VGA and Mac Compatible computers without the need for any additional hardware, and it accepts connections from at least two data input devices and two additional video input devices simultaneously.

In our system, the projector is connected to three input devices:

1. A computer (data 1),
2. The Elmo (Video 1)
3. A VCR (Video 2)

In court, it is not uncommon to want to switch instantly, without the distraction, from an image being displayed from one source to another; i.e. from video to computer to Elmo. The projector can be operated with a remote control which switches instantly from one source to another by pushing a single button; when the remote is pointed at the screen from almost anywhere in the courtroom, the signal from the remote will bounce off the screen back to the projector which will switch the projector input, so that we can immediately switch a picture from VCR to Elmo to computer, and back.

The computer is used to provide instant access to any number of still images and to short video clips. There is no practical limit to the number of still images which may be stored in the computer. These still images may include literally anything that is a still image ö photographs, key quotes from depositions, drawings, etc. They can include internal corporate documents, police reports and the like, but, for reasons which will be explained below regarding Trial Director, we do prefer to display those documents through the Elmo. Video requires far more disc space than still images and the computer is not practical to display any except short video clips; however, for excerpts from crash tests, and other short video segments of a few seconds to a minute or so, the computer can be very effective. Depending on the size of the disc drive, the computer can hold 20 minutes or so of video without meaningfully reducing its capacity to store still images. As larger hard disc drives become more available and less expensive, it may become practical to store deposition presentations on the computer hard drive.

We use a Dell Dimension XPS R450, with a processor speed of 450 mhz, 256 MB RAM, 16 MB Video card, and removable 18 gig Kangaru Portable disk. This is a several years old desktop PC workstation, which is physically taken into the courtroom without a keyboard or monitor, mounted on a rolling AV cart. We have used a desktop workstation because it provides the processor power needed for video, and the expansion slots to accept the video card and hard drive. More recent laptops may be available with the same capabilities.

All of the material which we plan to use from the computer is stored on the hard disk which provides essentially instantaneous access. We do not use CD-ROM, or CD jukeboxes. The removable Kangaru disk allows us to remove the disk at the end of the day, both for security purposes, and to make changes or additions to the stored material.

The computer is used with Trial Director Software, produced by Indata. This is a courtroom presentation multimedia software developed for presentation of various types of media in the court room. It is designed to allow virtually any type of computerized audio-video media to be loaded into the program and accessed with a bar code reader. We use Barcode Reader Model 2000/2002 by American Microsystems, LTD, together with associated software for reading barcodes.

A bar code is nothing more than a number printed in a specific bar code format. For example, the number 15678496 printed as a bar code is

The great value of the computer-Trial Director-bar code combination is the ability to have instant access to any still or moving image literally with the push of a single button. Almost everything that we present through the computer can be presented without the computer through a VCR or Elmo. However, nothing can match the speed of access through the computer.

Our method of organization is to place a bar code sticker on a copy of each page, photo, chart, key quote or any thing else which is loaded into Trial Director. For moving video, the bar code sticker is affixed to a page containing a short description of each clip. These materials are then organized just as we would organize them for trial in the absence of Trial Director; in our case, they are organized in tabbed notebooks. During trial, when any of these things is wanted, finding the page, or quote, or photo in the notebook also finds the bar code, and a quick push of the button on the bar code reader projects the image onto the big screen.

During the pretrial preparation process, each item to be displayed is loaded into the computer, and into the Trial Director program. For video, the process is:

1. The video in question is captured into the computer using a VCR and video capture board, and edited in the computer.

2. The final version of the video clip is output to a video tape which can be played on a VCR, and which will become a Plaintiff's Exhibit.

3. The final version of the clip, in MPEG-1 (a computer format for handling video), is loaded into Trial Director and given a number.

4. The name of this item is printed on paper, along with a bar code for its number.

5. When the bar code reader reads this number from the paper, the computer will play the video through the projector onto the screen to be seen by the jury.

For still images, the process is similar, but easier, since the editing process is far less complicated.

The most difficult part of the entire process is selecting which images should be loaded into the computer. For us, this is the same process as selecting the images which are expected to be trial exhibits. We load all photographs and similar images which we expect to use at trial. Key quotes from depositions are selected, and each is input into the computer, ready to be displayed at a moment's notice. Even though documents generally will be presented with the Elmo, key quotes from key documents are cut and pasted into Trial Director where they can be used with greater impact during opening statement, final argument or cross-examination.

For a VCR, the projector will accept any generally used model of VCR. For many years, we have used S-VHS format for most videotaping done by the office, because it provides better quality than regular VCR when copying and editing tapes. However, if S-VHS is used, it is necessary to use a VCR that will play both regular and S-VHS format. If the defendants show up wanting to use the VCR with a regular VHS tape, it is usually best for the VCR to work for them also.

We use an ELMO EV-400AF Visual Presenter. This particular unit provides superior video quality, and uses one of the best video capture chips available at the time it was made a few years ago. When purchasing an Elmo, it is very important to get the highest possible video resolution to facilitate the display of documents.

Our experience has been that the most efficient method of presenting documents at trial is to simply put them under the Elmo and project them onto the large projector screen. We try to be sure that the positioning of the screen, in terms of its distance from the jury box, will allow anyone with normal eyesight to easily read typed text in the documents when the Elmo is zoomed in so that a line of type completely fills the width of the screen. When first presenting a document, it is quick and easy to zoom into the title and date, the name and signature of the author, and then to fix the Elmo on the critical text. If desired, one can mark and highlight on the document while it is under the Elmo, where the jury can see everything that happens.

Using the Elmo in this way requires that the attorney become comfortable with zooming and focusing the Elmo. It has two zoom buttons ö in and out, and two focus buttons, which are easy to use. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that the attorney practice the small amount necessary to become comfortable with the use of the technology.

The alternative method for presenting documents is to use Trial Director. Before the availability of high resolution cameras and projectors, it was one of the best available methods. But, that is no longer true in my opinion.

When using Trial Director, one available view of each document page is the full page view. On this view, while the jury can see the entire page, they are almost certainly too far from the screen to read anything on the page. For the jury to read a section, Trial Director has several zooming views which blow up sections of the page. In my opinion, however, they are far more cumbersome to use live in front of the jury than is the Elmo, and no more effective. While specific blowup views can be preprogrammed, this requires a great deal of work, and limits flexibility. On balance, I believe that using the Elmo allows the most effective presentation, with the least pretrial preparation, while allowing the attorney to retain the maximum flexibility.

The Elmo can also be used to present any form of printed material, from photographs to pages from authoritative treatises. Simply place the material under the Elmo, zoom or focus if necessary, and the presentation is made.

Later model Elmos have lights which can either shine from above on the material, or shine up from the base to back light transparent items such as X-rays. When the base lights are turned on, X-rays can be shown on the Elmo more effectively than on a view box, because of the ability to zoom in on the critical portions of the X-ray. Small CAT scan images on X-ray film can be blown up to 6'x6' through the projector.

The Elmo can also be valuable to show the jury small three dimensional objects. Threaded bolts, pieces of machinery and all kinds of objects can be seen more readily by the jury if projected onto the big screen. An expert's explanation can be more readily understood when small objects which are the subject of the discussion can be pointed to, turned and moved while being projected on the screen.


What to Do with the Technology?

Remembering that technology is not the end, but only a means to an end, consider what to do with the technology; how to make it most effectively assist in reaching the goal of a favorable verdict.

Key Quotes: Perhaps the single most effective use of the big screen is the display of key quotes.

During our pre-trial preparation, and during the trial itself, we are seeking short, pithy quotes from adverse witnesses, adverse experts or corporate representatives, which make key points of our case. As we take and index depositions prior to trial, some of the questions and answers will be isolated and indexed as "key quotes" or "major admissions" in our indexing system. In a case in which the defect was GM's failure to include head restraints in CK trucks, even as they included them in those sold to Saudi Arabia, one of our key quotes was from GM's corporate representative, Mr. El-Sabeh:

Q. Okay. Mr. El-Sabeh, do you agree as a matter of general principle that people who purchase CK trucks in the United States ought to get the same level of safety as people who purchase CK trucks in Saudi Arabia?

A. Yes

By the time the trial commences, the key quotes have been selected, indexed and placed in notebooks, with a bar code beside each quote. With the push of a single button on the bar code reader, the quote can be transferred to the big screen before the jury.

As we use the key quotes, we copy the text into a still image, if possible superimposed over a photograph taken from the video of the witness. We use the text of the quote to project on the big screen, a text which can remain immobile and visible before the jury while it is discussed, and considered, and taken into full account, until time to be replaced by another.

We use key quotes during direct and cross-examination, opening statement and final argument. During each phase of the trial, they reside in the computer, to be called forth with the push of the bar code reader button.

Video: Another powerful use of the projected large-screen image, is to use video either as direct, real evidence, or as an explanation of something which is better shown in motion than merely explained in words.

In crashworthiness cases, an obvious use of video is to present crash test videos which are important to the case. The crash test films are usually far too long to be played in their entirety for the jury. Our practice is that crash test films are edited, to select and present the portions relevant to the trial at hand in short clips, and the resulting edit is both output to videotape and loaded into Trial Director.

Animations or video reconstructions of collision events can be powerful means of demonstrating what happened for the jury.

Additionally, animation can be used to show the jury the workings of mechanical parts which may be too large, too small or otherwise inconvenient to show the jury.

Slides / Charts: During opening statement or final argument, slides or charts which visually summarize portions of the opening statement or argument, can be effective in visually driving home points.

Document Excerpts: Although we prefer to present documents as a whole through the Elmo, select or dramatic portions of documents can be loaded into Trial Director as still images and displayed quickly and effectively through the computer and projector.


Low Tech is Not Dead

Do not become a captive to high tech. Low tech still lives, and has its place in trial.

Posters / blow-ups can be very effective if used correctly. The most important thing about posters is that they stand out visibly all the time, not just when being used. The pictures on the big screen may be larger, but one goes away when the next appears. The blowup not being used remains visible to the jury if properly placed.

Remember that, to be effective, posters must be BIG. The writing should be easily visible to every member of the jury from the place where the poster will be located. In our experience, people who make posters believe they should be 2'x3', while they should actually be at least 3'x4', and perhaps larger depending on their content.

Resist the urge to make the poster fancy. Make it look low tech ÷ simple, but effective at carrying the message.

Although posters look low tech, they are not really. High tech can be used to make posters. Computer literate artists and illustrators, using readily available programs and standard workstations, can create posters and print out small versions for proofing by counsel in the office prior to trial. After the decision is made on what posters to use, the computer file can be taken to a service bureau which will make the actual poster in a few hours.


Practical Considerations

In addition to the technicalities, there are a number of legal and practical considerations for use of the technology at trial.

The plaintiff's lawyer who is providing and using the technology should avoid, as much as possible, creating an image of himself (and his client) as high-dollar techno-wizards. I think this should be approached in two ways:

First, by motion in limine, prevent the defense from informing the jury that it is your equipment. Make it available to the defense before the trial starts, outside the presence of the jury, and require that all parties refer to the court as the court's equipment. This will allow the court to be high-tech, which the judge will appreciate, and you will simply be up to date with the court's equipment. The defense, at some time, will "inadvertently" refer to the equipment as yours, or ask your help in operating it, but, by that time, it will be too late, and their remarks may simply increase your image as knowledgeable and well prepared.

Second, make every effort to minimize the obtrusiveness of the technology in terms of its physical appearance in the courtroom.

The big screen (which is, of course, very obvious), does not look particularly high tech. It is simply a movie screen like many of us saw in our school rooms many years ago. The projector, computer and VCR can all be located on an audio-video cart, with their connecting wires carefully packaged and concealed, which makes a physically unobtrusive package. It will not be necessary to use either a computer monitor or keyboard in the presence of the jury. If the computer technician needs to have the keyboard available, either hide it or disconnect while the jury is in the room.

The Elmo usually cannot be on the same cart, because it would place the Elmo and the lawyer using it, in front of the screen with the projector. You will have to find another location for the Elmo, and will have to run a connection from it to the projector.

The AV cart can include a multiple power outlet so that all of the equipment on the cart can be plugged into the cart, and only one power cord from the cart run to another outlet. This, the connection from the Elmo, and any other cords or wires, must be run as neatly and unobtrusively as possible, and taped securely down with duct tape, so as not to become a tripping hazard and to maintain a reasonable appearance.

At least several days before the trial, it is advisable to approach the court, perhaps through the bailiff who usually controls the physical contents of the courtroom, for permission to set up the A/V equipment. In my experience, most courts are very receptive and often helpful in making suggestions for the location of the various pieces. Prior to the beginning of the trial, decide on the location of each item of equipment. The most important is the screen, which must be easily visible to the jury, and everyone else. The location of the screen and the projector move together. If possible, avoid placing the projector directly next to the jury box; most projectors make a low noise from a fan which is blowing a small amount of hot air, neither of which do you want to have as a distraction to the jurors. If placement next to the jury box is unavoidable, do whatever is possible to minimize the undesirable effects.

At the beginning of each day, test all of the equipment to be sure it is working correctly. Never undertake to use any equipment in the courtroom which has not been tested, that day, in its fully set up configuration.

Finally, be prepared, both technically and emotionally, for what can and will go wrong.

When something goes wrong, the lawyer must immediately make a joke of it and move forward. Do not stop the progress of the trial to fix equipment, or to figure out why it is not working. Leave that for the next recess. Rather, the lawyer must be able to move forward with the presentation of evidence without getting caught up in the technical failure.

In our system, many things can be displayed two ways ö either via the computer or the Elmo; or the computer or the VCR. Often, one can simply change to the other method of display. The main exception to this is the projector ö if it should fail, you cannot project anything. Fortunately, we have not had a failure of the projector, although we have had to learn to remember to turn it on in the morning ö a good reason to run a test.

But if the system fails entirely, go ahead with the evidence without the high tech stuff. The judge and the jury will appreciate your unflappable demeanor, and the pace of the trial will not suffer. Make a joke at your own expense, move on, and fix it at the next recess.


Appendix I

Full Courtroom Set Up

Sharp LCD Projector

Model # XG-E3500U

A multi-scan RGB Input accepts signals from SXGA, XGA, SVGA, VGA and Mac Compatible computers without the need for any additional hardware. This means that you can connect your VCR, ELMO, and computer to output through the same device on a big screen. (SXGA 1,280 x 1,024, XGA 1,024 x 768, SVGA 800 x 600) 1300 ANSI Lumens - the brightness output by the projector. (I believe currently the highest Lumens available is about 2200, this changes y. . . like processor speed.

In addition to the standard front projection mode, the menu driven functions can be used to instantly reverse the image for rear projection, and invert the image for ceiling mounting. This is an important consideration, because so many courtrooms are not designed for the use of technology equipment. Each courtroom will have a completely different layout and requirements to position the screen for the jury, witness and the judge to view properly.

CRT versus LCD projectors: LCD projectors are lighter, brighter and easier to set up and maintain. Cautionwhen purchasing small lightweight projectors that are convenient for travel, be aware of the limitations. For example, many small lightweight projectors are limited to an 800 x 600 resolution. If the computer or laptop that you are using has a high resolution of 1024 x 768, you will have to lower your resolution in order to display through the projector. This diminishes the picture quality. Also, the output of brightness may be limited to 600 or 800 lumens. Courtrooms are usually well lit with fluorescent lighting. You don't want to have to turn down the lights to display all exhibits on the screen. Lights are often turned down when a video is played, but when displaying imaged documents or short video clips, you do not want to have to turn down the lights. If necessary, depending on the light arrangement in the courtroom, it is possible to turn off one light fixture above the screen. But in the last few months, small lightweight projectors have been coming out with XGA and 2200 lumens.
6' Tripod Projection Screen

Tripod screens are the most common - downside - Tripod legs take a lot of area, if you are working in a small place, the new Pedestal screens have a flatter stand and are more lightweight and easier to set up, but are not as tall as tripod. The height of the tripod screen is useful when positioning the screen behind the bar. Also available, Flat screen LCD monitors and Plasma monitors. LCD max size 21" Plasma max size 50 ".

If using Rear Projection from the Projector, you must use a rear projection screen.

Height of the screen and distance of the screen from projector must be taken into consideration. Each projector's User Manual will give you the minimum and maximum distance and angles. Often in small courtrooms the screen must be placed behind the bar.
ELMO EV-400AF Visual Presenter

Over 450TV-lines Resolution for a Clear Image. The EV-400AF begins with superior image quality. ELMO utilizes one of the finest ¸" CCD (sensor) chips available. A 410,000 pixel chip yielding over 450 lines of horizontal resolution produces outstanding contrast and picture quality when capturing all types of 3D objects, slides, transparencies, and opaque presentation materials.

Toshiba offers some great LCD projectors and Elmo combos. Great for ease of travel. Also means that ELMO could not be moved to the counsel table with projector in another location. Having the two devices separated is probably better for courtroom setup, considering each and every setup with be very different. Combo system would be good for presentations, lightweight and small.

3D objects can be placed on the ELMO, show up large on big screen, and then zoomed in on a particular area with great clarity for the whole jury to view. Photos or documents that have not been scanned can be placed on the Elmo.


We have various makes and models of VCR's we use in the office, but we prefer to use SVHS versus VHS for better quality. A VCR is connected to the projector for playing lengthy videos, usually depositions. Computers cannot handle long videos very well and take up to much space.

When going to courtroom, make sure that if you are going to use S-VHS that your VCR can also play VHS video tapes. If the opposing counsel is wishing to use the VCR, or a new video is suddenly produced during trial, don't be caught with a VCR that plays SVHS only.

If you are outsourcing your video, and choose to use SHVS, you must let the videographer know, or they more than likely will give you the videos in VHS format.
AV Cart

Having an Audio Visual Cart on wheels is great for ease of moving and placing equipment in the courtroom. Some AV carts have adjustable shelves, so that you can change the height of the projector if needed. PandH most common setup. Projector on top of cart, VCR on second shelf. The VCR should front face the side most accessible by counsel. The PC can be placed on bottom shelf, if the cart is not placed far from the counsel table. Most Bar code wands/readers plug into the back of the computer in the serial port. Usually the cables are short, extensions can be purchased, but extensions can come apart easily and cables get in the way. You want to have a clean, organized setup, then place the computer under the counsel table. An RGB to the projector will need to run to the projector. Tape it down well with duct tape, or cover it with a floor cord cover.

An electrical outlet strip on the cart is always helpful. Devices can be plugged in right there on the cart, so that only one electrical cord must be run to the wall or nearest outlet. Courtrooms are usually limited in electrical outlets. Always thoroughly inspect the courtroom before the trial begins. Draw and map out all electrical outlets and lighting arrangements. Can one light fixture be turned off at a time, or, are all lights on one electrical switch? Include measurements and distances of furniture, hallways, the height of bar. Finding the right place for the equipment is not only crucial from a presentation standpoint, making sure the jury, witness and judge has a clear view of the screen, but also making sure that the equipment is not an obstruction to walkways, door, building codes, etc. Having the bailiff of the court in the courtroom when inspecting and determining layout of the courtroom is very valuable. The bailiff will know all the likes and dislikes of the judge. Where does the judge like particular items to be placed? What items can and cannot be moved. Where does the judge expect counsel to approach the jury. Does the attorney have to address the jury from a podium, or does he stand at the counsel table? These pieces of information are critical for determining the placement of the ELMO and bar code reader It makes presentation flawless when the attorney can reach over at all times and place a document on the ELMO without pausing to walk over to the Elmo to place down an exhibit.
Dell Dimension XPS R450

Processor speed 450 mhz, 256 MB RAM, 16 MB Video card, removable 18 gig Kangaru Portable disk, (a removable hard drive that can locked with a key into the computer, and be removed at the end of the day.) This feature allows several benefits - you take your data out of the courtroom every day for security purposes, you have your data to work on that evening to prepare or add exhibits for the next day and you do not have to take apart all your equipment to take the computer out of the courtroom.

We prefer to use a workstation PC versus a laptop because of the power of the workstation. With the new high memory graphic cards, videos and animations play smoothly. If your presentation is small and simple a laptop will be fine.
Trial Director Software

Courtroom Multimedia Presentation software used to display video, animations, text and photo images in full screen with the click of a barcode reader. Allows side by side exhibit comparisons. On-screen annotation tools and multi-zoom capabilities. Exhibits recall quick and easily. The Director Suite Version 2.0 includes TrialDirector, DocumentDirector and DepositionDirector. The Suite supports a variety of industry standard multimedia formats such as AVI, MPEG, and Adobe Acrobat PDF. Images and videos are loaded easily. The software prints bar-codes for each exhibit. A barcode reader is used in place of a keyboard to read the name of the exhibit and display instantaneously and repeatedly.

Trial Director plays Full-screen M-PEG 1 videos, this is very impressive for the jury to watch video on a 6' screen. Also, photos look very impressive and dramatic on the big screen.
Barcode Reader

Barcode Reader Model 2000/2002 by American Microsystems, LTD. Softcom Software must be loaded on computer to read the bar-codes or software provided by the manufacturer of the reader.

Things to Remember

Permission from the court for use of equipment must be obtained prior to the trial. The court will usually request a list of all equipment to be used. Recommendation is to share your equipment with opposing counsel. We usually come to an agreement with opposing counsel before we request to bring the equipment into the courtroom, so that we can let the court know that both sides are in agreement. Opposing counsel will only use the VCR and Elmo, not the computer.

There are many companies that rent all of this equipment. There are also many litigation support companies to help in this area. If you plan to do most of the work yourself and do not have an IT Administrator, research can be done on the Internet. If you spend a small amount of time looking up equipment on the Internet, you will become an expert quickly. Do searches for the type of equipment you are looking for, for example, search for LCD projectors or Elmo visual presenter. If you have a question, like what does lumens mean? Pick up the phone and give them a call.


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