A 100% Remote Settlement Documentary

We have successfully completed our first-ever remote settlement documentary project in New Zealand and Brazil. It was quite a challenge with one plaintiff living in New Zealand and another plaintiff living near Sao Paulo, Brazil. The attorneys were looking for a comprehensive, case presentation settlement documentary for each, including interviews and Day In The Life video but there is no budget for travel. On top of that, we’ve never shot a documentary that was 100% remote.

The Challenge

  • Both plaintiffs live outside the U.S.
  • No budget for travel
  • Different time zones
  • Potential quality concerns

The Result

  • Our expertise paid off – Our insights and experience came to the rescue. We were successfully able to get most of the Day in the Life footage remotely by having a video savvy family member shoot what we needed based on a shot list we provided. We used Zoom to remotely conduct two interviews in Brazil, and four interviews in New Zealand, one in the Smokey Mountains, and another in Virginia. Despite the different time zones, with a little flexibility we were able to coordinate an acceptable schedule for all participants.

What We Learned

    • Shooting in person vs remotely – Is shooting in person better quality? Yes, absolutely. But in the past few months here’s what has happened. Most of us are using Zoom, or something like it. It’s become part of talk shows and newscasts. ‘Zoom quality’ is now part of our zeitgeist. With these projects, we found that using the video conferencing tool, Zoom, was an ideal solution given the current situation with Covid-19.
    • Zoom for Settlement Documentaries – Shooting some or all the interviews with Zoom is a little faster, a little easier, and a little less expensive. The story can still be told with a high-quality end product. Without the technology, the costs of shooting these interviews in person would have been very expensive. With this new technique, they were more affordable.
    • Bottom Line – Please don’t think this is a solution for every project. In virtually every instance these interviews would have been better if shot in person. If everyone can be safely gathered in one location and professionally video recorded and interviewed, the end product will be better. But using video conferencing technology for settlement documentaries opens up many opportunities for a law firm to include people who are geographically challenging with an acceptable loss in quality.


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