We certainly hope not. But if you find yourself turning away jobs because you simply cannot get enough stenographers to cover your courtroom business, it may be time to consider adding digital recording to your arsenal. With the addition of a few quality AV components, you can accept more transcription business, cover more territory, and help make your existing workforce more efficient.
So, what’s the plan? It’s simple, really. As you may already know, many courts do not require the presence of a court reporter to conduct proceedings. Why waste a stenographer’s valuable time going to these courtrooms when a well-trained, but less costly employee can capture an audio recording of the events? Your transcribers can then work directly from the audio recording to produce the transcript. This allows you to save your stenographers for situations that do require a court reporter’s presence for proceedings.
Hardware for Courtroom Recording Situations
Justice AV Solutions (JAVS) has specialized in AV recording in courtrooms, council rooms, and government hearings for over 30 years. Our team of experts has a great deal of experience meeting the challenges and demands of courtroom recording and showing your clients that you take their transcribing requests seriously. With that in mind, here are some things to consider when purchasing an audio recording device for your transcription company.
You can’t expect one of your employees show up with a small, handheld recorder and capture a high-quality audio recording of an entire room. Multi-channel audio recording means that you can set multiple microphones up in a room, and that those microphones work together to capture everything being said – in the entire room. A typical courtroom setup would have one microphone on the judge, one on each law table, and one on the witness stand.
When used in conjunction with multi-channel audio recording software, you can capture every microphone on a separate audio channel. This allows your transcriptionist to listen to each channel individually, if desired. This can come in handy when multiple people are talking at the same time. The transcriptionist can turn off the audio to every channel except the one assigned to the person that needs to be transcribed, filtering out the other speakers in the room and allowing them a more accurate record of proceedings.
LED Status Indicators
Everyone in the room needs to be confident that your system is working properly and that the record of proceeding is being captured. One very reliable solution is to utilize microphones that are equipped with LED indicators. Ideally, the light on the microphone changes color when recording starts or stops, microphones are muted, or the session is paused. This allows everyone to see the status of your system and be assured it is working.
Events may occur in the courtroom that a judge or mediator does not want recorded – much less transcribed – such as private bench conferences, private discussions with a lawyer, etc. Make sure to get an audio recording system that easily allows someone like a judge or council to temporarily mute the recording. Quality audio recording systems come equipped with a programmable button on the microphone that allows a user to manage what is being recorded. The use of a user-controlled mute button helps ensure that your transcriptionists don’t unintentionally transcribe comments that should have been stricken from the record or were not meant to be heard in the first place.
Multi-channel recording requires a little more than your run-of-the-mill recording software. You’ll want to have software that records each microphone in a separate channel and allows for external user control regarding functions like muting microphones. More robust software will also allow your employees to take notes during the recording and should automatically time stamp and store those notes in your recording file.
Nimble and Notewise 3
JAVS has designed a solution just for situations like yours. Our Nimble is a six-channel audio interface that works seamlessly with Notewise 3, our software recording/playback solution. Setup is as simple as plugging microphones into the Nimble and plugging the Nimble into your laptop via USB. It’s a portable, yet robust system that can handle the demands of your recording needs. Contact a sales associate today for more information, or to begin integrating digital audio recording into your workflow.