Forensic Video Brings DVD to the Legal Profession

Forensic Video introduces Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) services for the legal profession offering a simple and effective way to manage and present documents, images, video, and other computer media based information on a single disc.

Minneapolis, May 12, 1998 -- Forensic Video, Inc. announced today it has become the first litigation support company offering DVD services to the legal profession. Richard Diercks, president of the company, stated that, "DVD is another development in our tradition of being pioneers in litigation support, beginning with computer animation in 1984. We believe that investing in DVD technology is important. We believe that DVD is the next evolutionary step in communication technology. As a single, internationally agreed upon media standard, we believe that DVD will be a long-lived technology."

The benefits of DVD for the legal profession.

The greatest benefit of using DVD is that all case information and formats can be stored on a single media. DVD discs allow you to store video, documents, images, photos, and other media all on the same disc. DVD discs store as many as 250,000 documents and as much as 12 hours of deposition video on a single disc. DVD discs are compatible for use in the same applications as CD-ROM; transferring data to DVD does not require extensive changes in production and workflow. DVD discs provide greater storage capacity than CD-ROM. Finally, DVD discs can also simplify storage logistics by requiring substantially fewer discs (compared to CD-ROM) to store case information.

The legal profession faces a unique combination of problems relating to technology. In one aspect of the problem, litigation often requires massive storage capacity. In another aspect of the problem, lawyers require the flexibility to be able to instantly access stored information and present it effectively at trial. Finally, lawyers need and want simple methods to store and organize their information database. DVD addresses these problems in a very powerful manner:

  • Document Storage Capacity: A single DVD disc can hold as much as 15 CD discs. Maximum storage capacities of DVD are 250,000 documents per disc, or 12 hours of video testimony.
  • Deposition Storage Capacity: Organizing deposition video such that you place one deposition day on a single disc is possible using DVD. DVD eliminates the need for multiple CD volumes for a single deposition day. Additionally, documents relating to the deposition can be stored on the same disc as the testimony, allowing even greater organizational control.
  • Enhanced Visual Clarity: The video quality of DVD is better than VHS or Laser Disc media. This is an important feature for attorneys using animation or detailed video images at trial.
  • Simple User Interface for DVD-Video: DVD discs allow great ease and flexibility in accessing video clips. DVD-Video menus are graphical and navigating through choices is as simple as using a television remote control.
  • Compatibility between DVD-Video and DVD-ROM: All DVD-Video discs can be played in DVD-ROM drives, expanding the opportunities for lawyers who want to combine high-quality video into presentations at trial.
  • Combine all sources onto a single disc: DVD promises to replace several types of media, including, laser disc, CD, AudioCD, CDi, and VideoCD. DVD-ROM allows users to store any digitized image, computer program, or other data. All media types can co-exist on the same disc, simplifying storage and database design needs.
  • Supports ALL existing software: The benefits of DVD-ROM are available immediately for use in existing programs. DVD does not require complicated upgrades to computers or learning new software. Transferring CD data to DVD does not require extensive workflow, production, or equipment changes.

Forensic’s Services Announced

Diercks stated, "Forensic Video is proud to offer these services to our clients. We have always looked for ways to improve our client’s situation and to provide them more convenience and flexibility. DVD promises to provide our clients with features not currently available in other media. DVD also promises to provide our clients with simple, safe, and effective ways to bring the sea of information they manage under control."

Beginning immediately, Forensic Video will offer the following DVD services:

  • Document Repositories on DVD using DVD-R or DVD-5, DVD-9 & DVD-10 classes with storage capacities of at least 100,000 pages per disc.
  • Video Depositions on DVD (up to 12 hours on a DVD disc)
  • Conversion of traditional CD-ROM data to DVD disc (minimum of seven CDs per DVD disc.)
  • DVD authoring for using DVD-Video by lawyers and legal professionals
  • DVD-R mastering services in-house


"Forensic Video can make DVD-R discs in-house. That is an advantage that only a select few in the DVD-Video world can claim. We are the only company in the legal support industry that can make discs in-house," said Diercks, "DVD technology is something we have been working on from the beginning of DVD-Video in the video side of my businesses. Forensic Video will be able to take full advantage of all the experience gained by the entertainment industry’s lead on DVD."

A hundred thousand documents on a single disc

The problem faced by attorneys attempting to manage both video and documents in using optical digital storage has been the limited storage ability of the CD-ROM format. "The promise of imaging documents and storing them on CD was to remove the clutter from the warehouse, " said Bryan C. Del Monte, Director of Operations for Forensic Video, "unfortunately, the legacy of the CD media was to exchange clutter of paper for that of CD’s."

Del Monte continued stating, "DVD discs can store hundreds of thousands of documents on a single disc. This disc can be taken anywhere and read on any DVD-ROM player anywhere in the world. The legacy of DVD will mean hundreds of thousands of pages on a single disc, not 10 or 12 banker boxes like CD-ROM."

Del Monte briefly outlined the storage capacity of DVD by using a comparison table of DVD media configurations versus traditional CD-ROM:

Mastering Class

Storage in Gigabytes

Pages per Disc

"Banker Boxes" per disc

DVD-R

3.97

107,000

53

DVD-5

4.7

127,000

64

DVD-9

8.5

230,000

115

DVD-10

9.7

254,000

127

DVD Storage Capacities for Document Imaging Application

Del Monte continued stating, "While there has been some discrepancies as to the ‘size’ of the document repository in the Minnesota ‘tobacco’ case, I have heard number as high as 26 million documents. It takes roughly 1400 CD’s to store 26 million documents. I could store the same sized database on DVD using only 100 DVD-10 class discs. It is much easier to build a system that can manage 100 discs, versus 1400 discs."

Del Monte continued stating, "If I were to put five million documents on CD media, I would need 280 discs. If I was to use DVD, I only need 20 discs. You do the math. DVD is always going to be easier in terms of both computer hardware expense and logistics. I would much rather have to manage 20 DVD discs than 280 CD discs. These two examples illustrate the power of DVD when applied to document storage."

Condensing information onto DVD provides lawyers greater flexibility in managing their documents. A simple axiom would be to state that the less effort involved in searching the repository, the more capability given to the end users. DVD allows firms engaged in litigation to use optical storage technology without having to worry about extensive optical storage arrays commonly employed when using CD-ROM technology.

Another important point about DVD is that DVD does require you to adopt an entirely new scheme of technology. DVD drives are modest computer upgrades, costing only $250 per drive. The drives look and operate similar to that of CD-ROM drives. Using DVD does not require significant changes in how the litigation team uses the information database; it provides greater convenience and flexibility.

One Deposition Day – One Disc

Another integral component of DVD is the ability to store high-quality video on the same disc as documents. The flexibility to place multiple media content on a single disc will help to simplify the storage and organizational needs of lawyers and paralegals.

DVD-Video discs can be easily navigated with web-like menus and iconic choices that when selected, instantly leap to that area of the disc containing the selected video. DVD-Video provides attorneys with the convenience of laser-disc’s random-access to video with the quality of professional video technology. The menu systems authored by Forensic Video have the same look and feel as navigating "web" pages or using on-screen controls of a television.

"When I demonstrated DVD video technology to a group of paralegals, they were amazed and happy by the simplicity of the interface. One paralegal exclaimed, ‘my lawyer can do this! This is good!’" stated Del Monte. DVD-Video discs are easily navigated by the most "computer alienated" individuals.

The biggest advantage of DVD is the ability to store hours of deposition testimony on a single disc. As Diercks explained, "The DVD media allows you to put various quality of MPEG1 and MPEG2 digitized video on a single disc. The basic advantage of DVD as it relates to video depositions is ‘one depo-one disc.’"

Forensic Video also announced that they have successfully used DVD to present and store deposition video. Del Monte stated, "We have used DVD to store video of several types under trial conditions. The power of DVD is that you can store one deponent’s deposition volume on one DVD disc, including exhibits. Having the deposition on DVD means that the lawyer can take the disc home, or to court, without having to lug about all the discs and hardware necessary to display it. Less equipment makes for greater reliability and ease of use. DVD is going to be more convenient for lawyers."

Forensic assures DVD reliability

Diercks strongly stated that DVD, while new to the legal world, is not new technology. Unlike predecessors in the area of litigation support, the technology works and is available now. Diercks stated, "DVD, while a new technology, has a solid foundation. DVD is not ‘vapor ware’ and it is not hype. DVD is real technology that works under trial conditions – TODAY. More importantly, DVD works with just about everything, and, no additional training or changes are required to use it."

Del Monte stated, "Our approach to trial support has been the same as Gene Kranz’s approach to safeguarding the lives of American astronauts in space, ‘Failure is not an option.’ We do not use technologies that are unstable or untested. We have completed extensive testing to ensure DVD will work under trial conditions. The media is up to the challenge. We would not be making this announcement today if we were not absolutely confident that DVD will work under trial conditions."

Forensic to help others Develop DVD

Forensic Video is continuing to work with other developers in the legal profession to make their software DVD capable and is providing national software vendors the experience and fulfillment distribution centers to make DVD discs for clients. Diercks stated, "Expect to hear from us soon regarding the vendors you know in the business who will be working with us to make their products work with DVD." Forensic Video is actively seeking strategic partners who will work on developing DVD for the legal industry.

About Forensic Video

Forensic Video, Inc., located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of the oldest trial support companies in the United States. In Forensic’s 15 years of operations, the company has continued to be "leading edge," in applying technologies used in other business sectors to the legal profession. Forensic Video has had many "firsts," in the area of litigation support, including being first to introduce animated evidence in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Forensic Video, Inc., is a "full-service" litigation service bureau and provides services in the following areas:

  • Animation & Graphics
  • Imaging and Printing Services
  • Trial Consulting
  • Courtroom Presentation
  • Video Transcript Processing
  • Video and Audio Analysis

Forensic Video, Inc. has participated in trials across the United States. A representative sampling of cases includes, "The Chicago Flood," Schwan’s Sales Enterprises v. AMPI, et al., Garcia v. Fisher Control Systems, Inc., In re: Airline Commission Antitrust Litigation, Huffman v. Pepsi-Co, and the "DuPage County Courthouse" case JOF v. HOK.

Forensic Video provides full litigation support consulting services for both plaintiff and defense lawyers nationwide. A representative client listing includes: The Department of Justice – Office of the United States Attorney, The United States Postal Service, Kirkland and Ellis, Mayer Brown and Platt, Hinshaw and Culbertson, Robins Kaplan Miller and Ciresi, Faegre and Benson, Leonard Street and Deinard, and other medium to large private law firms and government agencies nation-wide.