World Time Zones
Home - Find - Help - About This Website

Legal Resources


Video Disc Formats for the Legal Practice

by Nolan Church Jr., CLVS

Digitization has revolutionized todays legal practice. Trial presentation programs like Sanction® and Trial Director® are powerful tools for organizing your case materials and presenting them in court but these materials come in a wide variety of formats.

Is it a DVD or is it a CD? Aren't they the same?
If your computer has the latest software and hardware it may seem so, but there are some important differences. The "DVD" can actually be one of two very different things. The Digital Video Disc contains video information and is played in the DVD player on top of your TV. The Digital Versatile Disc contains data intended for your computer. They look just alike and have the same acronym but are very different animals. Likewise the CD comes in two flavers, data for the computer and audio for your music. Again they have the same name and look just alike.
Digital Video Disc The "Video" DVD .. is the highest quality and best choice for playing depositions and other video recordings to a jury. It is the natural replacement for the VHS tape.
VHS videotape
Digital Versatile Disc The "Data" DVD.. can contain a variety of data including documents, pictures, transcripts, synchronization information and of course (to confuse us all ) video!!! This is the type of video (usually MPEG files) you use in your trial presentation programs. It, along with the "Data" CD, replace the floppy disc.
floppy disc
Data Compact Disc The "Data" CD.. contains the same type of computer files as the data DVD, just a lot less of them. A data CD holds 650 MB equal to about 400 floppy discs while the data DVD holds about 4 GB or the equivalent of almost 3000 floppies

Video File Formats

Now that we understand the various disc formats, lets take a look at the files on them.

The recommended video format for everyday legal work is MPEG1. It is a well supported format across computer platforms and operating systems. Up to 2 hours or more will fit on a data CD and CD is the recommended medium for maximum compatibility. It is also the standard for synchronization of transcript and video for use in trial presentation programs.

Ask your videographer for a "Video" DVD  and    MPEG1 synchronized with the transcript on a "Data" CD and you can't go wrong!!!


This format was developed for digital and satellite TV and is used in the "video" DVD


Somewhat lower quality than MPEG2 but much more universally compatible and requires less computing horsepower.


The newest standard from The Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It boasts better quality than MPEG1 and smaller file size than MPEG2.


Windows Media
Microsoft's version of video file compression. Maybe your best choice if you are using Power Point and Windows®.


The digital video standard. High quality but very large file sizes. This is the preferred format for most video editing programs.


Real Media
The original video streaming format for the internet. Widely compatible across computer platforms and very small file size. Requires Real Player software

Website designed and maintained by CSP Media
original content (c)2000 - 2011 Nolan C. Church Jr.
Listed in Virtual411