This is Part I of a few posts through which I aim to teach lawyers and others how to use common software to use audio files in a fluid, powerful, persuasive way. This technique can be used in court or in any other scenario where the presenter is in relative control of the situation and is able to present a person with audio information. In court, this will often be a statement by the individual being questioned. It could, however, be a soundtrack such as a 911 call or media in which there is a significant sound. For example, the sound of a train or a car honking in the background could provide persuasive proof that the audio was not recorded in a remote location far from roads and traffic. Everycase will be different. I imagine that a journalist or broadcaster would be interested in this technique (as may their sound engineer or producer) since it enables specific cataloguing of locations within the media file.
We are all familiar with a DVD movie which has the option to use “scene selection”. The idea is similar, but it has been unrealistic for individuals without great resources to accomplish the same effect, and even if we had the time to burn DVDs with chapters, navigation can be very cumbersome.
In the video below, I demonstrate the “somewhat finished product” of a OneNote audio preparation session. I do this for trials and hearings and it has proven to be very effective. I am aware that there is litigation software such as Trial Director which can accomplish the same tasks in a similar way, but I am not aware of anything as simple, quick and cost-effective as the technique outlined herein. Obviously, there are nuances to OneNote and other programs which I may be able to get into through other posts, but I encourage others in the legal profession to adopt the modern tools at our disposal. This technique is one of a number of techniques that may stimulate a change in approach in courtrooms around Ontario and beyond. I would love to hear from anyone who has any ideas about how to refine this approach using OneNote or any other software or tool available.
In the near future, I will produce a series of segments further outlining how to catalogue the audio and prepare examination/interview questions using this aid. For now, I start with the results (in a somewhat unpolished format), because I hope to grab your attention before getting into the more technical stuff. GM
NB: I have not received any free software for evaluation purposes nor have I agreed to review or write about software for any company. The products I mention are just the ones I have purchased and used.