How to: Recreate a Scene in a Deposition (Revisited – Episode 1)

Early on in the publishing of this blog, I highlighted a method for recreating a scene in a deposition, which iPhone J.D. introduced. Since then, Android tablets have improved, and Google Earth is such a significant addition to the app arsenal, you can perform iPhone J.D’s method much more quickly. Additionally, two relatively new apps, Adobe Photoshop Touch ($9.99) and SketchBook Pro for Tablets ($4.99) make the drawing process much easier.

In this post, I’m going to demonstrate the process using Adobe Photoshop Touch. Episode 2, although not significantly different than Episode 1, will feature SketchBook.

Unfortunately, one of the key elements to the process, street view, was removed, being replaced by navigation functions and 3D imagery. You shouldn’t get discouraged though, this just means a little pre-deposition preparation, rather than on-the-fly.

Presumably, you have photographs of the scene, or you can acquire the street view image from Google Earth on your desktop. Note, you might need to purchase an additional “photo printing app” to print directly to JPEG format. I’ve had success with Zan Image Printer, which although a little costly, allows me to print to a number of different formats, including .PNG, which is a Photoshop-ready image format. The printing programs are a dime a dozen, so pick one that works for you.

You’ll also want to get a really good stylus. I like my JotPro.

This method also presumes that you can properly, although not terribly important from my experience in a deposition, have your witness properly authenticate and validate the image.

If not, here’s a quick lesson: does this image accurately portray the scene? If yes, move on. If no, what is missing or needs to be added?  If you’re bumped, it’s best to have a number of images to choose from. Just because you’re on a tablet, doesn’t mean you don’t have to address the “accurate representation problem.”

With those factors in mind, it’s time to start prepping to introduce the image.

The first step is to transfer the image to your tablet. I use Dropbox or Bitcasa since they’re on my desktop and tablet, which makes saving the files really easy. You can use USB or another method, if you prefer.

I use Dropbox’s export function, which you find under the drop-down arrow on the right of the folder.

I’ll export the file to my tablet’s SD card, in a special folder created just for this purpose.

After you complete the export, it’s time to import the file into Photoshop. You’ll find the import icon at the bottom of the Photoshop app.

Your picture opens on the canvas, and it’s time to start drawing and marking.

The color select tool is on the left side of the screen, along with a variety of different functions and features. If you’re a Photoshop guru, you’ll recognize a lot of the features. If not, don’t worry about it. Just look for the color select palette and brush icon.

I like to set my brush (the white circle in the picture) to size 5, 6, or 7, with full hardness and 100% flow and 100% opacity.

Now, hand the tablet to your witness, and ask them to recreate the scene by drawing on the picture.

For a special touch, you might have the witness initial or sign the picture, and introduce it as an exhibit.

Any decent attorney will immediately object, but if you’ve established the proper foundation, you should be alright later. At the very least, you’ll make your opposing counsel uncomfortable. Don’t forget, you can use other colors to symbolize particular elements of the scene.

Now, your question may very well be, “how the heck to I deliver this to the other parties and court reporter?” Simple: you save and export.

Notice that you use the back arrow in the upper left hand corner to back out of the picture. You’ll then receive the “Save Project” prompt. Saving will place the project back on your “project bookshelf” or the app’s home screen.

Now you can rename your file (the default name is “untitled”) by clicking on the name and typing.

After a quick name change, you’ll click the export button and “Share” to send the file to cyberspace.

You’ll also need to select a file format to save the picture. I prefer JPEG or PNG as most computers can read those two picture formats. You can also send this as a PSD file, but the other parties will need Photoshop to view the final picture.

Click OK, and your file gets saved and ready for sharing.

I prefer sending an email message, but other methods work, too.

Compose a normal email message, and click send.

Your file’s sent to all the parties, and the court reporter can add the exhibit to the deposition for delivery.

Obviously, you’ll want to test this method out before you bound head-strong into a disaster. If done right, an Android tablet can do a lot to help move things along.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.