Issue 26

Getting Serious About Pretending

A Californian legal consulting firm creates the ultimate mock courtroom.


5 April 2024

California-based legal consulting firm Verdict Advantage needed a versatile solution to power the video component of its innovative service offering: a highly realistic courtroom environment for conducting live jury focus groups. The firm found Epiphan Pearl-2 to be the perfect video production core with its multiple built-in inputs, multi-channel recording capabilities, and other advanced features.

The need: A flexible, high-performance system for multi-camera recording

Attorneys and legal teams spend a lot of time preparing for trial. Live jury focus groups can be especially effective for this, helping attorneys test their cases and develop their skills in front of a jury. The more closely the focus group and setting match the true courtroom experience, the better.

Verdict Advantage had the ambitious goal of delivering the most realistic live jury focus groups out there. The faux courtroom the team constructed is as authentic as it gets. The 2,000+ square foot facility comprises a main courtroom, a deliberation room, and attached conference rooms. From the public seating area to the pulpit, no detail was spared.

Along with this highly realistic setting, the firm devised a powerful differentiator for its live jury focus group offering: record the whole thing from multiple angles – capturing judge, jury, and attorney – for legal teams to watch back and identify areas for improvement.

“This unique capability offers legal firms an unparalleled perspective,” says Head of Business Operations Jesse Vaughan. “Participants not only see the live feed during the trial and deliberations but can also go back and watch all the videos and really analyze them from the standpoint of the lawyer – to catch reactions and other moments they may not have picked up on during their live session.”

To fulfill the full vision of Verdict Advantage, the team needed a video production solution that could record from multiple cameras, display live feeds on the 360-degree in-room display, and output the footage as separate files for post-production.

The team consulted an AV contractor, who offered the perfect solution: an Epiphan Pearl-2 hardware encoder.

The solution: Pearl-2, the ultimate all-in-one video production system

Taking into account what Verdict Advantage wanted to achieve, the contractor recommended Pearl-2 as a cost-effective solution compared to competing hardware. With its multiple built-in video inputs and multi-channel recording capabilities, Pearl-2 was just what Verdict Advantage needed to power the video elements of its service.

An array of technology makes up Verdict Advantage’s video component, with a Pearl-2 as the video encoder core:

  • Pearl-2 uses a six-channel configuration with dual presets: one to capture the main courtroom and another for the adjacent deliberation room.
  • A Crestron switcher routes the cameras into Pearl-2 via HDMI as well as SDI.
  • Pearl-2 outputs the feeds to the 360-degree in-room display on a multi-view layout for live viewing while recording each channel separately for review or post-production.
  • Pearl-2 can also capture the content feed – an attorney’s laptop, for example, or a 3D object or document camera – which an operator can switch to using a Crestron touch panel.
  • Audio comes in through a combination of gooseneck, proximity, and wireless lapel microphones connected to a two-channel amplifier.
  • In addition, Pearl-2 makes it simple to monitor the video and audio feeds during live jury focus groups, whether that’s through the admin panel or intuitive Epiphan Live interface.

Results: A winning business model with room to grow

With its fully furnished courtroom and unique video production environment, Verdict Advantage has been able to attract law firms looking to use its one-of-a-kind premises for authentic trial practice and extensive case development.

Verdict Advantages’ clients have seen success, too. In one case, a trial firm ran three focus groups to help develop their case. After analyzing the recordings, the firm had a strong enough case that the insurance company increased its initial settlement amount 12.5 times over.

Beyond delivering what the team needed to fulfil its initial objectives, Pearl-2 offers a host of other innovative features that are helping Verdict Advantage grow its business model. “Out of the box, Pearl-2 delivered exactly what we needed,” Vaughan says. “As we worked more with the system, we discovered so many features that weren’t part of the original plan but will help us expand our capabilities and our business.”

One of those unexpected applications is video training. “There’s a bit of stagecraft to being a trial attorney,” Vaughan explains. “Simple production things like not breaking the fourth wall, how you hold yourself, what your demeanor is, and how effectively you deliver case facts are all key aspects of winning a favorable verdict in court.” In this way, Verdict Advantage, with its video capabilities enabled by Pearl-2, is helping create higher-level trial attorneys who achieve greater results and the justice their clients deserve.

The team behind Verdict Advantage has plans to bring the ultimate live jury focus group experience to more studios across the United States – with Pearl-2 at the heart of the video component.

AP Tech (02) 9452 6001



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