Sharing documents, images and video footage at remote hearings

So this is not a comprehensive technical guide, I do not hold myself out as an expert and please don’t blame me if it doesn’t work etc etc etc disclaimer disclaimer… BUT I’ve been designated document and video sharing bunny at several of my recent trials and I thought I might share the basic know how I have gleaned. I know from experience that most of you are operating on the probably wise basis that if you truthfully say you don’t have a scooby how to screen share someone else will have to be sharing prefect.

Well, now you have no excuse and Your Honour I refer to my blog post dated 19 September, which I know my learned friend has read because I attached it to my case outline. Tag! You’re it!

Actually, in all seriousness, I think we’ve reached the point now where it’s good manners for everyone to have a stab at this instead of falling back on the ‘oh I can’t do screen sharing’. Guys, it’s been six months.

General

  • The screensharing functionality you will get with any given video platform is different depending on whether you are on an ipad, a pc/pc tablet or a mac. It is best to test it out on the specific device you plan to connect through, before you actually need to share. I don’t use a PC but generally there is more functionality on my mac than my ipad.
  • Don’t forget you need a CLEAN copy of whatever you want to share. Don’t share the page you’ve marked up with a red scrawl of “b****cks!!” or “lies!” in the margin, or **best xx point!!* beside it. If you use dropbox or equivalent you may have a separate folder where you clerks deposit the clean original bundle which you then copy before marking it up and messing with it.
  • Sounds obvious, but make sure your CLEAN copy is open / accessible on the SAME device that you are joining the hearing on.
  • Take care not to screenshare your entire desktop / screen unless you are confident that there is no other confidential information visible. In particular, your notes of xx, email inbox or info about other cases etc – or your own private information such as a desktop background showing your children looking cute in their school uniform. Make sure the documents you are going to need are already open OR you have a finder window open where you’ve already navigated to the folder specific to your case. DON’T share your whole screen and then scroll through all the folders with the names of the parties in your other cases on them (eek!) to get to the folder relating to this case. V bad.
  • Also make sure the files you want to share are DOWNLOADED onto your device rather than trying to play them from the cloud or via a browser window – otherwise you will click on a video and it will whirr and whirr pathetically and not play.
  • Don’t forget that whilst you are sharing people can’t see other people’s faces, so you don’t want to be sharing for any longer than is necessary as you then can’t see reactions.
  • If you are joining the link and sharing on the same device you are typing a note on you WON’T BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TAKING A NOTE WHILST SHARING because clicking on any other app/ window than the one you are sharing will pause or stop the sharing function. you will either need to scribble a note on paper or type your note into another device (you could keep a blank word doc open on your ipad to use whilst sharing on your laptop if you are organised, and then consolidate later, but if your ipad keyboard is as loud as mine that will interfere with what people can hear of a video). Or you could just wait till you’ve stopped sharing / rely on someone else’s note. In care cases I think it is fair to ask an advocate who has little to do to be responsible for sharing, and to take it in turns, depending on who is busiest and needing to focus. Often that means the guardian’s counsel, but sometimes it just means the advocate who doesn’t really have any questions for this particular witness. And the quid pro quo is that someone else is taking a note and will share it after.
  • Whichever platform you are using you need to make sure the host has turned on the sharing functions before the meeting starts.

Zoom is pretty intuitive. It will screenshare directly to PDF expert if you are using that so you can show a witness the relevant page in the bundle, highlight the word or phrase you want to ask them about etc. I don’t think it is being used all that often for hearings now, but I have found it straightforward enough.

On an ipad click ‘share content’ top right. The options aren’t very helpful – if you click dropbox you’ll have to navigate through all your confidential folders which is a pain and a data breach in the making. You will probably need to select ‘screen’. When the screen recording box pops up select ‘start broadcast’ and then navigate to whatever it is you want to share. You need to ensure the microphone is switched on before clicking on start broadcast. Personally, I think it’s better to do it on a laptop because its otherwise difficult to get where you want to get to. Also if you are sharing videos with odd formats which need VLC software you’ll need to be on a laptop anyway.

On a mac laptop your share button will be in the bottom middle of your screen. It is possible either to share your whole screen or a specific application. I think that you need to have the application or window you want to share open before you click the sharing button, so it will show as an option when you do. You will see a range of options pop up when you click on the share button – don’t select ‘desktop’ or ‘desktop 1’ unless you want to share your entire screen including whatever is open on it. Instead, navigate to the application or window you want people to see – whether its pdf expert, a finder window or the VLC video window in which you’ve already loaded your video.

Sharing needs to be turned on before the hearing starts. If the host doesn’t want to give EVERYONE in the hearing the ability to randomly screenshare willy pictures or cat gifs then they need to ensure that before the meeting they set their setting to allow a co-host, and that when you want to share they make you a co-host, which will give you sharing privileges.

SfB

Haven’t shared myself on SfB so I can say little more than that it can be done. Have seen others do it successfully, after asking the court to change the permission settings to enable sharing.

Teams

I think teams has been improved so that the sharing options are now closer to those you get in Zoom.

Whenever I’ve joined a Teams hearing set up by the court it does seem to be possible to share, which is fortunate because I’m not confident all the court clerks would know how to change the setting if it wasn’t, or that they would know how to share the file themselves, if they even have it on the machine they are hosting from.

The set up for sharing on an ipad is very similar to zoom. It has similar limitations.

The set up for sharing on a mac is also very similar to zoom now too. In both cases the share option can be found on the tool bar that is in the middle bottom of your screen (if you can’t see it tap or click on the screen until the bar comes up that shows the mic mute / camera and end call buttons. Share will either show when you click on the 3 dots on that bar or will show as ‘share tray’ or similar. As with zoom, you have to have the app or window open before clicking on share options. I find that you sometimes need to click on that window immediately before going back to the teams app and clicking share in order to get that window to appear as one of the available share options. You can see what you are sharing because it will show with a red line around it. Everything in that red line is what the rest of the meeting can see.

I have found it really useful when displaying videos or photos to have a finder window open with all the relevant images or videos in it, and to set my finder window onto gallery view (select the option on the top left of the finder window that shows a large rectangle with 5 smaller dots beneath it) to show a preview of an image, the filename to the right (and date of creation which is sometimes useful if it hasn’t been messed up by over-saving along the line), and all the other images in the sequence below it that you can scroll through. This is an easy way of showing a sequence of photographs so that everyone can cross match the file names. You can also play some types of videos directly from this window rather than faffing about with quicktime, but other types you will need to right click on them and select ‘open with’ and ‘VLC’ (VLC is a piece of free software used to play odd file types that video material, particularly police footage sometimes is stored in). Instead of selecting the finder window to share these through, you will need to open with VLC and click on the VLC app before then going to the share option in teams / zoom and selecting the VLC window as the one you want to share.

Finder window showing images in gallery view.

 

My final pearl of wisdom is that everyone needs to know that whilst you are sharing a video it’s quite hard for you to hear when someone at the other end is shouting ‘PAUSE’. AND that if you cough, fart, snigger or loudly type whilst the video is playing that audio will also be heard and sent to the other participants – the audio is not purely that from the video it is played audibly in the room you are sat in and is picked up by your microphone and sent to the other participants along with any other background noise in the room with you. Whilst you can use the time when a video is being played to pick your nose without being seen if you wish, do not use that time to yell ‘Put the kettle on love this bloody hearing is taking forever! I’m playing another boring video!’ to your nearest and dearest in the next room…

That’s it. All I know about sharing docs, pics and vids during remote hearings.

Now, it’s Saturday, go off and pour yourself a large gin!

2 thoughts on “Sharing documents, images and video footage at remote hearings

  1. Hi Lucy,
    This bit –
    ‘Don’t forget that whilst you are sharing people can’t see other people’s faces, so you don’t want to be sharing for any longer than is necessary as you then can’t see reactions.’
    I think in Zoom you can see the shared screen and the people attending on a side panel at the same time. Now I’m wondering if i imagined that!
    thanks,
    Julie

    • Hi Julie,
      You might be right – my recent experience is with Teams, where you are definitely blind whilst sharing. Also, I suppose it might be different for those being shared too.
      Lucy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.