While animations are gaining popularity in the courtroom, some lawyers still ask, “Are they worth it?” Consider this: the average animation runs at 30 frames per second. This mean a 2 minute animation contains 3600 individual frames. If you hold with the old idiom that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” then a 2 minute animation is worth 3,600,000 words!
Joking aside, animated presentations can be invaluable in conveying complicated information to a jury quickly, and in a manner they’ll actually understand and remember. This works for two reasons:
1) Studies show that visual information is far more likely to be remembered than information conveyed by hearing only (e.g. a picture is more likely to be recalled than verbal testimony.) However, jurors are even more likely to recall information that uses both visual and audial information.
2) Animation is efficient. By combining both video and audio, courtroom animations can quickly give deeper insight into the circumstances surrounding the events they recreate, giving jurors a broader understanding of the case. Complicated medical events can be condensed into a short but compelling animatic. The physics behind a car accident can be broken down, slowed down, and deconstructed to completely convey all the factors involved. Animation can show in 30 seconds what an hour of testimony might not even succeed at telling.
However, animations can go from depicting reality to becoming reality in the jurors’ minds. Since we have yet to master time travel, we cannot take jurors to the exact moment of an accident or incident. Animations allow jurors insight into what happened, but when an animation is shown repeatedly, jurors are likely to conclude the event depicted must have happened exactly how it is depicted. During deliberation, they may rely more heavily on the animation than on testimony. Because of this, lawyers and animators have an obligation to ensure these animations are fair and accurate.
Our animators work closely with witnesses and experts to ensure their animations are accurate and admissible, without venturing in the territory of emotional manipulation or exaggeration. The precise control and expert modeling of our computer animation team allows us to create animations that can accurately reflect the scale and physics of the real world. And our whole creative process, from concept to final product, is set up to allow your legal team to build their argument into and alongside the animation, so that it can be true tool of testimony, and not a distraction.