Courts have been shifting to virtual court proceedings using video teleconferencing for a variety of reasons including cost and safety. The COVID pandemic forced more courts to adapt. Without being able to meet safely in person, the pandemic caused a rapid adoption to remote courtroom proceedings.
The key challenge is how to deliver multiple video streams easily and reliably to all parties. Court Video Conferencing Services (CVCS), a specialist in courtroom AV solutions, solved this challenge with RGB Spectrum’s QuadView UHDx multi-image processor, a multi-image video processor that displays up to four video sources at a time on a single monitor.
Using the QuadView Processor in the Courtroom
CVCS installed the QuadView processor in courtrooms for the Ventura County, California, Hall of Justice which handles family law, small claims and criminal cases. The Hall’s arraignments, trials, and other legal proceedings are now conducted with all remote or a combination of in-person and remote participants.
RGB Spectrum’s QuadView UHDx processor receives video feeds from four Vaddio PTZ cameras in the courtroom, one each on the judge, witness stand, and defense and prosecuting council tables, plus input from a special document camera which focuses on documents and other physical evidence. In the future, the processor may also be used to accept and distribute computer generated content.
The QuadView UHDx combines up to four of these sources at a time and outputs a consolidated multi-window image into a Zoom video teleconferencing gateway device. The windows can be arranged in a variety of customizable display layouts as needs dictate. The Zoom application then distributes this multiwindow image to remote court participants. The QuadView UHDx system accommodates all conventional video teleconferencing applications, including Zoom, Teams, Bluejeans and others.
In criminal cases, the system transmits bi-directionally from the courtroom to the jail, so everyone in the courtroom and jail can communicate together. In other situations, depending upon the context and the Judge’s personal preferences, the video camera presets are arranged to view the courtroom podium and audience/gallery.
Robert Godinez, president of CVCS, says the QuadView UHDx, offers the convenience of already devised preset display configurations and easy set up for each procedural scenario.
“Other multiviewers have failed in the past and require excessively long reboot time. It also is more cost effective for our legal customers. They realize cost savings by speeding up hearings, reducing waiting times, eliminating travel, and removing the need for security and other staff. Personnel and transportation costs and time are further reduced by obviating the need to transport participants from the jail to the courthouse. This also provides improved security by reducing the need to transfer detainees from the detention facility to court for hearings, arraignments, and other types of proceedings, he says.
The Future of Courtroom Proceedings is Virtual
Godinez continues, “The new virtual remote court concept has now firmly established itself, forever shifting the landscape of justice and legal proceedings. Our QuadView-based virtual courtroom solution offers judges, attorneys, and litigants a better court experience by providing greater access to legal proceedings while reducing the time and expense of getting to court – resulting in increased efficiency, case resolution, and quality of justice.”
The QuadView UHDx provides an image quality of 3840 x 2160p60 4K input and output. There are six input ports: 4x HDMI 2.0 and 2x DisplayPort 1.2. It offers 16 pre-set and 16 customizable display layouts. The processor offers the versatility to mix and match input resolutions, scale any video input up to 4K resolution and route any input to any window. Built-in audio switching allows selection of audio from any source — even those not currently displayed. Control methods include the front panel, a web interface, and third-party control devices.
Godinez concludes, “The customer response has been terrific. They love it. It is now the preferred method to conduct legal proceedings. Other QuadView UHDx California courtroom installations include the Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles County, Hollywood and Fresno Superior Courts.”