As Rod Ponton awoke one morning from anxious dreams, he found himself changed during a live Zoom hearing into a cute pet feline.

Such is the fate of some legal representatives and video call participants in the coronavirus age who may fight with a few of the more powerful tools provided by platforms like Google Meet and Zoom. The good news is, we have Ponton’s exceptional change on camera as part of a live-streamed hearing of the 394 th Judicial District Court now readily available on YouTube. It was also openly tweeted by Judge Roy Ferguson, who commands the district including a handful of little West Texas counties near the Mexico border.

CRUCIAL ZOOM SUGGESTION: If a child used your computer system, prior to you join a virtual hearing inspect the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitty simply made an official statement on a case in the 394 th (noise on). #lawtwitter #OhNo @zoom_ushttps:// t.co/ I0zaj0wu6K

— Judge Roy Ferguson (@JudgeFergusonTX) February 9,2021

It’s annoying to need to deal with this kind of innovation on a near-daily basis these days– even the most seasoned video callers can discover themselves befuddled by waiting rooms, cell limits, and screen sharing– however in this case, the confusion and scary felt more genuine and instant. Sometimes, it even sounds as if Ponton might have really end up being a cat if you were to go by the sounds of real distress in his voice and the disconcerting level of realism in the filter.

Regarding where this specific filter originates from, I was unable to find it in Zoom’s default filter pack. A cursory search of the Snap Cam filter directory site didn’t pull it up either. (Zoom allows for third-party filters to be utilized during calls.) According to Vice, which talked to Ponton on Monday, it was his secretary’s computer system, and after finding out how to turn the filter off, the hearing continued without occurrence.

At one point, Ponton recommends the trio of participants “go forward with it” as he can’t figure out how to turn the filter off, adding, “I’m here live.

Fellow lawyer H. Gibbs Bauer reacts, “I can see that,” all while lawyer Jerry L. Phillips gleefully smiles in the upper right-hand corner. Really, a Zoom interaction for the ages.


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