With lockdown regulations only allowing a limited number of mourners at funeral services, for many families, this has created a tough balancing act between choosing who gets to attend in person and ensuring that those who can’t attend do not feel excluded. This has allowed for funeral services to be live-streamed for those who unfortunately won’t be able to be there in person.
With funerals being such a personal and private event, it may seem odd to some to place it up on the internet for individuals to view. But, in truth, it is growing in popularity as many families want to connect during this period of grief. For those who would like to set up a live stream at a funeral service but not quite sure how to, this article is for you.
Calvin Fisher, owner of Pandabomb, a digital production house that specialises in photography and videography, has put together a list of things you need to be aware of when setting up a live streaming service. He also shares some information about how to spread the word about the digital service you’ll be providing.
Get the right equipment for streaming
You can live stream from something as simple as a smartphone or tablet. But, for improved quality, you can use a better-quality camera, such as a DSLR or camcorder, connected to the Internet, likely through a laptop computer. The best connection for streaming is a hardwire data connection with a lot of bandwidth. Also, ask the facility where the funeral service will be held about the strength of their Internet connection; if no hard-wired connection is available, check the speed of the location’s WiFi.
Select the platform you’d like to stream from
There are free platforms you can use – think Facebook, YouTube and Zoom. Others are paid services – Vimeo, or funeral-specific companies available through funeral directors. Explore the platforms before you choose one. Some may have limitations including what music you can use (Facebook and YouTube will turn off the audio of a live stream if they detect that commercially-licensed music is being played.) Your best bet is to do it without any music. After all, the last thing you want is for your live streaming to be cut during the service.
Get the word out
Be sure to start sending out notices to friends or family about when the service/stream will happen.
You can do this on Instagram by using the countdown sticker in Stories or on Facebook by scheduling the live stream ahead of time. Though users may get a notification immediately after you begin your live stream, some may have this setting disabled—so it’s best to let them know as early as possible.
Set up on the day of the service
On the day of the service, get there at least an hour early, two would be better. Run the extension cord for your power in a way that no one will trip over it (use duct tape to tack it down if you must cross any aisles). Attach the device to the tripod and connect your power. Check your power and internet connection on the device. About a half-hour before the service begins make sure the sleep mode on your device is inactive and log in to your chosen stream system. Start your stream and then have someone else log onto your page to make sure it is going out. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re broadcasting, don’t change anything. Let it run until everyone is leaving the service. Just a tip: Save the video for those who couldn’t attend the live stream but want to watch it later on.