An unexpected result of COVID-19 has been the continued demand for streaming funeral services. With COVID-19, many could not travel, or many were too ill to attend the services of a lost loved one. Video streaming to a platform, such as YouTube, became an ideal solution for those unable to attend. Now that things have settled down with the pandemic, many have found that video streaming is still a viable option, especially for the elderly or family members that could be as far away as another country and want to be included in the services of putting a loved one to rest.
We have partnered with many funeral homes and churches throughout the region to provide this service.
The process typically starts with either a funeral director or family member reaching out to us with their desire to stream a funeral related event. This may be a service at the funeral home, church, or even graveside. We have streamed calling hours which entailed a wide-angle camera simply showing the attendees as they were attending, recording messages of support for family who could not attend the live services and streamed eulogies and other ceremonies, both within the formal service or after the service. When pre-planning we will coordinate dates and times associated with the services and/or ceremonies, obtain information about the decedent, and other information including contact information, billing information, etc. At this time, we may ask that a deposit be paid for our services.
From this initial conversation we will determine the best platform to use for the streaming event. Many times, we utilize a YouTube page already established by a funeral home or church, but other options include Zoom, WebEx, GOTO, etc. Once a platform is defined, we will configure a link and access directions for distribution to friends, family, etc. This link is also typically included in the obituary for others to connect, as appropriate. The distribution and sharing of this link is done at the direction of those making the initial contact with our studio. We can also limit distribution to not go beyond the person who is coordinating this service if that is your wish.
On the day of the funeral or ceremony, our crew will arrive about 30-45 minutes prior to the start unless other arrangements were made previously. Typically, we send out a single crew member for these types of services, however in the event special requirements dictate, additional crew members will be sent. Our staffing plan will be communicated with you during our initial call after we understand your requirements and/or expectations. This crew member will set up equipment, ensuring video feeds, audio feeds, and internet connectivity is all working prior to the start of your service or ceremony.
Prior to the start of your service, we will establish an streaming conduit and begin broadcasting your event as discussed.
While this is typically a flawless, straightforward process, it is important to note that there can be unforeseen issues that may interrupt a video stream. One can have the most advanced cameras, most experienced videographer, and the best plan in place, but if the stream is interrupted, it simply will not be broadcasted. While an occasional issue with the YouTube platform has resulted in a drop, the most common issues are associated with the loss of internet connection.
Since we began this service, we have had minimal issues, but it is important to note that they can occur. For this reason, we have a planned “safety net” in place.
For every event, ceremony, or service we stream, we make a recording within the camera. In the event we have an issue with a weak signal or the stream completely dropping, we have a full recorded version of the event. Then we can either uploaded it to a distribution platform (like YouTube) for future viewing or deliver on other media (DVD disc, USB thumb-drive, or hard drive). Some clients wish to have media in addition to successful streaming as well.
After we are done with the streaming of the event, service, or ceremony, we simply pack up. Depending on the need for media (streaming issue or client preference) we may head back to the studio for immediate completion or address the creation of media on the next business day.
Following the completion of all work, a final invoice reflecting the work completed and rates agreed upon during our initial discussion is sent to the billing contact for payment.
When we were first contacted about streaming funerals and related events, our owners had extensive deliberations and discussions with many in the community before agreeing to provide this type of service. Original concerns were expressed with how video streaming would affect the grieving process, the family interaction, and the healing process. We are pleased to report that in our experience as a provider, we have seen many benefits from giving the ability to those who could not attend because of illness, distance, or conflict to share in the grieving process remotely. The ability to have replay and be able to reflect later was favorably acknowledged. Like the use of any service, there needs to be an appropriate evaluation and consideration of the pros, cons, cost, etc. We believe this service has helped many and we are pleased to continue to offer it to support those in need during what is often a difficult time for many.