When you receive the news of a loved one’s passing, it is commonplace to feel a sense of urgency. This urgency will compel you to go to your loved one in order to see them one last time and say goodbye while being in the presence of a loving family. For immediate family members who live or are in near geographical proximity, planning a visitation, planning a wake, and planning the funeral service gives them the chance to say their dues throughout the end of life process.
Unfortunately, for those who have moved away from their hometowns, whether that be for family, work, or travel, may not have the same opportunity as things like an inability to travel, a strict financial budget, or even illness, may prevent them from making the trip. While this would typically mean that they would miss out on their chance to mourn in a traditional sense, our ability to use digital technology to stream events has made it possible to attend a funeral without actually being physically present.
In this guide, we are going to go over the ins and outs on how funeral services can be live streamed, including what is needed to make it happen (equipment, cost, platforms) and what the benefits of live streaming a funeral service is.
With funerals being such a personal and private event, it may seem odd to some to place it up on the web for far flung individuals to view. While the thought of a service being live streamed may seem foreign, it is not as new as one would think. Many funeral homes have been offering this service since the early 2000s but back then it was called webcasting or remote viewing.
Nowadays, it is growing in popularity as many families want a way to connect with those who are living abroad or on the other side of the country during this period of grief. Reasons behind why you would want to live stream a funeral include:
Enabling frail or sick older individuals, who may not be able to make the trip without consequence, to view the funeral service.
Allowing immigrant families to connect their friends and family members to view the service.
If a burial needs to take place within 24-48 hours for medical or religious reasons, it can be live streamed for those who cannot travel on short notice.
If the loved one who passed away was a prominent figure to the public or to an organization, live streaming may be a good way to allow strangers to pay their respects without overwhelming the funeral home. It also allows the family to keep their in-house funeral feeling tight-knit and close.
The remote video that comes from the livestream (often called a VOD) can be given to the immediate family for re-watching purposes. It is very common to not remember everything at a funeral, just because there are so many people telling stories and sharing in the grief, that it can be difficult to process it all.
While some families may feel uncomfortable with the idea, it is an excellent alternative for those who cannot attend, regardless of the reason.
Other than the obvious benefit of being able to include family members and friends that are unable to attend in person, there are several other benefits to live streaming a funeral service.
Family members and friends are still able to share in the collective compassion of loss, despair, and healing with those who are separated by uncontrollable circumstances.
Live streaming a funeral service creates a lasting memorial or a digital time capsule of the event. This brings solace to those who may want to re-watch and remember the stories told about their loved one, years down the line. In addition to this, this lasting digital footprint of the memories of your loved one can be shared with future generations.
Those who are unable to attend the funeral in person would otherwise be pained or guilt-stricken (sometimes even marginalized), but in being able to remotely view the funeral, they can begin healing from the loss like those in attendance.
It allows everyone within a fairly large social circle to participate in the funeral at the same time, giving one another support and a sense of unity.
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A live stream of the funeral service can be re-casted online for a period of 30-days, so that those who could not view it, do not miss out. If you choose to live stream using your own equipment, you may choose to keep it online for a period that is longer than 30-days.
Live streaming a funeral is quite a bit different than just taking a video of the funeral and sharing this online with close family members and friends. A video that is taken at a funeral and then shared is done so after the fact and is a recounting of an event that is now in the past.
Whereas, a live stream is a transmission of live video coverage online of an event that is happening in real-time. While there may be a few seconds of delay due to feed upload, those who are watching can still consider themselves “in the present moment” watching the event unfold.
Live streaming funeral services is a growing appeal, especially among those who are younger in age, as it tends to be the only option for those who live far away or have health-related, temporal, or financial barriers barring them from attending. If you want to live stream your loved one’s funeral, ask your local funeral home to see if they can do it for you.
While funeral homes do not see it as a replacement for traditional services, it is an additional service that is now being offered as it expands the accessibility of their services. Generally, this service will be offered for a fee.
According to The New York Times, some funeral directors may offer this service for free, while others may charge between $80-300 for it. The Guardian, on the other hand, notes that it can cost between $65-105 for the live stream and an additional fee of $80 for the DVD or VOD of the event.
If you want to live stream the funeral but cannot find a funeral home in your area that has the capability to do so, consider setting up your own equipment to live stream and have it done for free.
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To live stream a funeral online, video cameras and microphones would need to be mounted strategically around the chapel where the service is taking place. If the funeral home is offering this service, they will set up the video cameras and microphones so that they turn on and coincide with the service.
However, if you are planning on live streaming the service yourself, you will need to choose which gear you would like to use. This can range anywhere from video and sound capture devices, recording devices, smartphones and tablets, to professional videography gear.
If you are looking to keep it fairly simple and are not too caught up in professional quality, this can be done with a smartphone or tablet that captures the video and audio and sends it to the application you are live streaming on.
If you want a high-quality live stream, you will need a professional camera, a microphone, a video encoder, a streaming platform or output, a powerful laptop, and a strong internet connection.
Next we will talk about the different individual components and the pros and cons of each.
While there are plenty of components that go into making live streaming work, the main two that are absolutely necessary are video and audio sources. Without a video and an audio source, there is no way for anyone to view or hear what is happening in the chapel, and so you need to use video and audio equipment to capture the event.
Before we get into the different options for this though, we first must understand what a video and audio source is and how it works.
A video source or visual multimedia source is a system that combines a sequence of images to form a moving picture. The video is transmitted with a signal to a screen, where the screen then processes the order in which the images are to be shown. The “source” of a video can be a television broadcast, a VHS tape, a video camera, or even an optical disc. Video has two variants, analog and digital, with analog being video sources like tapes and videocassette recorders, whereas, digital can be smartphones and personal computers.
Videos will almost always have an audio component that corresponds with the images being shown on the screen. An audio source is the term used to describe where the sound comes from that you hear. Common audio sources include music clips, speech, music recordings, live singing/live music, and films.
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There are several available options for video equipment for live streaming as well as pro's and con's to each.
Also known as a camera recorder, a camcorder is an electronic portable recording device that can record live motion video and capture audio for playback at a later time. A camcorder has three main components to it, that being a lens, an imager, and a recorder.
The lens is used to focus and gather environmental light, the imager converts the light into an electrical signal, and the recorder that converts the electrical signal into the digital video and encodes it for storage.
While it is considered a niche product nowadays, it was once a very popular camera recording device when it was first introduced.
It can take impressive videos ranging from high-definition to ultra-definition.
In low light, a camcorder is going to be outperformed by a DSLR camera just simply because the camcorder has a smaller lens.
This is a type of digital video camera that streams or feeds images in real-time through a computer or computer network. It requires software to use so that it can transmit the video in real-time across the internet.
In addition to streaming the video, a recording of the video can be taken and sent via an attachment over the internet through modes like email. However, its sole purpose is to stream video live.
A webcam is extremely easy to set up and use, you simply attach it to your computer and install the software.
A webcam is quite inexpensive to purchase, and it is very small in size.
It allows for face to face communication, even over long-distances.
There is a ton of variety out there to buy.
The resolution of a webcam is quite low compared to handheld cameras & they rely on there being internet for a connection.
They are not very secure and can cause both security and privacy issues as they are easily hacked.
The available positions that a webcam can be at or angles is very limited, requiring you to mess around with it to ensure it is at a flattering angle.
Webcams can be extremely dark in their video feeds if there is poor lighting in the environment. If there is too much lighting, the feed can look washed out.
Webcams can require a lot of bandwidth and data to run, which may result in dropped feeds or dropped frames, if there is too much traffic.
A smartphone is a mobile phone, sometimes referred to as a cellphone, that performs very similar functions of that of a computer (it has an operating system). It can download applications, upload media, have internet access and data access, and typically has a touchscreen interface.
A smartphone is different than a regular cellphone as it does much more than just texting and calling. Extra features of a smartphone include front and rear-end cameras, video recording, extra sensors, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS.
Obtainability. Smartphones are an already widespread commodity, so they are easy to obtain and, chances are, you already have one on hand. This means you can get started using it right away without the need for purchasing more equipment.
Backward Compatibility. Newer smartphones are constantly being released and while this usually means an inflated price tag, it also means being able to get your hands on an older phone that can capture footage.
High Quality Footage. Smartphones are surprisingly powerful and, with a little skill, can easily capture high quality footage that can match most camera equipment. Plus, you can add on some inexpensive accessories to increase the quality of your footage.
Portability. Due to its small size, a smartphone is easy to transport. The most you’ll need is a small bag to carry any accessories, or the phone if you don’t have any pockets.
Usability. Smartphones have a very intuitive design, so they are easy to pick up and start filming with almost right away. If you run into any trouble, a simple tutorial can show you what you need to know in a matter of minutes.
Battery Usage. A smartphone’s camera uses much more power than say, browsing the internet, thus it drains the battery much more quickly. This can be countered with short filming sessions and investing in external power sources.
File Size. Video files are quite large on their own, so your phone’s storage may fill up quickly. You can avoid this by making videos short, having more internal storage, adding external storage if it’s an option, or making sure to transfer video files off of your phone as soon as possible.
Lack of On-Hand Control. Many stock camera apps don’t have a lot of options integrated into the app, and instead keep these options hidden in settings. This means you may have to download a third-party camera application in order to have the on-hand controls you may need.
DSLRs have huge sensors which convert light into video. These larger sensors provide high-quality and sharp imagery while having a very shallow depth of field. This also means that you can shoot great footage in low light conditions.
They have a “film like” quality to them and for their price range, this is an incredible deal/investment if you are planning on shooting a lot of high-resolution video. They get this cinema-like quality due to their frame rates of 24-60 frames per second.
They focus quickly and have minimal shutter delays, ensuring that you do not miss out on the image you are trying to shoot.
They have manual overrides for most functions including color balancing, temperature, flash output, autofocus modes, and more.
They have continuous shooting, so you can see the live image through the viewfinder without delays.
They have a wide range of lenses, filters, and flashes that you can add on to customize the shoot.
DSLRs shoot in a high compressed format, so the file sizes of your videos will be relatively small.
While DSLRs were built for still shots, their video capabilities have come a long way and are now one of the highest on the market with regards to quality. Unfortunately, their audio capabilities are still pretty crude. This means that you will need to buy a portable audio recorder that can be plugged into the microphone that you are using.
You may end up with shaky footage if you do not use a stabilizer or tripod, as DSLRs can be pretty light in weight.
Because DSLRs shoot in a high compressed format, you cannot heavily color grade your footage without pixilation as too much luminance data is dropped.
You must be flexible in your video range, as most lenses that come with a DSLR are not zoom lenses. You will need to get comfortable with the feel, angle, and distance.
They will not work with a standard XLR microphone.
Resolution changes with frame rate which can cause mismatches during the editing process.
The options for audio equipment are limited for to external microphones and embedded microphones for live streaming. Each option will give the added listening option to viewers but each also comes with positive and negative factors to consider.
Both smartphones and cameras have imbedded microphones that give you a one-stop way to record visually and audibly. And because they are easily hand-held, it creates a hassle free way to record audibly and live stream a service.
Using the embedded microphone on your smartphone can capture you some great audio if you optimize the microphone and have the right environmental factors on your side.
You can change the audio quality to “lossless” so that it comes out uncompressed. This gives you much better audio sound but takes up more storage.
You can also set your phone on the “do not disturb” setting and no notifications will interrupt your audio session. Plus, you can download a voice application to get better quality as well.
Using the built-in microphone on a camera is fine when you are taking short clips of audio in unprofessional settings like on vacations or in your backyard.
You wouldn’t have to purchase an external microphone to add to your camera.
The negatives though are that you must keep your phone steady otherwise you might get broken sound, you must minimize environmental noise, and you need to get as close to the sound source as possible.
Unfortunately, if you really want professional sound quality, the built-in microphone in a camera is going to be inadequate. It really should be a last resort choice, as it will be very small and omnidirectional, meaning that it will pick up all ambient sounds in a 360-degree radius.
This means that it is sensitive to breathing, sounds in the immediate vicinity, and wind which will drown out any speech.
Arguably the biggest advantage of having an external microphone is the ability to record higher quality audio, potentially from a different vantage point than where you’re filming from.
In other words, you can film standing farther back, capturing a wider angle, while having a microphone right near whoever is speaking, giving you great quality audio in addition to capturing a better shot. Inversely, arguably the biggest disadvantage of having an external microphone is the extra cost of the equipment necessary.
Types of external mics include the following:
Mobile attachments and accessories are an easy alternative to large setups. Additionally, a wide range of these accessories are available, so there’s an almost guarantee that you’ll find what you need. This could range from a more powerful mic attachment to a wireless mic.
Handheld mics are great for situations where you need to capture audio while on the move, as they are able to detach from their stands and be carried to where they’re needed. This usually requires a computer setup, but there are models available for mobile units as well, such as the Shure SM58-LC.
Video encoding is the conversion process of compressing a digital video file and converting it from one format to another. When a video is recorded, the device it is recorded on will give the video file a particular format with certain specifications.
When you go to publish the video online, you want to have it converted into a file format that will be accessible and viewable on the platform you are publishing it too. Encoding simply converts the original source to another output format.
During live streams, an encoder will compress your live video feed down to a manageable size so that it can be rapidly transmitted to the broadcasting platform you are on. Without encoding, an uncompressed 1080p video frame is 6 Megabytes, and if you want to showcase this at 60 frames-per-second, you will need a 3-gigabyte upload speed. If you do not have this upload speed, your live stream will lag and drop frames.
While these devices do have support for H.264 video codec, meaning that they can playback H.264 video, they rely on their hardware to accelerate the video files. It may be better to use an actual software application for live streaming through your mobile device instead of relying on the built-in option.
A software encoder is reliant on the CPU of your computer, which is why you need a computer with high processing power.
They are extremely affordable as most of them come at no cost to you.
They are extremely flexible and come with a ton of built-in features like switching capability, effects, overlays, and multiple feed broadcasting.
You can customize the bitrate and encoding type.
They work only as good as the computer that runs them. If you have a low-end CPU, you’re going to have a tough time getting a high-quality stream.
They have slower encoding capability which means higher latency.
If you are multitasking or have a lower-end computer, you are not going to get great performance.
A hardware encoder will come as a physical standalone device that will be packed with an encoding algorithm and a processing unit. It will also come with an interface that will allow you to interact with the available options.
You will get fantastic performance even if you are streaming in really high-quality.
They have one purpose, to encode, which means you will get reliability.
You will have lower latency as the hardware can encode at a higher speed.
They will run you a couple hundred dollars to pick one up.
They have one function, so you will need additional gear for other areas of your stream.
They very rarely upgrade themselves. You would need to buy the newest version outright instead.
The bitrate is the number of data bits that can be transmitted along the digital network on a per second basis. The higher the bitrate, the quicker the data can flow.
The frames per second is the number of times that the image on the screen is refreshed on a per second basis.
AAC simply means advanced audio coding which is the standard for digital audio compression.
The H.264 is the standard at which the video is being digitally compressed.
RTMP means Real Time Messaging Protocol and is popular due to its flawless streaming capabilities. It can stream FLV and MP4 video formats, as well as, MP3 and AAC audio formats.
Protocol: RTMP Streaming.
Video Codec: H264.
Audio Codec: AAC.
Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps.
Audio Sample Rate: 44.1 KHz.
Frame Rate: 30 or 60 frames-per-second.
Bitrate Encoding: CBR.
Resolution: 4K at 2160p or 3840 at 2160p at 30 or 60 frames per second needs either H.264 5.1 or H.264 5.2 respectively.
Bitrate: 13,000-34,000 Kbps at 30 frames and 20,000-51,000 Kbps at 60 frames.
Resolution: 1440p or 2560 at 1440p at 30 or 60 frames per second needs either H.264 5.0 or H.264 5.1 respectively.
Bitrate: 6,000-13,000 Kbps at 30 frames and 9,000-18,000 Kbps at 60 frames.
Resolution: 1920 at 1080p at 30 or 60 frames per second needs either H.264 4.1 or H.264 4.2 respectively.
Bitrate: 3,000-6,000 Kbps at 30 frames and 4,500-9000 Kbps at 60 frames.
Resolution: 1280 at 720p at 30 or 60 frames per second needs H.264 4.1 or lower.
Bitrate: 1,500-4000 Kbps for 30 frames and 2,250-6,000 Kbps at 60 frames.
Note: The most common range for bitrate is 4,500-6,000 at 1080p at 60 frames or 3,500-5,000 at 30 frames. For 720p the most common range for bitrate is 3,500-5,000 for 60 frames and 2,300-4,000 for 30 frames.
A live streaming platform is an online website that allows you to broadcast reliably around the globe in real-time, connect with viewers through a chat interface, and even monetize your content. There are live streaming platforms targeted at business communications and others that are targeted at gaming.
Basic features of a live streaming platform are automatic VOD archiving, a universal and compatible video player, basic analytics, live chat/viewer interaction, and encoder support. Some streaming platforms will provide advanced features like privacy control, social media integration, live embedding and customized players.
This is a streaming platform that works extremely well with smartphones. It is owned by Twitter which works well for those who have large social circles on that social media platform.
Periscope is free to use, is available on Google Play and IOS App Store, and it allows viewers on PC to see your stream whether they have an account or not.
Those with Apple TV can stream it on their television and you can save your broadcast on the platform for as long as you want.
There is also a chat feature/interaction and you can stream without sharing your location.
You will get constant notifications pop up on the smartphone you are streaming with as people interact with you.
There is no censorship in the chatline.
There is only 24-hour playback of a stream.
If you have a Facebook account and a smartphone, you can stream through Facebook’s live streaming platform called Facebook Live.
Facebook Live is free, it is as easy as just hitting the button to go live, and it allows you to download the video to save to your computer.
Facebook Live does have an interactive chat and an emoji system, but you may want to turn this off for a funeral service.
This platform works really well for memorials or funeral services if the majority of those who cannot attend, have a Facebook account.
If you want the live video to be accessible to those without accounts, you will need to adjust your settings to that of public, which not everyone is going to want to do as it means that anyone can view the funeral service.
Unfortunately, for those who want to livestream using anything but a smartphone and its built-in camera, you would have to set up a workaround.
If you have a Youtube account or a Google account, you can live stream a funeral service directly from your webcam, your DSLR camera, your smartphone, or even through your personal computer with an HDMI cable. The only catch is that you will need to verify your Youtube account first in order to live stream.
You can make the stream open to the world OR you can set your settings so that those with a link are the only ones who can watch.
Youtube offers a chatline with interactive chat and has its own encoding.
The broadcast can be saved, embedded, and shared across your Youtube channel, blogs, or other social media platforms.
Clunky sharing during live streaming and latency issues.
If you want to share your live stream content during the live stream, you will need to share it on other platforms which is done by opening up a new window. Doing this will pull you out of the live stream.
You may also come across latency issues as you will need to prioritize either video quality or real-time engagement.
The higher the quality, the more resources needed which may lead to some delay or buffering.
Vimeo Live, Livestream, IBM's Cloud Video (formerly Ustream), BrightCove, DaCast, and WoWZA. There are other platforms out there that you may come across like Twitch and Mixer, but these are targeted at gaming and are not suitable for funeral services.
It is recommended that for live streaming you are using a dedicated internet connection. This means that the device you are using to stream from should be hardwired into the internet modem (or router). Why? It has the most stability, faster speeds, higher bandwidth and better protection.
A hardwired ethernet connection runs a ethernet line from your modem or router directly to your computer. This is known as a dedicated internet line.
A hardwired ethernet has greater bandwidth than any other type, allowing for it to support multiple networks within large companies, schools and organizations.
It also has much faster speeds with lower latency, allowing for multi-channel communications.
A hardwired connection can be better managed and protected by firewalls.
There is a lack of mobility with ethernet as it is a wired connection.
It can be more costly as you may need to install new jacks, run cables, and drill holes for said cables.
Ethernet does not work in computers that do not have any ports.
WiFi provides users with a wireless connection to the internet. In so long as your device has a wireless card or capability built-in, you can connect to any available WiFi spot (barring needing a password).
The biggest advantage that WiFi has is you can connect multiple devices to the internet simultaneously without needing to run ethernet cables throughout the building.
If you are using multiple devices on the wireless network, you can run into a slower connection as a finite amount of data can be sent through the network at one time.
WiFi itself is also slower than an ethernet connection in general, making it less stable to use.
While you can set passwords for your internet network, failure to set one leaves you open to intrusion.
WiFi is not recommended for streaming due to how slow the connection is.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology that will provide an enhanced mobile broadband connection via smartphones.
5G will be 100 times faster than 4G networks with transmission speeds up to 10Gbps.
It will have 10 times less latency than current technology.
It will increase how many devices can communicate with one another through the connection without slowing down the network.
There is lack of information surrounding the infrastructure required to make 5G a reality.
The area covered by individual 5G coverage will be less as it uses millimeter-wave range.
There may be more security threats with more people transferring high-quality data across the network.
5G will have much faster speeds than the current 4G networks, meaning that it could definitely be used for live streaming.
It is recommended that if you are going to be streaming at 480p (30fps) resolution, you will want a minimum of 3Mbps, whereas, at 720p (30fps) you should have at least 6Mbps. If you are planning on live streaming at 1080p (30 or 60 fps), it is recommended that your upload speed be at least 6-13Mbps.
Why is this?
It is easy to see 4,000 kbps and think, 4Mbps would cover you but this is wrong as you need an upload of 4,160 kilobits per second constantly. It is good to have a 35-40% buffer on your upload speed to ensure a stable connection. If you want to stream 4K video, you are going to need at least 24-60 Mbps upload speed.
To test your internet speed, use one of the many speed test options online. The recommended ones to do this with are speedtest.net and FAST.com. If you need to run multiple tests to compare or test your mobile internet, use SpeedOf.Me.
Because these are online tests, don’t be surprised if their website pages have advertisements on them. You can also use Google.com by typing in internet speed test in the search box and then using the Run Speed Test button that pops up in the search results.
You’ll have to decide what you’re using to film and capture audio. A mobile device, such as a smartphone, is the simplest to setup and use. It’s recommended to have something to keep your recording device still, like a tripod. This will reduce the likelihood of any disruptive movement during your recording.
If you have an external microphone in mind, make sure you know how to setup and use it, as what is said and shared is the most important part of a funeral. Additionally, make sure you will have a stable internet connection to avoid any disruptions.
There are many platforms to choose from, but the easiest and most widely used is Facebook Live. Simply change your status to live and Facebook will automatically take care of the rest.
This will make the stream available to view by anyone connected to you through Facebook, so make sure that anyone who wishes to attend has an account and is part of your network.
As with informing people when the funeral service will take place, you’ll have to get the word out that a livestream will be taking place, as well as when it is so that anyone who wants to watch is able to.
Facebook live does contain a feature that notifies your contacts when you go live, however, you should give people time to prepare for what they’re about to witness.
When the time comes, start your recording and capture as much of the service as you can while being as unobtrusive as possible. This usually means you’ll be finding a spot to stay in until the end of the funeral, so be sure to choose a spot that’s out of the way, but still offers you a good angle. You do not want to zoom in at all!
Be sure to monitor the recording throughout the service so that you can correct any problems as soon as they arise.
After the service has ended and you’ve stopped filming, be sure to save a copy of the video. This will allow anyone who wasn’t able to attend the live stream to watch it later, in addition to anyone being able to watch it again if they desire to.
Facebook Live will automatically save a copy of the live stream to your profile as soon as you stop recording. You can then save it to another location simply by downloading and choosing where to keep it.
Make sure that the spot you choose to capture the funeral service has good lighting, that it is quiet and away from outside ambient noises, and has a nice, clean background to it.
Make sure that your upload speed is above 3 Mbps as this will allow you to stream in standard definition. Ideally though, you want at least 10 Mbps.
Most live streamers will use a camera, have lighting, have a tripod, and a computer/laptop.
Make sure that all of your equipment is in working order before the live stream starts. Have fully charged batteries and backups with you.
Prepare any materials you will need to introduce the live stream, such as visual elements, music, or images.
If you are going with a single camera setup, you want to use encoding software. Make sure that all of your sources are added into the software, adjust the video’s colors, brightness and saturation, and adjust the microphone’s settings. Make sure to connect with the live streaming platform of your choice.
Have an account created and make sure you can stream on it. Have the proper privacy settings set and make sure that your profile is professional and neat. Also consider writing out your title and description beforehand, so that you can place this in without too much hassle before the live stream starts.
Doing a dry run at the funeral chapel will allow you to watch and analyze the quality of the stream and adjust elements accordingly.
The answer to this is completely dependent on what items you already have and what setup you want to go with. A smartphone stream setup could cost you as little as $250 - $400 if you need to buy an external microphone, a wide-angle lens, a few lighting elements, and a tripod.
A single camera setup could cost you quite a bit more, especially if you need to purchase the camera, the laptop, and the tripod. You’re looking at a budget of $900 - $3000 depending on whether you buy a camcorder or a DSLR + laptop.
The ability to watch a funeral service when you can't be present can go a long way with feeling connected. However often times you want something more - especially if it was a loved you were particularly close to. Cremation jewelry, fingerprint jewelry and ashes into jewelry can go a long way to helping you feel close to that special person that has passed.
You can also help those family members that are far away when live streaming a funeral or memorial service. Personalized memorial gifts such as memorial coins, photo engraved jewelry and memorial bookmarks make a wonderful and personal gift to family and friends and can help them to feel connected from far away.
Having one external microphone connected to your camera or smartphone will work during a funeral service that has one person speaking at a time. However, if there are multiple audio sources like music and a speaker going at the same time, having a mixer will give you control over the volumes and tones of these sound sources.
A high-quality mixer like the Behringer XENYX would do lovely for a funeral service.
It is definitely recommended that you invest in a good tripod regardless of whether you are using a smartphone setup or a DSLR setup. A tripod is going to be reliable, sturdy, and eliminate camera movements as it keeps your hands off the streaming device.
If you want to add in special introductions during the live event, you will need software that allows you to incorporate desktop-like animations, effects, and overlays to your stream. Some computer streaming software like Twitch’s OBS and XSplit will have built-in overlays that allow you to do this.
A single camera setup is likely to get you what you want. Generally, a multicam setup is for professional content creators who are broadcasting interviews, demonstrations, and live competitions. This does not mean that you can’t use a multicam setup for the funeral service, just that you will need a bigger budget, more equipment, and more know-how to get it done well.
If you choose to go with a video camera setup instead of a webcam or mobile device, you will need an encoding device. If you are not in the business of live streaming funerals and are doing this as a close family member, it is a cheaper and better option to go with encoding software. However, this will require a more powerful computer and you will need a capture device to connect your camera to the computer.
Get yourself a power bank!
If you are using a camcorder, DSLR, and encoding software, you will definitely need a capture card. A capture card is used to capture external devices, acts as a receiver for their input data, and transmits the signal.
It is recommended that you have an Intel I7, at least 8-16 GB of RAM, and an SSD (solid state drive). You should also have a dedicated graphics card that has H.264/H.265 (HEVC) encoding and decoding support.
If you are planning on using a smartphone or a DSLR camera, then you will need a stabilizer and a tripod. If you are using a tablet, a tripod works. You will also need HDMI cables.
A Panasonic GH2/3/4, Canon 5D, or Sony A7 line. As for camcorders, the Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V180K, Canon VIXIA HF R800, or the Sony FDRAX33 Handycam.
We are going to recommend two types of setups here, one that is super easy and a second that will provide you with a more professional feel.
Wi-Fi Camera Setup
You will need either a smartphone, tablet, or webcam. You will need access to extremely good and stable Wi-Fi (or consider using data) and consider purchasing a tripod (optional). This is a basic, single camera setup that allows you to stream directly to social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube. Limitations are lower quality, plain videos, and dropped feeds.
Single High-Definition Camera Setup
This will give you a more polished looking live stream that will capture the event in a higher resolution. You need an HD video camera or camcorder, a laptop, a tripod, a video encoder, and a portable Wi-Fi device (or use data). This is recommended over the Wi-Fi camera setup as it has a dedicated camera and dedicated encoder.
If you cannot get your hands on a high-quality external microphone, consider using a regular microphone with an amplifier. This allows sounds to be captured from farther away in a clearer condition. This is perfect for those who are using devices with poor built-in microphones like camcorders and smartphones.
If you opt in for a local funeral home’s live streaming service, make sure to ask about copyright infringement. Funeral homes have to buy a music license to use the music and then a streaming license to broadcast these pieces outside of the chapel. Some funeral homes get confused by the fact that they need both, and so it is good to ensure that they have these fees set up and ready to go.
Invest in a tripod and an audio mixer to ensure that you are getting the most stable video quality and the highest audio quality available.
While many people will want to call those within the immediate family to inform them of the live stream, you can also invite and let attendees know about the live stream through email, text messages, printed card (if the funeral is far off), and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure to include the link to the where the live stream will take place, include the password, and the date and time. You may also want to include a personal note to encourage family and friends to watch.
Live streaming the funeral services of a loved one is a wonderful option for families that live far apart or have other circumstances such as illness or budget that may prevent friends and family members from attending. Knowing what equipment will be needed, the technical aspects of encoding and choosing the best streaming platform will help get you going in the right direction.
Updated February 7, 2023 by Frances Kay