Setting up and running a live stream funeral or memorial service takes an eye for detail, access to the right equipment, and a level of familiarity with technology. Many people will be counting on the individual or team that is performing this critical task. This article will outline the equipment you need, how to set up and some pitfalls to avoid.
Setting Up Your Environment for a Livestream Service
In some cases you will be working in a familiar location, especially if you are holding a memorial service in your home or that of a friend or relative. In other cases the environment may not be familiar to you or you may not have as much control over how the environment is set up. This may be the case if the event will be held outdoors at a location such as a cemetery or indoors at a funeral home, church or chapel.
Some factors to consider about the location include:
- Access to a reliable Internet connection with wifi or a hotspot
- Access to a power source
- Lighting (consider the time of day and whether artificial lighting will be necessary)
- Weather forecast (bright sun, cloudy, precipitation)
- Access to the location in advance
Access to the location in advance can be very helpful for testing your equipment set up. For our clients, we recommend doing a trial run with your equipment in advance of the event to make sure everything runs smoothly when the service starts.
The video capture can be done using a newer model of smartphone or a tablet with Internet connectivity. For better quality or for those who are more comfortable with technology, a DSLR camera can be used if available.
If you are using a smartphone or tablet, we strongly recommend that you mount the device on a tripod for the best stability. Device mounting clips and tripods can be purchased inexpensively from Amazon at this link.
If you are using a camera, we also recommend using a tripod. You will need to connect the camera to a laptop using a Cam link. This allows your computer to recognize the camera as a webcam. Here is a link to the Camlink on Amazon that we recommend. You will also need to check your camera to determine the correct USB cable that you will need to connect to the Cam link.
If you are going to have a 2-way communication channel with speakers or guests who join online, we recommend setting up a large display screen and connecting it to your device. The Virtual Memorial Gatherings technician will be able to control what appears on the screen and will work with the on-site videographer to coordinate the settings required.
You will need to download and install the applicable Zoom app for your device or laptop. Here is a link to the Zoom download center. If you already have Zoom installed, check to see if you have the latest version of the app.
Before the Event
- Conduct a technical rehearsal in advance
- Make sure your devices are fully charged or you have access to a power source
- Turn off notifications on your device(s)
Positioning your Camera
If you’re using a smartphone it should be positioned to capture as much of the scene as possible while still being close enough to the speakers to pick up the audio at sufficient volume. If you’re using a camera you may want to use an external mic or a boom mic mounted on your camera. We will work with you in advance of the live event to test the audio and video.
Who Should Be Your Videographer?
While a family member may be capable of performing the video capture, a memorial or funeral service can be a very emotional time and it may be difficult to focus on the task. Also consider whether a family member might feel that they are not able to be there and fully share “in the moment” if they are also trying to run the livestream.
If your budget permits, we recommend having a professional videographer on-site to take on this important role. A professional video capture will enhance the experience for the online guests as well as provide you with a pleasing and lasting legacy when you receive the video recording of the event.
Hiring someone to take care of running the livestream for you will also allow you, your family, and your friends to focus on the service, the memories you want to share with each other, and the support you can both give and receive from each other.
In summary, taking care of the details well in advance and following through on your plan will make for a smooth event. It is good to be mindful of creating a pleasing experience for both the in-person and virtual audience. In many cases the virtual audience could be the largest.
If you’d like to consult with us for further support or to obtain the service of a professional videographer we would be happy to assist you. Please use the button below to book a free 30-minute phone consult.