How to Live Stream A Funeral
Published on June 16, 2021
The Coronavirus pandemic and all the travel bans, curfews, and lockdowns that have come with it have greatly affected how we plan and attend social events like funerals. And although there were still people who found it hard to attend funerals in the pre-COVID era due to distance and urgent obligations, things have gotten much worse with the pandemic.
Fortunately, live streaming a funeral can help bring together all close family members and friends to honor and celebrate the deceased's life, irrespective of the distance between them.
What Does Live Streaming Entail?
Live streaming is basically broadcasting an event to people in different locations through a phone, tablet, or laptop connected to the internet. To live stream a funeral (or any event), you need a device with a camera, a live streaming app (or software), and an internet connection.
Depending on how sleek you want your stream to be, you can either use a streaming app - which means all your viewers will have to download it as well - or stream through popular social media apps like Facebook and Instagram.
With that said, here is a more technical breakdown of the steps involved in setting up a live stream:
Choose a Streaming Service
The type of service you select should not only be informed by your resources and preferences, but also by those of the intended viewers. Further, you need to first establish whether the event's venue has Wi-Fi capability or you'll need to fork out a few extra bucks for data (streaming requires A LOT of data).
Some viable streaming services include:
YouTube is one of the most popular websites/applications, and there's a big chance that most, if not all of your viewers, will easily watch your stream if you decide to go this way. Further, you can start a YouTube stream on your PC, which means you only need your laptop and webcam, which is a contrast to mobile streaming, where you need a tripod for stability.
Nonetheless, if you prefer to use your phone, YouTube also has a mobile streaming option available. However, this option is only available if you have at least 1,000 subscribers, which potentially means you may have to borrow one of your kids' or younger siblings' accounts.
All things considered, though, YouTube is a great live streaming service. It allows you to send private invitations and subsequently restrict who accesses your stream. If you wish to learn more, check out the full guides on how to get started on desktop and on mobile.
Zoom is a fairly new platform that allows you to set up events (called meetings), invite attendees, and seamlessly stream the proceedings. The service also allows viewers to chat with other viewers and the host, and gives the host the right to mute attendees to avoid distractions. Another great feature is the waiting room feature which allows time to vet and accept every attendee before they join your stream.
For the most part, Zoom is free but if you plan on having more than 100 attendees, you may need to get the Zoom Pro Package, which goes for $14.99/mo.
Instagram is a decent streaming platform especially if your audience is predominantly young. For one, it allows you to easily stream from your phone and doesn't have the many restrictions of YouTube. If you fancy some privacy, you can create a new private account and only accept the requests of your invited friends and family members.
If you're still new to the app, here's a great guide on how to start a live stream on Instagram.
Facebook is arguably the most popular social media site and you certainly won't receive any complaints if you choose to stream from your page as most people already have a Facebook account. This also means you don't need to explain to people how to access your page and stream. The Facebook comments feature also makes it easier for your viewers to communicate amongst themselves and with you during the stream.
From your perspective, going live on Facebook is an easy and straightforward affair as you can do it from any device. The site also avails a good number of privacy features, which include the options to broadcast to your friends only, to the whole world, or to members of a certain group (the recommended choice).
Share the Stream Information With Family and Friends and Seek Their Views
After selecting a streaming medium, inform your family and friends of the same and also send them the link (if available). The best way to coordinate the entire thing would be through a memorial website like Ever Loved, which allows you to embed the stream's link so that anyone who accesses your Ever Loved page can join the proceedings just by clicking the Watch button. This saves you the hassle of sending out invites and event updates to every individual viewer.
Choose a Recording Spot
It is advisable to scout the general location of the event and choose a vantage recording spot ahead of time. Of course, you may need to test out various spots to find one that has the perfect shooting conditions. Once you find it, do a test stream for a limited audience and thereafter, seek their suggestions on how to make the spot more apt for live streaming.
Choose Someone to "Host" The Stream
If you will be focused on the actual recording, you will not have time for anything else (which is fine as multitasking in that situation can mess you up). So, designate someone, preferably one familiar with the streaming service you chose, to serve as the host. Their work will generally be to monitor the stream and check for any breakdowns in the audio or video and even the link itself. The idea is for them to spot any problems with the stream and inform you in good time so you can fix them.
The host should also be responsible for accepting join requests (if you're using Zoom), and communicating with the viewers.
Engage Your Audience
The physically detached nature of virtual events means that audience participation is likely to decrease during the course of the event. To prevent this, you need to keep your audience engaged throughout, which as mentioned above, may require the help of a designated host.
Some Ways to Increase Viewer Participation:
- Request them to send their favorite memories or stories about the departed soul before the funeral then either select one person in physical attendance to read them out or invite some of the virtual audience to read their messages.
- Invite them to post their comments, messages and general feedback on your Ever Loved website even as they watch the service.
- Ask them to submit their favorite photos or videos of, or with the deceased before the funeral then use them to create a montage to play during the event.
Bringing together people who are spread out in many locations can be hectic and stressful but it's always a worthy endeavor to get everyone involved with a departed person to take part in their funeral or memorial service. And at a time where almost everyone has a smartphone or a computer and internet, live streaming is perhaps the best way to achieve this.
Published on June 16, 2021