Planning a Virtual or Zoom Funeral or Memorial Service

Oh how times have changed. With our current restrictions in place, even things like funerals and memorial services have been impacted. With many areas restricted to only a few people or immediate family, the celebration of life that is shared with the whole community is harder to do. Recently we’ve seen an increase in people requesting a Virtual or Zoom Funeral or Memorial service. At a recent memorial service (mass and burial) we had almost 300 viewers either Live or within 48 hours of the service.

So, now that streaming, zoom, and web based virtual options are being considered viable solutions. I put together some information to help you understand the various options that are available for your funeral / memorial services.

Live Streamed Memorial

While of course your smart phone can be used, we look at providing a more specialized live stream. With the use of 4K cameras, and wireless mic systems the quality of a stream goes up dramatically. You can choose single camera systems, or even multiple camera systems with 3 – 5 cameras and additional audio sources. When Streaming, the result is typically a “broadcast”. While your family and friends can use the chat options during the stream, it’s a one way process, a broadcast.

Zoom Funeral

Here I may bring just a laptop computer with a single camera and wireless microphone that connects to Zoom. An option we offer is a being there station. This is a 40″ monitor, a camera, speaker and wireless microphone. Not only can your Family and Friends be with you during the service, you can also interact with them immediately afterwards.

Virtual Funeral Guest Experience

So, where do we stream or zoom these remote or web based funeral / memorial services too? – For streaming I’ll often use YouTube set to unlisted and then linked to a private page on our website. Here your guests have access to a single place where all of your memorial links can be listed…

– Memorial Photo
– Poem or Memorial Message
– Program
– Virtual Guestbook
– Memory Slideshow
– Streaming Links and Details
– and anything else you want to share

I’ll also use Zoom, Crowdcast, Facebook, etc., for publishing. This is an area we’ll discuss to find the best fit for your memorial service and your guests.

What about connectivity to the Internet?

Here are several methods that can be used with remote funerals.

1) Using a cell phone as a hotspot. – While the simplest, also the most unreliable. Not only do we need to worry about that carriers coverage, speed and bandwidth, are you inside or outside, but also possible interference from everyone else’s cell phone.

2) Using church or location WiFi. – When indoors this is often a good option. The concern is that when streaming we need a SOLID connection with at least 10 mbs upload speed. This can also be influenced by the number of users that have access. When outside, the WiFi may not have repeaters so coverage will be less.

3) Using a dedicated encoder / bonded connection. – Since there are no do overs with funeral services, I’ll use dedicated hot spot modems as well as an encoder that includes bonding. So, let’s break this down… An Encoder is used to professionally stream data to the service that is hosting the stream. Bonding is where 3 data modems (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) all sending your stream at the same time. In the “cloud” the 3 different connections are “bonded” together to provide a redundant set of streams. We’ve got to be pretty remote or in a very heavily “shielded” building to not be able to get a usable connection.

What about a finished Funeral or Memorial Film?

Ahhhh… An option I have with all of the streaming options is to film your service with 3 cameras and additional audio. While not always used for the Streaming or Zoom options, I take all of the footage and audio into the studio and create an edited finished film. I guess the biggest part of this is that when streaming audio, it good but when I get into the studio I have ways of making it even better.

OK. I’m thinking that your probably a little overwhelmed and really just want to know if a Virtual or Zoom Funeral or Memorial Service will work for you. For just about everyone the answer is yes. Give me a call and we can discuss the how so we can address your specific location and needs.

Send me a note or call 707-481-7282

Thanks – Ken

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