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5 Ways Technology Is Improving The Traditional Funeral Service March 24, 2021

funeral service

Funeral service technology has come a long way. From online obituaries and memorial slideshows to live streams, the merging of the technology and funeral industries is helping people grieve in a new and different way.

Technological advancements have also made funeral planning not only more accessible but also more flexible, giving people a variety of options when it comes to end-of-life and pre-planning. Here are a few ways you can incorporate technology into your or your loved one’s funeral.

Online Obituaries

Most people know about the recent decline in newspaper printing, circulation, and purchases, but what does that mean for obituaries? It’s actually better news than you might think. Placing an obituary in the newspaper can get expensive because most publications charge by the word, not to mention Sunday placements can be even more costly than weekday placements. Not to mention, newspapers run on deadlines, which can be stressful when you’re trying to plan a funeral.

Enter online obituaries, a less expensive option that not only offers you more flexibility but also lasts for years to come. You can also share links to online obituaries with your friends and family via email or on social media to reach people who don’t live near you.

Funeral Service Live Stream

People have been live streaming funeral services for a while, but the demand and popularity for live stream options skyrocketed with the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Even outside of COVID-19, there are a number of reasons to consider live streaming your or your loved one’s funeral service.

Most people have friends and family members who might not be able to travel, whether they live too far away or are sick, elderly, or unable to attend for another reason. 

Live streaming also means that you’ll have a video of the funeral after it’s over that you and your family can revisit for years to come in order to grieve and process the loss of your loved one and celebrate their life.

How to Live Stream A Funeral

Some funeral homes offer live streaming technology and equipment, while others don’t, so be sure to check if this is an option when you’re planning a funeral service. Some families also prefer to take care of it on their own regardless of the funeral home’s offerings.

From smartphones to professional gear, there is a variety of video and audio recording technology available for your live streaming use. You can certainly keep things simple and use your personal cell phone or tablet, but there are also affordable accessories, such as tripods and more that can help you capture a higher quality video. 

For a better quality live stream, you’ll need a camera, a laptop, and a good internet connection. If you’re going this route, you’ll also need an HDMI cord to connect your camera to your computer, a stabilizer or tripod to rest your camera on, and a microphone to record with. This can be an additional piece of equipment, but many professional DSLR cameras come with built-in microphones.

how to livestream a funeral

Filming Tips

Choose one person to be your videographer. This person probably shouldn’t be anyone in the immediate family to avoid putting pressure on mourners who would rather just sit and experience the funeral. Again, some funeral homes will offer this service, so if it’s important to you not to have an attendee worry about recording, be sure to find a funeral home that can assist you.

Set up everything beforehand, including any necessary tech, camera settings, live stream settings, lighting, and audio. You can even do a test recording to watch back so that you can make any necessary adjustments.

Once you start the live stream, make sure you’re close enough to hear everything that’s been said. You don’t have to move the camera, but if you choose to, make sure to move slowly and avoid zooming in if possible to ensure everything stays consistent throughout the live stream.

Live Stream Platforms

There are a variety of platforms for live streaming, and each has its own benefits. Here are a few popular platforms that people use to live stream funeral services.

Periscope

Periscope is a free streaming service designed for people who are streaming from their smartphones. Viewers can access the live stream on a PC computer or smartphone via a Periscope-generated link or on Apple TV.

Periscope also saves your live stream for later viewing and sharing.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live has become a popular option with many funeral homes during the Coronavirus pandemic mostly because it is free to use and is available to anyone who has a Facebook account. Unfortunately, it’s more challenging for anyone without a Facebook account to access your live stream, so you’ll need to adjust your settings to accommodate anyone who needs it.

YouTube Live

To live stream on YouTube, you’ll need either a YouTube or Google account, but then you can stream from your phone, computer webcam, or professional camera.

YouTube Live also allows you to adjust your privacy settings so that only people with the link can view it. After you’re done streaming, YouTube saves your video so that you can watch it later or share the link with family and friends at any time. 

Viewers can watch a YouTube Live stream on their phone, tablet, computer, or smart TV.

Zoom

Zoom was the technological hero of 2020, but it’s not ideal for a public live stream. However, Zoom is a great option for anyone who wants to have a more private service because it allows anyone tuning in to speak, do a reading, or share memories as they would if they were attending in-person.

Getting The Word Out

Once you’ve decided which platform and what equipment you’re going to use for your live stream, you’ll want to notify people. Thankfully, whatever streaming platform you choose, you’ll be given a link to share via email, text, or social media.

You can also print the URL in any physical invitations you send.

funeral service technology

Headstone Technology

While technology has greatly changed the way we host funeral services, it has also changed the way we can remember our loved ones long after the service is over. In recent years, many companies have developed headstone technology using QR code generators.

QR symbols can either be applied to an existing headstone or embedded in a new headstone to link to a personalized website you create for your loved one. The website can include everything from a simple photo and bio to images, videos, music, and more. This technology not only allows close friends and relatives to remember their loved ones each time they visit their gravesite, but it also allows other cemetery visitors to engage in an interactive experience if they choose to do so.

Some companies even install solar-powered, weather-proof screens directly into headstones so that families can display photos and videos there.

Memorial Website

You don’t need a fancy QR code or LED screen to remember your loved one, though. Many people have started creating online memorials in the form of memorial websites where they post photos, videos, Spotify playlists, obituaries, and more. A memorial website is a great option for someone who has friends and family all over the world who might not be able to attend a funeral service or visit a gravesite. With a website, you have a link that you can send to anyone at any time.

Audio & Video Legacy Messages

Several online services, including one called SafeBeyond, are offering people an opportunity to create messages for their loved ones to receive after they pass on. For example, you could record a video message to be played at your funeral or one to be played for your granddaughter on her 18th birthday. 

You can also schedule messages to be triggered by location, so if your family is traveling somewhere to scatter your ashes, you could send them a message that they can watch and listen to when they arrive.