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Old July 19th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #1
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Anyone ever done a Funeral?

I have done numerous weddings all by word of mouth and now someone has contacted me to video a funeral for tomorrow morning. It seems weird to me but if thats what they want and they have the money then I guess thats what I'll do.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #2
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Thats probably the reason you don't hear of it much. Its weird. Is someone actually gonna pick up the video later and be like "lets what grandpa's funeral"? I'd have to consider this. There's gonna be a lot of people at this funeral that have no idea why someone is filming it. If you're comfortable with it then go ahead and do it.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #3
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all the time
for family and frends who couldnt make it, in addition to being the last "hurruh" its really the only final official archive you will have of the person.

we do LOTS of these and slideshows usually come hand in hand. Its actually a very lucrative market if u take the time to consider costs and what difference a slideshow can make to the way the person is remembered...
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Old July 19th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #4
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I have shot funerals and wakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Gilliard View Post
I have done numerous weddings all by word of mouth and now someone has contacted me to video a funeral for tomorrow morning. It seems weird to me but if thats what they want and they have the money then I guess thats what I'll do.
I have, both in photos and videos. It's not really any different to me as any event if you go for the basics. It's just that people are not necessarily smiling or a happy occasion. What you don't want to do, however, is try to make it more than what it is. What I mean by that is that shoot the sadness or the grieving, but don't overemphasize those parts in favor over the others. In the wake, there are scenes (at least in our country) where the relatives meet and hug, and there are even smiles to be seen.

At times, you may have to tell the story of how the person died. I did that once because the relatives in the USA could not come home to attend the funeral. I interviewed the grandmother and she told the whole story as to how the deceased got sick, was sent to the hospital and how she died. The relatives now can hear and see from the mouth of the grandmother.

I had another segment, when during the wake, those who were at the chapel talked of how good the deceased was, and how they will miss her cooking, and her idiosyncracies. So make sure you have a good mic or learn to shoot very close so as the ambient noise don't drown the talking heads.

YOu can also shoot and compress the mass (we are catholic). In our country, the priests asks for the close relatives and/or friends to sprinkle holy water to the coffin. That is a lot of footage and a major portion right there and there.

Eulogies are not a thing in our country, so that is something I don't have. But as I said, the side talks of those attending the wake can be captured.

At the final resting place, lots of shots can be had when those who are there throw flowers or earth before they put the earth and the slab on the ground or nicho. Prior to this, there is the procession of those who condole as they walk one by one to have a last look at the open coffin (with a glass plate of course). You should pay special attention to the closest of the family as they usually linger the longest for the look. Lots of material there, but you have to move in just close enough so as not to be seen by others and again have good mics as there are usually some words spoken. Lots of tender looks. Lots of caressing of the coffin. Again, this is in our country.

A lot of these is culture bound and may be different from place to place, culture-to-culutre, or country to country, or religion differences. What you need to be ready is to shoot those that may be meaningful as a documentation of the day. I wish I could say you would have the same events, but I don't think it's the same all throughout. Even the procession or walk/ride to the cemetary is worth shooting here especially in the province as a band usually is playing for the better off families. I'm sure you don't have that elsewhere.

It really depends on how you want to attack or manage your video. What you need to know is how the proceedings will go and what the client wants shot. I had a couple who want me to shoot the deceased, close up, while the other wanted me to shoot her entire body and we had to lift the entire cover of the coffin (and it stank a little bit). Are you going to be squeemish about that? I leave that up to you. You draw the boundaries for yourself, but you also need to know what the boundaries of your clients are. They may not like you shooting the deceased up close. Or they don't want you shooting them crying or you moving all over the place.

Oh, from a gear standpoint, you may have to bring a circular polarizer if you need to shoot through the glass of the coffin and not have reflections.

When the deceased is also close to me, or is a relative or I know, I usually do a highlights also. One thing for sure, I don't make the entire video very long. No point in belaboring the point the person is dead. My video usually run around 15-25 min only. I usually have 1-2 hours of materials, usually 1.5 hours to work with. A highlight usually does a nice job of recapping the entire thing and gets it done and over with. When I have the time, I might find that video high light I did and I will upload it.

Editing funerals and wakes is easy. Very linear. Straighforward. It can be hard to for me, if the deceased is known to me. The one I did (photos only) last January was hard to edit. I knew the person (mother of a friend) and she was very good to me and a lot of people. I'll see if I could upload that photo montage.



I hope this has helped.

-Mel
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Old July 21st, 2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Johnson View Post
Is someone actually gonna pick up the video later and be like "lets what grandpa's funeral"?
You bet. Like Peter says, not everyone can attend. I hired somebody to do my Father's, mainly because a sister was in the hospital and couldn't attend.

And a funeral service is not all "doom and gloom". It's a gathering of family, many of which have traveled great distances and won't be with each other again for many years. Some not at all.

Recording the final memory of somebody is not morbid IMO.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 01:35 PM   #6
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You bet. Like Peter says, not everyone can attend. I hired somebody to do my Father's, mainly because a sister was in the hospital and couldn't attend.

And a funeral service is not all "doom and gloom". It's a gathering of family, many of which have traveled great distances and won't be with each other again for many years. Some not at all.

Recording the final memory of somebody is not morbid IMO.
I hadn't even thought of it like that. I guess that would work out for someone that couldn't be there.

My judgement is pretty biased anyway. My parents died when I was young, along with numerous other family members. Since then I've hated the smell of churches and its sad to say that I'm not comfortable being in one.

Thats the interesting part because now I shoot wedding and a lot of them are in churches. I'm slowly getting comfortable again. Its like a big healing process.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 03:27 AM   #7
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Thats the interesting part because now I shoot wedding and a lot of them are in churches. I'm slowly getting comfortable again. Its like a big healing process.
That's funny. Before I got to the end of your last post I was thinking maybe shooting a funeral would help you with some of those past issues and be "healing" experience.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 02:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
That's funny. Before I got to the end of your last post I was thinking maybe shooting a funeral would help you with some of those past issues and be "healing" experience.
i probably will end up shooting a funeral at some point. i can't say i'm looking forward to it though.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 04:50 PM   #9
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Yeah, I wouldn't be able to "look forward" to shooting a funeral either.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 10:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replys

In the end they decided not to have me video, they said there uncle was going to do it, which was fine by me.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #11
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the best film i've seen was Bobby Warns... it was both inpireing as the video that was shot and emotional as it told the whole story of his life.

http://bobbywarns.com/viewvideo_google.html
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Old August 6th, 2007, 11:06 PM   #12
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Flak Jackets are Important Gear for Shooting Wakes

After some coaxing, I agreed to do the funeral and wake for the 84-year old mother of some close friends. They had a large, extended family and over 200 relatives attended. I had known them and their mother since I was a boy, or I probably wouldn't have done it. Most of them did what I had hoped and didn't react to my presence with the camcorder. There was a generally good mood prevailing and they showed a lot of enjoyment being in each other's company.

But, a few of them weren't happy that I was there with a video camera and told me so in very explicit words. The host of the wake should have explained to them that I was there at his request and that many family members wanted a record of them all together. I got back at the hostile ones, however, as I included everything they said in the uncut footage I provided to the family. I had been asked not to edit it, but show everything in the continuous two hours of video I shot. Fortunately for all concerned, the most insulting and hurtful thing was tossed at me when the camera was off, while I moved to a different room.

There have been over a hundred copies of it made and after 14 years, I'm still providing new ones on DVD. Every time it gets played and viewed with interest by family members, those nasty remarks are also repeated. Several of them have told me that this is one reason the video is watched so many times and that they get some laughs during those segments. This might be a lesson about the importance of being kind to videomakers and taking care about what you say when they're holding a camera.

I also had done a big wedding for this family several years before. From the ceremonies, including the preliminaries and rehearsal and the two receptions, I had about four hours of footage. I edited it down to two hours, but also made the full, uncut recording available. By far, the unedited 4-hour version was the most popular with them. This makes me think that this type of unpolished event coverage might be interesting to some clients. It helps that I shoot very carefully and don't roll tape before I get myself steadied and focused. When I shoot entire athletic events, about half the time I don't have any glitches or anything that has to be edited out. If a client liked this sort of video, it would be a lot easier and take much less time to produce.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; August 6th, 2007 at 11:43 PM.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 04:21 AM   #13
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It's about a year ago now that I first heared about these type of funeral videos, it was a company in the Netherlands which specialised in it. You could also contact them so they would shoot a video of yourself where you would tell about your life and they followed you around if you wanted to show your most favorite places, they would keep the video in a vault and after you died the relatives would receive a letter with a code to the safe so they could see/hear your last words. They even provided a way to put your film on a secured website.

Here in Belgium however I never heared about any need for taping funerals and I didn't see a company advertising for it. Think we belgians are too conservative for something like this. Fot the Netherlands, our neighbour country it seems to be a very good business.
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