from Anywhere in
Aotearoa/New Zealand to Anywhere in the World*
My name is Richard M Torres, and I am a professional filmmaker, camera operator, editor, and live-stream specialist. I have over 20+ years experience in the industry here in Aotearoa/New Zealand. I’m a Stringer (camera operator and proxy reporter) for One News, TV3, and Māori Television. I have also worked on several televison programs throughout the country.
I am also an Independent Livestream Funeral Specialist.
Why I Livestream Funerals
I started professionally Livestreaming in 2015. I was fascinated with the whole phenomenon and wanted to know the mechanics of how it worked, how it could be improved, and most importantly – how to fix it should problems arise. With my PROFESSIONAL BROADCASTING background, I can confidently say that I have a fairly good idea of how things should look, sound, and be presented to a viewing audience.
When my wife passed away in 2018, I made the decision to Livestream her funeral (yes, I am too young to be a widower!). Lisa had friends and family all over the world who weren’t able to attend. The idea of broadcasting her service came across as a bit unnecessary for some members of her family. But the feedback we received afterwards was unanimously positive – especially from those who loved and adored her but could not come back to New Zealand. And in no way was it tacky or inappropriate – it was very well received for those who couldn’t join us in person.
I realised then that if I could do it for her service, I could help others as well.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the Covid Era
I started to receive more calls regarding my professional experience to not just film a funeral, but also Livestream it for family and friends who could not return to Aotearoa/New Zealand and attend. There is a sense of participation when someone is able remote-view a funeral live; they feel part of the collective grieving and celebration of life that happens at funerals. I’m also able to add special touches to a service like pre-recording video messages from someone who is overseas (or unable to attend) and have it play at the location. And all Final Master Copies of the funeral are put on a silver pen drive with their loved one’s name engraved on it. It’s a lovely keepsake. And I also upload the funeral afterwards to a Google Drive folder, so it can be downloaded directly to a computer without having to go through Facebook or YouTube.
A professional Livestream funeral is now “the new normal” during these uncertain times of lockdowns and travel restrictions. I suspect they’ll continue to be in demand long after the pandemic is over.
Professionally Filmed & Edited Funerals on Professional Gear
In establishing myself, I researched and watched several funerals online in order to see what works, and what doesn’t work. And despite the intent of bringing a funeral to those who cannot attend, a lot of the funerals I’ve seen appear to have been shot on security cameras with poor resolution. Or there is just one camera placed at the back of the venue – making it difficult to see who is talking.
Many funerals homes have recognised the need to have Livestream services available at their venues and I applaud their initiative. However, there is nothing that can replace a Professional Broadcaster and high-end cameras and sound equipment.
I have invested heavily in professional 4k and 6K cameras, lenses, microphones, and video mixers. This is to get the optimal quality for what I am filming.
My modems are incredibly robust and industry recognised. They are particularly important for tricky places where there is no internet connection and/or poor cellular coverage. Most churches I have live-streamed from either don’t have an internet connection or are on regular broadband, which isn’t enough to upload a signal. This is an amateur mistake for some videographers who think they can just tap into a church’s internet connection.
Livestream to Facebook or a Private YouTube Channel
Most of the funerals I Livestream go to Facebook. It is a recognisable brand and most people have a Facebook presence. Coordinating with the family and/or funeral director, I will book the event on Facebook (or YouTube) and send them a link they can share with friends and family unable to attend. If I am provided with login details, the Livestream can go to a family member’s Facebook page or to the funeral home’s Facebook page. Or if the family would like, I can send it to a private YouTube Channel – or both, as not everyone has a Facebook account, but can watch the service on YouTube. And if there is enough bandwidth at a location, I can Livestream to both!
Facebook and YouTube are the ideal platforms; security settings can be easily be adjusted or changed by the account owner and links to the funeral can be sent easily either by text, email, or by posts on a Facebook page (or all of the above).
Livestream Funerals and the Matter of Copyright/Commercial Music
Playing copyrighted music during a service can lead to receiving a strike against the account or even worse, having the Livestream cut-off during the service. It can become very, very difficult to get everyone back onto a new Livestream page after the service has started. What I found to be the best way forward is to mute the audio during the procession/recession and the photo tributes. Only funeral homes that have purchased a license can broadcast commercial music in Aotearoa/New Zealand. And even then, there are limitations with regards to where they can broadcast to.
Of course, I am happy to discuss options with the family and the funeral director.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions regarding my services and pricing. I am based in the Manawatū, but happy to travel where I am needed. I am Double-Vaccinated for COVID-19 (with boosters).
*Conditions Apply. Please note that where every instance to establish the Livestream is taken, it is not always possible due to location and cellular strength and connectivity.
Richard M Torres
021 973 007