Community Message Boards
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Videotaping a funeral

  1. #1

    Videotaping a funeral

    A very dear friend of mine from work passed away suddenly on Sunday. It's been a helluva week, as you can imagine.

    The funeral was today, at the funeral home. The place was filled to capacity. Out of the corner of my eye I see a very tall man dressed in a suit. In his hand is a small video camera that is aimed right at the 23 year old daughter of my friend as she sobs uncontrollably. He pans to the right to fix the camera on the (open) casket, and then further to the right, doing a complete 360 turn, filming the guests at the funeral. He filmed the entire service.

    I know my friend's son and daughter very well, and I'm relatively certain they didn't request this.

    What would the reasoning be behind this - any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Mexico
    Posts
    1

    A peculiar behavior

    As a grief therapist, I have not come across this particular way of "saving" funeral moments, and I doubt that a grieving daughter needs to be reminded of her pain by viewing it on videotape. Could someone unable to attend ask for this tape? How very unpleasant and painful it must have been for those of you who noticed what was going on.

  3. #3
    The funeral home offered this service as well as still pictures of my grandmother in the casket. I personally found it very troubling, but I didn't get to make the decisions. I just know that I don't ever want to see the video or the pictures.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    7,873
    That would be my thought, that someone was unable to attend, and that is why it was videotaped. I hope that whoever that was had the OK from the family!

    So sorry to hear of your loss. (((Sandy)))
    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed
    door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

    Helen Keller (1880–1968)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Carrollton, TX
    Posts
    1,000
    Quote Originally Posted by Karen in Mexico View Post
    As a grief therapist, I have not come across this particular way of "saving" funeral moments, and I doubt that a grieving daughter needs to be reminded of her pain by viewing it on videotape. Could someone unable to attend ask for this tape? How very unpleasant and painful it must have been for those of you who noticed what was going on.
    That was going to be my answer. When my grandmother was dying, she told my aunt (her daughter) not to change her vacation plans for the funeral. (Grandma chose to stop receiving dialysis and the doctor told her that she would only live for 2 more weeks.) So, Grandma died and my aunt was on a cruise on the day of the funeral. Aunt M asked for the funeral to be video-taped.

    When the family tried to view the video before Aunt M returned home, the only thing on the tape (this was in the 90s, so tape) was the bagpiper coming down the church aisle. It took about 3 years for anyone to admit to Aunt M that the tape was no good...it was always at so-and-so's house. We think it was Grandma's "revenge" for Aunt M going on vacation ...even though Grandma told her to go.
    See some of my quilts at: My blog

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    3,554
    I have not heard of videotaping a funeral. My SIL's funeral was recorded (audio only) which was also new to me. My understanding is that she requested this be done, so that her daughter (currently 2 1/2yo) will be able to have it when she is older, if she desires. Also, I know FIL finds comfort in listening to the recording, and hearing what people had to say about SIL. DH, however, does not want to hear the service again. I'm not sure how BIL feels about it.

    I'm sorry for your loss.
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    pacific northwest
    Posts
    4,065
    After the fact, my grandmother wished she'd had my grandfather's funeral recorded or at least some photos. It was a small and intimate funeral (and due to his age and general health not sudden) but almost all the grandchildren had been able to make it and two of them sang a duet together (one is a professional opera singer) while another signed the song. It was beautiful and I think my grandmother wanted to be able to share that with her inlaws whom she saw later and to watch again. The family is spread from coast to coast across the country and its pretty rare to get so many together. If a videotape had been done, I think she would have only wanted a recording of the proceedings not panning the guests and focusing on anyone during their grief. That seems very dis-respectful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    One Particular Harbour
    Posts
    2,375
    I think there is a big difference between taping the service (sermon, eulogies, music, etc.) and taping the mourners, casket, etc.

    I think the former is understandable, maybe someday the deceased's daughter will want to hear the nice things people said about her. But I can't imagine wanting to watch people at such an emotional moment. It seems like intruding on their privacy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,298
    We nearly always make CD's (audio) of memorial services so family can listen again if they wish. A couple of times I've had family request video for the same reason, but what they meant was a camera on tri-pod fixed on the lectern/speakers. I agree that panning the grieving people in the pews is disrespectful and invasive. (I'm coming from perspective of the clergy officiating here.)

    Sandy, so sorry for your loss.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    ♥Somewhere between here & there♥
    Posts
    3,573
    I could not attend my grandfather's funeral halfway across the country, so relatives videotaped it for me. It does sound odd. It took two years before I could bring myself to watch the video, but when I did - I was grateful that I had it.

    Sandy, my sympathies over the loss of your friend. How very sad for her family.
    "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  11. #11
    Thanks for your responses, everyone.

    I guess I understand the objective from those not able to be in attendance but still wanting to see/hear the service. The singer was amazing, and the minister did a phenomenal job. But to focus on the open casket and the grieving family seems incredibly insensitive and voyeuristic to me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    528
    Sandy,
    I have played funerals at my church where the funeral service was videotaped. But, of course, at most Lutheran funeral services held in church, the casket is closed. And even if there has been a period of visitation and viewing in the church, the casket is typically closed before the funeral service itself begins.

    Always when a funeral is videotaped, it is done from the back of the church. The "videographer" can do close-ups of pastors, speakers, flowers, singers, etc., but the congregation have their backs to the camera. They could get close-ups of the flowers on the casket, but the casket is closed.

    (And I'm sorry for your loss, Sandy....)
    Last edited by MikeC; 09-21-2007 at 09:57 PM.

  13. #13
    I'm so sorry, Sandy.

    I could see wanting to capture certain aspects of a funeral - the eulogy or any other tributes to the deceased. But it does seem odd to want to tape the grief or an open casket.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    349
    Technology surely brings us some different capabilities that have a lot of plusses....and minuses. I'm old school on this one and think it is creepy. Of course, 10 years from now I may look back on my opinion and laugh about how naive/old school I was!

    < i.e. Why in the world do people need those remote controls for their TV's ?! They could just get off their lazy butts and go change the channel!! >

    Very sorry for your loss. I have had a number of them in the past few years but just can't imagine a videotaping event.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NashVegas, baby!
    Posts
    5,889
    Well, people DO seem to videotape EVERYTHING these days, to the exclusion of paying attention to the actual event being taped. So ... I guess funerals are the final frontier. I don't like taping at weddings, so there ya go.

    Photographs of the deceased is actually a very, very old tradition from the early days of photography. I went to an art exhibit once that was a collection of funeral photos from at least 100 yrs ago from the Appalachians. Again, not my taste, but neither is Victorian mourning jewelry made from the hair of the deceased.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    3,554
    Quote Originally Posted by SandyM View Post
    But to focus on the open casket and the grieving family seems incredibly insensitive and voyeuristic to me.
    I think this is what bothers me about the situation you described. Somehow it bothers me a lot more than the audio recording, but I don't think it was the video/audio issue, I think it was the nature of what was being recorded. Recording the service so that those who either couldn't attend, or who may want to hear it again, can have it, is one thing. Recording someone's raw emotions is another.
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    528
    (Off-topic, I know.....)I play weddings and funerals, so I pretty much see it all. I would sure rather have one person videotaping a wedding than have a dozen people taking flash pictures all through the ceremony!

    Occasionally we have a couple who ask the pastor to announce right at the beginning of the service that they have requested there be no flash pictures.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Near my friends.
    Posts
    8,943
    At the time it would have bothered me to watch such a video....but now 17 years later, I would love to see it, had it been made available. By the time we had the funeral, the casket was closed. We were pretty composed, we were as tight-knit as we ever were (before and after), and yeah, I would like to be able to see it..... See who was there, all who have passed since, especially a dear friend of the family, Mildred Allen...among others.

    J
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,788
    Sandy, I'm so sorry to hear this sad news. My sympathies.
    The taping is very odd. I would have been bothered by it had I noticed. I agree with the others that the filming of the mourners and the deceased is what's so disturbing. It just feels wrong.
    TKay

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    826
    I took pictures of my dad in his casket when he passed away as did his sisters (not during the service though). Had I had the option to video the service I would have. We've always taken pictures of our dead in my family. Maybe it's odd, I had never really thought about it, it's just what we've always done. I do look at the pictures of my dad, he looks so peaceful.

    Right befor they closed my dad's casket I leaned over and kissed him on his forehead. Now I wonder if that is odd to most people too.
    Stay-at-home mom scratch cooking for a child with a severe peanut and mustard allergy.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by Jalapeno View Post
    Right befor they closed my dad's casket I leaned over and kissed him on his forehead. Now I wonder if that is odd to most people too.
    Nope, I don't think that's odd at all.

    I've been to a couple of funeral home visits where pictures were taken of the dead in the casket. That's not something I would do, though.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NashVegas, baby!
    Posts
    5,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Jalapeno View Post
    Right befor they closed my dad's casket I leaned over and kissed him on his forehead. Now I wonder if that is odd to most people too.
    It's not something I would do, but it's certainly not unusual in my family. My mother ALWAYS reaches into the casket to stroke back their hair, or pat their shoulder, kiss their cheek, etc.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •