More and more funeral homes are starting to provide funeral webcasting for good reason. However, a lot of funeral homes that have never offered funeral webcasting don’t know where to begin. We typically see the biggest barrier to funeral webcasting is the setup of equipment. Funeral homes simply do not know what to do or where to start.
Today, we are going to teach you the main funeral webcasting equipment that is needed for a fixed camera system that would mount to the ceiling of the chapel. First, we will start with the list of equipment, and then explain what each piece of equipment does and how it connects to each other.
Our suggested Funeral Webcasting Equipment List:
• Camera: Axis 214 Day / Night PTZ Network Camera
• Decoder: Axis P7701 Video Decoder
• Midspan and Splitter: Axis T8123 Midspan and Axis T8126 Splitter
• USB Capture Device: Kworld USB Video Capture Device
• Cable: Cat5 network cable (standard network cable)
• Laptop Computer
Axis 214 PTZ Network Camera:
Let’s first start with the Axis 214 camera and talk about why we choose this particular camera over all the others. First, the name says it all, “Axis”, Axis seems to be the clear leader in the IP Camera industry and from a software providers perspective has the best drivers to work with.
Second, the Axis 214 camera can zoom in from over 150 feet and does not lose any quality. On top of that, it is one of the best IP cameras we have seen in low light conditions. There are several places on the internet you can buy this camera, the going price seems to be around $1,300. So as you can imagine, when you install the Axis 214 camera into your funeral chapel for funeral webcasting, the two main things that stick out the most is the distance the camera can zoom and the quality the camera can perform in bad light conditions. Not to mention the camera is a PTZ Camera (pan / tilt / zoom), that means you can control the camera with your computer mouse. What is really neat, is that you can create presets on the camera that allows you to zoom into specific spots within the chapel. For example, the most popular presets would be a close up of the podium, a wide angle view of the entire funeral chapel, and also a more close up view of the casket.
Axis P7701 Video Decoder:
The Axis Communications AXIS P7701 Video Decoder allows for live video feeds received from the IP Camera over a network to be displayed on analog equipment (your computer monitor). Really, the only important thing to know about the Axis Video Decoder box is that the network cable plugs into it from the camera.
Axis T8123 Midspan and Axis T8126 Splitter:
The Axis midspan and splitter I think is one of the coolest technologies. This allows the funeral home to not have to wire a power source right at the camera. Basically, the midspan injects power into the network cable, and then the splitter splits out the power and data at the camera. This really helps a lot of funeral homes so that they don’t have to hire an electrician to come in and wire an additional power source at the camera.
USB Capture Device:
The Kworld USB Capture device is what you plug into your USB port in your computer. This is what allows us to pull the video and audio signal from the decoder box then insert it into the PC and have it all make sense. Allow we use the kworld USB capture device for most funeral webcasting setups, there are several others to choose from as well.
You will need to purchase a fairly long network cable depending how far your camera is from your computer where you will be using the software. Most funeral homes typically will buy a 50ft or 100 ft cat5 network cable.
Most funeral homes have decided to buy a laptop that is dedicated to funeral home webcasting. Typically, the laptop will be setup in the “media room”, where the sound system is located for the chapel. The advantage of setting the laptop up in the media room is that we can then also tie your existing sound system into the funeral webcast. Generally, you only need to run a simple audio cord from your sound system to your USB capture device. If you are in the market to buy a new laptop, I might recommend the following for minimum system requirements:
-Brand Name: Dell or HP (just my personal preference)
-Minimum of 6 Gigs of RAM
-Firewire and HDMI ports
Funeral Webcasting Software:
Using an all-in-one-suite that can not only do funeral webcasting, but also tribute DVD’s and personalized printing is ideal. By bringing together all three technologies, it really makes the funeral home more efficient and simplifies personalization for the entire staff.
This type of funeral webcasting software is on top of every other solution in the funeral industry is as follows: the only funeral webcasting software that allows for basic video editing right from the application; the only funeral webcasting software that has a personalized online player with over 450 themes to choose from; the only funeral webcasting software that uses the latest media encoder from Microsoft; the only funeral webcasting software that allows you to use multi camera setups; and last but not least, the only funeral webcasting software that is using a tier one content delivery network that has global distribution.
Now that we have given you a general overview of the equipment and software needed, we will now show a small diagram on how the equipment is connected inline:
Camera | Splitter | Network Cable | Midspan | Decoder | USB Video Capture Device
The above is an example of how the equipment is setup starting with the IP Camera. I know for most people that are looking at this for the first time, they probably feel pretty overwhelmed. However, let me tell you, it’s really not as bad as it may look. Once you get this hooked up for the first time, you really never have to mess with it again.