[LINK] Funerals hit the Web
Wed, 25 Sep 2002 10:02:14 +1000
The Internet's killer ap?
Funerals hit the Web
September 25 2002
People unable to attend funeral services can now see their loved ones being
buried via the internet.
In an Australian first, Perth's two main cemeteries are offering to
"Web-cast" funeral services for people who can't make it to the real thing.
The first two online services were beamed from Karrakatta Cemetery and
Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park yesterday, with the Pinnaroo Web-cast
allowing friends and relatives from as far afield as the Middle East to
witness the funeral.
Canadian-born Perth resident Marcia van Zeller ordered a $110 Web-cast for
the funeral of her 83-year-old father Fred Mills so family and friends in
Canada could feel as though they were there.
Relatives ordering Web-casts are given a password to access live footage of
the funeral, which they can pass on to as many as 50 people.
Ms van Zeller said her sister Jo watched the Web-cast from Canada after
having trouble getting a flight and learning a last-minute ticket would
cost about $A8,000.
"My sister emailed me this morning and said it was just unbelievable, to
give us this sense of closure," Ms van Zeller said of the Web-cast.
"She could see us, she could hear every word of the eulogy, she could hear
the music. She said it was the best thing, that she felt like she was
Ms van Zeller said others who watched were friends in the Middle East,
Canadian relatives visiting North Carolina, and a friend in Perth who could
West Australian Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB) executive director
Michael Duff said Web-casts were a great help to people hampered by
distance or travel restrictions.
The Web-casts are captured by fixed digital cameras in the Karrakatta and
Pinnaroo chapels, which can tilt, pan and zoom in to show the funeral
cortege, the pallbearers moving the coffin, the lectern and the raised
platform on which the coffin sits.
The production is brought together by camera operators in another room.
A simple Web-cast costs $110 inclusive of GST.
Another $110 buys either a delayed broadcast of the service held on the
internet for 30 days, handy for people in different time zones; or a DVD or
video recording of the service.
Customers who want all three options pay $275.
Mr Duff said the MCB was making no money from the service, which was being
offered simply to allow more people to take part in the funerals of their
I don't think anybody should write his autobiography until after he's dead
-- Sam Goldwyn
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