Letters From Home: Video Productions Help Grieving Families
Letters From Home is bringing you stories from Central Ohioans navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julie and Chris Hedrick are a husband and wife duo who founded Blue Skies HD Video and Film Productions. The video company covers corporate events, weddings and anniversaries - "life events," they say.
So how does a business that documents life events run when COVID-19 is limiting interaction and changing how these celebrations look?
"There are life events that will always occur regardless of whether we're in a pandemic," Julie says. "And who knew that through the pandemic our business would not only survive, but it would also thrive."
The virus has shifted the company's focus from happier life events to ones with a sadder pallor.
"With the pandemic, a lot of funeral homes were restricted to how many people that they could allow into the funeral home" Julie says. "And it just got busy for us."
The pandemic has meant an increase in client requests to record funerals.
The company isn't only recording funerals, they're also assisting funeral homes in livestreaming calling hours. Livestreaming is important when family members can't attend, Julie says.
"It brings the families together and makes them feel like they're part of the grieving process," Julie says.
This is a new facet of their video work, figuring out the technology to conduct the livestreams, and most importantly, deciding what images to capture and share.
"What do you shoot during calling hours?" Julie reflects.
There are a few rules that television production follows - generally, you want to show people at their best and refrain from filming eating, crying or high emotions. Dancing around these rules while shooting a funeral is a unique challenge.
"One of the biggest differences that we've seen from a creative aspect is that when everyone's wearing a mask it's hard to show some of that emotion," Julie says.
She argues this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"The masks are a way for people to hide their faces better, so I think it gives them more security to feel emotional," she says.
Filming funerals isn't something Julie thinks the company will be trying to do longterm.
"It's kind of a sad thing to be around that mortality a lot," she admits. "But we'll go wherever our families ask us to go and we'll make the best of the situation."
Ultimately, Julie is hopeful her work provides a sliver of comfort to families during these hard times.
"In a time where things could feel really bad, we're just really honored and blessed to provide a service to people that could help them through the grieving process," she says.
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WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.