Funeral Director on Film

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company remains independent and family-run, and now has a further three offices – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and employs a dedicated team of local staff who serve our communities. Recently, Community Co-Ordinator, Becky, spent some time learning […]

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Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors staff member Becky

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company remains independent and family-run, and now has a further three offices – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and employs a dedicated team of local staff who serve our communities. Recently, Community Co-Ordinator, Becky, spent some time learning about a tool we can use to take another step in marketing Freeman Brothers…

It’s almost six years since I joined Freeman Brothers, and I’m surprised by how much has changed during that time. The company had never employed someone purely to take care of events and marketing previously, so it was a brave new world, and I had an exciting project on my hands.

I’ve introduced the company to social media, revamped our branding and website, and taken us in new directions in terms of presence at events and management of sponsorships.

Something that has always been an area of difficulty for Freeman Brothers has been video content. Whilst it would appear that there are many obvious options, it’s actually incredibly challenging, due to the nature of our work, our relationship with our customers, and our reputation as a brand.

Video tends to be more difficult for non-experts to produce, and one of the many things which concerns lots of brands is the inability to control certain elements once a video is released. With lots to do in terms of building a general presence via written social media, we were happy to hold off on video content for some time. We also did honestly wonder whether there would be any interest in video content from funeral directors – bearing in mind that we always want to be sensitive.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused some major shifts in marketing, and social media use as well as in society in general. With life being lived at a distance, there was a new openness to communicating in different ways and, with a particularly strong desire to continue running our Community Remembrance Service, video was the way forward.

As life has evolved further, and a certain social media platform which we have always favoured seeming to be taking a turn for the worse, this summer it has become clear that it’s time to think more seriously about video. Our confidence in the use of it has increased thanks to now hosting three of our Community Remembrance Services, plus the unveiling of our COVID-19 memorial in Horsham via video online. We also ran online Dying Matters events which were recorded and made available. Even more encouragingly, we have filmed several large funeral processions and received a warm response to them.

In an effort to improve my understanding and pick up some ideas – particularly around equipment and editing – I attended a videography workshop last week, run by our collaborators, Silvertip Films. They are responsible for our professional livestreaming when we’ve hosted our flagship events, and we’ve always been highly impressed by their services.

Geoff and Mike, in collaboration with Horsham District Council, ran a full-day workshop in Broadbridge Heath. We were offered advice and tuition on all sorts of things from equipment – whether or not a camera is necessary, and what can be done on a smartphone – and framing, to sound and editing. It was great to learn more about the difference even a simple tripod can make, as well as learning tips about lighting and considering how to prepare clips dependent on which platform you will be using to host them.

The day closed with a challenge to produce some video content as soon as possible, and this is where we’d like your help! Whilst I now have a few ideas of what to work on, the best people to ask are those in your intended audience – what would you like to know about life at Freeman Brothers which might be best delivered via video? Would you like to see what goes on behind the scenes, or learn more about who we are? Get in touch via our Instagram accounthttps://www.instagram.com/fbsussex (where we’ll most likely be sharing the finished product!) to let us know.

In the meantime, I’ll be figuring out the best camera angles…

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Written by Becky Hughes

Community Co-Ordinator

September 20, 2023

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