Posted on 4th July 2019

Recording voice overs remotely

The Cardiff One Show Team chose to record greener voice overs

Food presenter Ricky Andalcio works with a BBC Wales Factual & Music team delivering around 15 short films a year for the One Show. Professional chef Ricky is based over 300 miles away from Cardiff in Whitehaven, Cumbria, where he runs two ‘Zest’ restaurants. This was a problem when it came to recording voice over. Sadly, professional post production facilities are in short supply in that part of the North West. But the Welsh One Show team, who are always keen to keep costs down and carbon emissions low, have come up with a very clean and green solution.

PMA Tammy-Rae Bois, who has a background in Radio, researched home recording equipment and found that the iRig mic was the best priced kit (around £60) that delivered professional results. They hooked the mic up to Ricky’s iPad in his home in a makeshift recording studio in his attic, arranging duvets and padding to deaden sound and create a quiet, clear space to record in. The One Show directors are also able to phone in while Ricky is recording to listen in and give direction. After running a few trials to get the sound quality and balance right, particularly positioning the mic to prevent “popping”, the BBC dubbing mixers gave their seal of approval to Ricky’s recordings.

After a few sessions, the team realised that the sound quality from the iRig mics was good enough to use on location, so they bought some more. And the practice of home recordings has now been taken up by some other presenters. The One Show production team have written an “Idiots Guide” to home recording and so far presenters have found it simple and straight forward to use. Once the app is downloaded onto the iPad, it takes only a few minutes for a novice user to find their way around the set up. And so far, there have been no complaints about sound.

In terms of their carbon footprint, the BBC Wales team have cut Ricky’s travel by hundreds of miles. With the nearest VO studios a 40 minute drive from his home, Ricky was clocking up a possible 100 mile return journey for each record or 1500 miles a year. Avoiding these car journeys saves the production 0.6 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.


Technical Info

Using the iRig mic and ipad kit, the production team have made substantial cost savings: around £100 on each Voice Over studio booking and £50 on travel expenses, which for 15 films adds up to a savings of over £2000 per year. The admin is also easier for the production team: no more concerns about studio availability or quality close to Ricky’s home, or worries about transport times and paperwork reimbursing petrol expenses. Instead, they just arrange the VO dates direct with Ricky. There is also less pressure on timings during the home recording, unlike a 30 minute studio booking when any over-run costs money so the team are under stress to finish on time. Giving other presenters I-Rig mics has also meant more flexibility and efficiency across the board because VO bookings can be fitted in around their other filming commitments.