The Travelling Talent – tips and tricks for when you are on the road

The Travelling Talent – tips and tricks for when you are on the road

Posted by John in Articles

The Travelling Talent – tips and tricks for when you are on the road


– One portable studio (preferably with a shot gun mic)

– One digital media device (Laptop, iPad etc)

– A portable recording booth (Portabooth or BoothToGo)

– One small mic stand

– All necessary cables

– Small mixer

– USB stick (to transfer files when necessary)

– Blankets/Pillows for sound dampening if necessary

Once you combine just the right ingredients, you’d be amazed at how this recipe can turn out, in fact you can cook this up from just about anywhere.  Many talent have had experience recording in some pretty strange places.  Some of the usual places are vehicles, hotel rooms, conference rooms etc.  I’ve actually recorded while camping (although in a tent you are better off in a car so nature isn’t picked up by the microphone), in a school parking lot, in a washroom (although this is NOT ideal), in many hotel closets, beds etc.  In fact I’ve recorded in almost every place I’ve ever gone!  I take a portable studio with me almost everywhere I go and if I have it, I usually have to use it.  Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way…

As I write this article I am yet again on a plane travelling, but on this rare occasion I did NOT bring my studio and since I’ve boarded the plane on a Saturday afternoon, I’ve already had to tell two clients that I can’t give them their file until Monday evening when I return.  Not having my studio, I risk losing the job to another talent who is at the ready, so this is just a personal choice a talent has to make.  I don’t like turning clients down.  I absolutely love what I do and I like the pride of booking jobs, so it’s not just about the money.  Many of the jobs I do are quick and painless, so once I’ve set up my studio in a portable location, I can just dive in and pull off a quick read or two, do some editing and within 30 minutes I made a few hundred dollars and still have the rest of the day to do what I need.


This isn’t for everyone, but most talent (even at the top of the food chain) end up with a portable studio at one point in their lives, but this isn’t necessary unless:

A. You travel frequently.

B. Your jobs call for it.

C. You can afford it!


There are many things you need to pre-plan when recording abroad.

  1. Know the ambience of your destination – if it’s a hotel, request a top floor so you know that no one will be above you.  If it’s a home, see if they have a quiet place in their home (basement/closet) that isn’t near any windows.  If you are recording by vehicle, make sure you map out places to pull over that are quiet enough to record.  In other words get off the main routes.
  2. Triple check your equipment list.  It isn’t always easy to get XLR cables etc when you’re on the road, so have a travel studio packed and ready to go at all times.
  3. Have control over the air conditioner, furnace, running appliances that make noise etc.
  4. Tell those that will be spending time with you that you may need them to be quiet at certain points for you and make sure they are okay to accommodate you.
  5. Make sure you have reliable internet wherever you are going, or record and then travel to where there is reliable internet.
  6. Use blankets and pillow to get rid of floor/ceiling noise and room tones.  Place blankets over closet doors and shut yourself in to the closet with the door ajar so it’s not too boxed in for the sound.
  7. If necessary record on the bed – this is a great ambient reducer, you just have to find a way to block off the acoustics that will be behind you as you voice into the mic.
  8. Let your clients know way ahead of time if you are going to be away for ANY length of time (good reason to stay in touch with clients anyway).
  9. If you know you might be doing picks ups for previous jobs, have the original files with you so you can match – but you may have to re-record the entire thing again to match the new room/studio tone.
  10. Always record room tone anytime you are on a portable studio – layer the room tone under your entire final file so you can mask any edit cuts and clean sounds.

There are many more tips I can offer you – but this is a good start!  The bottom line is you need to prepare.  You will learn what works for you and what doesn’t as you experience this yourself, but this list should give you some help along the way.


If I can help any further or if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at anytime.


Until Next Time

All my best
VO Chef Deb (aka Deb Munro)


25 Apr 2016 No Comments

Post a comment