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Features & Interviews

'Missing You' Skype Based Doc Series Starts RTÉ
07 Jun 2017 : Deirdre Hopkins

IFTN caught up with Sally Roden, producer of RTÉ’s new six-part observational documentary series ‘‘Missing You’’, ahead of the broadcast of its first episode, tonight Wednesday 7th June.

‘‘Missing You’’ is a unique series about the lengths the Irish diaspora go to maintaining and nurturing relationships with their loved ones despite the thousands of miles between them. The show captures their stories and witnesses their relationships all through the confines of video calls. Viewers see first hand the intimacy, the honesty, the highs of everyday life, the lows, as well as the complexities of missing home.

Produced and directed by Karen Moran and produced by Sally Roden, ’Missing You’ was more than a year in the making. After casting 12 sets of callers - from whole families to best friends spread across the globe - more than 600 hours of footage was generated using recording software that kicked in every time the participants used their video call software. Both sides of the calls were recorded separately and edited together for television.

Sally Roden said: “By using this technology we were able to get incredible access to the lives of our participants who very quickly forgot that they were being recorded and settled into their everyday conversations. It was no holds barred and we were able to capture some amazing stories over the course of the year and in incredibly intimate detail.

“We started casting in December 2015. We had spent quite a bit of time creating a production bible and so had identified that we wanted ordinary people (not celebs); we wanted people who had been separated for some time and did not have the option of seeing each other regularly. We also wanted people who had a particular story unfolding in their lives during that time period for at least some of our contributors. 

“We had also decided that we wanted people of varying age groups and with different kinds of relationships - parent/child, friends, romantic relationships, siblings. 

“Casting happened through local Irish groups in various countries, online publications, local contacts in a variety of countries etc. Each 'contributor-set' requires two callers and it was nearly always the person located overseas who contacted us first.  Once we started the casting period, we had an abundance of people who showed interest in participation which gave us a great variety to choose from. We cast 12 sets of callers who recorded over a period of time - up to a year. 


“Each contributor was given a tablet or laptop with video calling software and recording software pre-loaded. Once they opened the video calling software, recording would start automatically in the background. 

“We ended up with 600 hours of video calls which we edited down to 6 half hours. Some of the contributors feature in all 6 programmes and some in fewer. This was dictated by the subject matter. One set of callers recorded through the first year of bereavement and feature in most episodes, another set of callers have a new baby and have the difficult decision to make - to stay or move back to Ireland. They also feature in all episodes. We have a group of friends who just hang out - they are great fun but feature in fewer episodes.”

 ‘Missing You’ is the first series in the world to be filmed almost entirely using Skype. The six part documentary, originating from a pilot broadcast in 2013, was made in-house by the RTÉ Factual Unit and was commissioned by RTÉ television’s Head of Lifestyle Grainne McAleer and executive produced by Sean MacGiolla Phadraig.  

Watch the ‘Missing You’ promo here.


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