Audio for Indies: Tony Volante explains the value of the CEDAR DNS2000 in independent film making

Disappearances title

7 February 2006

Sound Lounge (NY) is providing a complete package of audio post production services for the forthcoming film Disappearances, Jay Craven's new film about bootleggers in 1930s Vermont. Their VP of long-format audio post production, Tony Volante, is handling audio mixing as well as ADR and foley for the film. Shot on location in Vermont, Disappearances differs from films shot in urban settings because it needs to be very quiet. Also, as a period piece, unwanted sounds such as generators and other modern equipment have to be removed meticulously from the location tracks.

Interviewed in Post magazine in January 2006, Volante explains, "In a big Hollywood feature a lot of the dialogue gets cleaned up to where all that's left are the speaking voices, and most of the other sounds have been replaced with effects and foley. All of this takes a lot of time, so in independent films, 90 percent of the sound of the film is the production track. It's up to the mixer and the editor to clean that up and use the production track as much as they can. Then you sweeten things with some foley and effects."

That's just one of the specific challenges that Volante faced while working on such films as TransAmerica, Mad Hot Ballroom and Boys of Baraka. These films turned out to be fairly simple when compared with his work on the upcoming Disappearances. "It's a period piece", Volante says, "so you have to get rid of all the extraneous modern-day sounds. Most of the film is exteriors in Vermont in the countryside. It's supposed to be quiet, so trying to keep it quiet is the biggest challenge."

Volante made the production tracks work by using a combination of notch filtering, a CEDAR DNS2000 box and a Digidesign Icon D-Control console with Pro Tools. "There are numerous plug-ins that can be used for de-noising, but the CEDAR is definitely one of my favourites. It's great for eliminating background noise and when working in Pro Tools, I can completely automate all the paramaters of the [CEDAR] box. I can also do dynamic changes. Sometimes these things are great in cleaning up the background noise, but they can sound a little mechanical if you hit them too hard. If you can gain ride some of the controls while the dialogue is going on, you can make it sound more natural."

The background to the DNS2000 Dialogue Noise Suppressor

The DNS2000 is a fully automated implementation of CEDAR Audio's DNS technology designed specifically for Pro Tools users. Connected to Pro Tools using a USB cable, Pro Tools provides the control and automation for the process, while the DNS2000 rackmount processor provides the DSP power and the 24-bit I/O for the system. The DNS2000 is ideal for eliminating traffic noise, aircraft, air conditioning, wind, rain, tape hiss, and general background from recordings and live transmissions.

For further information:

CEDAR Audio Limited, 20 Home End, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB21 5BS, United Kingdom.
t: +44 1223 881771
f: +44 1223 881778

Sound Lounge, 149 5th Ave. New York, N.Y., 10010. Tel: +1 212 388 1212

Post Magazine: