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Cedar DNS (Dialogue Noise Suppressor) used on Oscar-winning Lincoln

CEDAR Audio is the world's only company dedicated solely to audio restoration and speech enhancement for film, post, TV and radio broadcast, CD and DVD mastering, libraries and archives, and for audio forensic investigation.

The Cedar DNS1000 (now superseded by the Cedar DNS1500 and the Cedar DNS3000) was the most successful product of its type ever manufactured, installed in and used by TV, film and post studios the world over. It made otherwise unusable interviews intelligible, saved huge costs in ADR and looping, and rescued dialogue for movies such as The Lord Of The Rings, Spiderman, Castaway, as well as countless others. It was also a valuable tool in audio forensic investigation, used for cleaning audio signals in the lab and during live surveillance.

Long-time CEDAR user, Neil Hillman, Managing Director and Senior Dubbing Mixer of The Audio Suite in Birmingham, recently worked on Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. He explains how his use of a CEDAR DNS1000 made it possible to capture the huge dynamic range of the dialogue in the ADR suite.

Cedar DNS1000 used for Lincoln

"When I was first asked to record ADR for the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln, the film's Dialogue Editor, Jonathan Null and I spent some time discussing his requirements. Jonathan was fantastic to work with, and explained his needs very clearly, whilst still being open to ideas and suggestions. It soon became clear that the film would be extremely quiet in places, and that very subtle sounds would also feature in the final mix."

"I had two main considerations. Firstly, we would be using two different microphones, a lavalier and a stand-mounted microphone, each with its own characteristic. Secondly, there was the huge dynamic range that the recordings would have to capture - from barely a whisper to the huge emotional outpourings of shock and disbelief that accompanied the news of Abraham Lincoln's death."

"First and foremost, I wanted to deliver a clean and flat recording across the whole dynamic range, giving Jonathan as much scope as possible for his dialogue edit. So I looked at how I could match the inherently dissimilar mics. I didn't want to use the EQ on the pre-amp or channel strip, because this would have changed the nature of their individual sounds, and might not come close to the sound obtained on location. Instead, I decided to look at the 'silence' that surrounded each mic in the ADR studio and, by running the two microphones through each side of my beloved CEDAR DNS1000, I evened-out what residual room tone and self-noise each microphone presented, giving me a uniform and low noise-floor as the starting point for the ADR recordings."

Cedar DNS1500

"The CEDAR DNS1000 is so quick and intuitive to use that within a matter of moments an optimum point was reached, with no audible effect to the wanted signal on either of the microphones. With the room silent and the mics faded up, switching the DNS in and out of circuit clearly showed just how much the device had cleaned up the signal-to-noise ratio."

"Sadly, it's not every day of the week that we have an ADR session booked by DreamWorks and the opportunity to work with Skywalker sound. But the DNS1000 certainly gave me the confidence to know that, for this crucial assignment, we were able to deliver the highest standards of signal-to-noise ratio."

Mark Graziano, Vice President of Post-Production for DreamWorks, added, "We chose Neil Hillman and The Audio Suite for ADR for this project because of their first-class reputation and proximity to talent. We were pleased with their contribution to the film and impressed with the ease in which The Audio Suite studios and our sound team at Skywalker Sound were able to work together, linking the two studios in real time to accomplish the necessary work."

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