Jacques Boulanger

Jacques Boulanger


Jacques Boulanger, Emmy Award-winning sound engineer, describes the challenge of upmixing Natalie Merchant's latest film project

A love for sound

"As CEO, sound designer, and re-recording mixer for Creative Audio + Video Post, I have a love for sound that goes back to my days as a professional musician. After years performing on the road, I discovered audio post-production through the back door – working for a production company specializing in music composition for a variety of network IDs, show themes, and music jingles for TV commercials. While working closely with composers and musicians to create that content, I developed a respect for the music side of post-production that still inspires my work still today.


"After years performing on the road, I discovered audio post-production through the back door."

"That experience marked a shift in my career to focus on the emerging arts of digital media and audio post-production. In 2002 I founded Creative Audio Post (now Creative Audio + Video Post) to provide full-service audio and video post-production capabilities, primarily for television and film. Today we’re a team of seven outstanding professionals who have helped make Creative Audio + Video Post one of the most respected audio and video post-production facilities in New York City. Whether the project is a 30-second commercial or an IMAX 3D surround film, our Emmy award-winning team is dedicated to delivering an inspired and unique production with a sound track that delivers maximum emotional impact."

"For Paradise is There, we found a powerful new solution: NUGEN Audio’s Halo Upmix."

The challenge of 5.1

"Among our high-profile clients is recording artist Natalie Merchant, who has enjoyed a successful solo career for more than 12 years. Over that time, we’ve had the opportunity to work with her on numerous film projects in collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker/director Jon Bowermaster - who is currently finishing an upcoming film called Dear President Obama along with Mark Ruffalo as executive producer, a feature documentary bringing awareness of fracking to a national level. Bowermaster’s latest is a film entitled Paradise is There, a memoir of Natalie’s career coinciding with the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking album, Tigerlily, and her new release, Paradise is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings.


"Mixing the sound track for the Paradise is There film presented an interesting challenge because the source audio was a mixture of 5.1 surround and stereo. For the footage of Natalie’s live performance at the Tarrytown Music Hall last September, we recorded the show with a combination of traditional live recording microphone technique as well as two surround mics. Other content, such as interviews and the studio tracks for the CD release, had been recorded and mixed in stereo. For the final sound track, we wanted to bring as many surround elements into the mix as possible – a job that required advanced upmixing capabilities.

"Halo Upmix offers capabilities that simply aren’t found in other plug-ins."

"We’d worked with other upmixing plug-ins in the past, but, typically, these tools don’t do a good job of diverging the center track and their 5.1 output rarely approaches the sound of the original source. But for Paradise is There, we found a powerful new solution: NUGEN Audio’s Halo Upmix. Designed to work equally well to produce a high-quality 5.1 upmix as well as a stereo mix, Halo Upmix offers capabilities that simply aren’t found in other plug-ins -- such as the ability to produce full stable surrounds with precise downmix matching."

Fine-tuning the center

"One particularly valuable feature of Halo Upmix is its elegant center channel management, which uses proprietary neural network-based dialogue extraction to fine-tune the center in a surround mix. While the center track for film and television is typically reserved for dialogue and narration, Halo Upmix enabled us to divert that content to the left and right speakers when needed and create, in effect, a 'virtual center'. Another feature that came in handy for Paradise is There was the ability to divert some audio to the back speakers to create a very organic and natural sound that approaches live early reflections and reverb without being distracting.

"Halo Upmix has become an essential part of our toolkit."

"With the success of Paradise is There, we’re now using Halo Upmix for any film or television project in which we want to create a highly natural-sounding 5.1 upmix for home and theatrical surround audiences. The tool is particularly compelling for music-themed programs since most music, both studio and live-performance, is originally mastered in stereo. At Creative Audio Post, we’re dedicated to ensuring that every sound element contributes to a production’s overall emotional soundscape, and Halo Upmix has become an essential part of our toolkit."

Related products

Halo Upmix

From naturally extracted and expanded soundscapes to full cinematic big-stage enhancement, Halo Upmix delivers all the control you need to produce and fine-tune your surround mix to perfection.

Surround Suite

4 plug-ins to upmix, downmix, create, hone and reshape your sound – Surround Suite delivers all the control you need to fine-tune your surround mix to perfection.


The full range of NUGEN’s audio post tools. A master set of 12 plug-ins with uncompromising quality and creativity.

Halo Downmix

Precise and intuitive downmixing tool. Produce better downmixes and enhance the downmix compatibility of your surround mixes.

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