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Sreejesh Nair Selects NUGEN Audio Products

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Sreejesh Nair has spent 15 years as a re-recording mixer, working on more than 250 projects – ranging from Bollywood, version mixes for Hollywood and numerous films. In order to capture the sound of the music and create movement in the film, Sreejesh uses NUGEN Audio's Halo Upmix and SEQ-S.

Previously, Sree was not a fan of upmixing, but after he demo'ed the beta version of Halo Upmix, he said the plugin is a "must have".

He explained: "The movement, placement and, more importantly, the fact that it didn't smear the intent of the original sound was what attracted me the most. Once I understood its capabilities, I decided it was a much more powerful tool than what it was conventionally used for. I pursed the design elements of the Halo Upmix and found that some of the things it does, would be impossible to pull off with any other plugin."

Working with Pro Tool to achieve 7.1.2 audio, the addition of the Halo Upmix has increased Sree's sonic reach. For example, rather than upmixing synth pads, strings, ambient room tones or traffic beds, the plugin enables Sree to duplicate the track and add a harmonic enhancer such as Phoenix or Avid Reel Tape Saturation, and subsequently blend the new and original tracks. The result is a sound that is simultaneously part of the original sound, while also placed in a 7.1.2 environment to create a final mix. In cases where dialogue or other sound feels too static, Halo Upmix allows Sree to create organic movement in the piece.

"For every film I work on, I try to be very careful to make sure the mix sounds believable when it needs to, and most importantly, invisible. It is very important that my mixes sound organic and not clinical. I absolutely hate having straight line automations or static scenes. There will always be some element moving in my mix. I think that having something move subtly yet in a slightly random way gives a lot of expression, which is why I sometimes ride the wet/dry mix of a reverb across the score to diffuse the score with the dialogue. It makes the intent present without losing the movement. I've combined this idea with the Halo Upmix's diffuse feature to produce the same effect in a much more natural way."

While working on the movie Udta Punjab, Sree and the rest of the film's audio team wanted to closely match the score with the sound design. Sree duplicated the score's harmonically processed cellos, pianos and strings. He then adjusted both tracks with Halo Upmix. As the scene progressed, the team could enhance the entire movement of the piece by manipulating the balance of these three elements.

"Since the original tracks were in stereo, we always had one of these two tracks playing with it to give the sense of space, but the blend of this was what did the trick," he explained. "With some experimenting, I found that changing the drive or the harmonics in the parallel track slightly colored and repositioned the way the sound was upmixed. This gave even more scope to the way the mix sounded, which was something we all absolutely fell in love with. Another combination I do quite often is using NUGEN Audio's Stereoizer or the stereo placer followed by the Halo Upmix to give an added dimension and blend to the original sound. The ideas are limitless."

Sree also uses NUGEN Audio's SEQ-S for harmonic mixing. Rather than having to dip the score in films where there is dialogue happening in a loud setting, Sree uses SEQ-S to achieve depth control and carve out the dialog frequencies from the music. SEQ-S helps accomplish this with the audience not able to hear the ducking, but can still hear the dialogue clearly.

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