For Michael Beausoleil, owner of Audio Borealis, the small hours of the morning are on European time.
Making Local Work: Audio Borealis 012914 BUSINESS 1 Capital City Weekly For Michael Beausoleil, owner of Audio Borealis, the small hours of the morning are on European time.

Mary Catharine Martin | Ccw

Audio Borealis owner Michael Beausoleil sits in his office on Seward Street. Beausoleil, a former (and sometimes) radio DJ, wakes up at 3 a.m. to produce audio and video through his business.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Story last updated at 1/29/2014 - 2:01 pm

Making Local Work: Audio Borealis

For Michael Beausoleil, owner of Audio Borealis, the small hours of the morning are on European time.

Audio Borealis is a Juneau audio and video production company that creates commercials and other products for local, national and international businesses. Beausoleil, an early riser all his life, gets to work around 3 a.m. most mornings.

He started his business in August of 2012 and has done videos for Cycle Alaska, the Chamber of Commerce, Archery Outfitters and other local businesses and organizations.

One of the main things that draws him to production is the creative aspect of the business, he said. Even when young he'd cut up tapes and splice them together to see what he'd end up with.

No two jobs are the same: Graphics, script, theme, music, video flow, special effects and angles are just some of the things he considers.

Sometimes businesses send him scripts, tell him the kind of voice they're looking for and send footage for video. Other times, he'll shoot footage and work with the business to figure out what they'd like.

He does a lot of work for clubs in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy and Spain.

"It's amazing how many English-speaking clubs there are, or how much they use English in their liners, sweepers and promotions," he said.

So far, his favorite project was for the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York, where the 1980 Olympics were held.

Audio Borealis edited it and did the audio for a commercial on "the bobsled experience," in which people can buy tickets for the bobsled themselves.

"It's a piece of history, and how exciting is that?" Beausoleil said. "They told me what they wanted for a final product, and how I got that final product was up to me. It's just a big puzzle."

An uncle gave him a kit when he was around 13, and Beausoleil built an A.M. radio transmitter and receiver out of it. As far as he remembers, that was the beginning of his interest in radio and sound.

"I've done video and audio stuff for as long as I can remember," he said.

He worked in radio for almost 20 years, 14 of them in Juneau, at KINY, KSUP, and other commercial stations. He spent five or six years as a D.J. and still fills in for people, though it's something that initially "scared the daylight out of (him)."

"It's kind of like riding a unicycle," he said. "Yeah, you can do it for about three seconds and it's fun, but you're no good at it."

He was always more drawn to the production end of things, he said.

"It's kind of the nature of the beast - when you're in radio, you write a lot and try to get everything scripted," he said. "One thing led to another, and I was writing storyboards for video and radio commercials."

Beausoleil grew up with a father who worked for Exxon Nuclear. He lived in North Africa, East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, England and Jamaica before returning to the U.S. at 19.

Juneau is the place he's lived the longest.

"I like it here," he said. "It's a good place. I think a lot of people have a hard time with Juneau - they get freaked out by the weather, or the daylight. But I get up at three in the morning. It doesn't matter what time of year it is. It's never bothered me .... I like having the mornings."

Right now, Beausoleil said, Audio Borealis is struggling; it hasn't gained the kind of local prominence he'd like it to.

"I'd like for it to be at the forefront of somebody's mind if they're looking at somebody in town to do a commercial," he said.

He also does wedding and conference video footage, and he'd like video to take off more; audio is business' main moneymaker right now.

"It's been a struggle for quite a while," he said. "Just like any other business, it's up and down ... Getting momentum is a big challenge. Another is that most businesses, or people in town, are not aware there are people in town that can do video production."

• Contact CCW staff reporter Mary Catharine Martin at