Here contains a list of some of my favourite demonstration scenes and tracks that I have gathered over my 20 years in the industry. This is just a selection of the many choices I use.
10. Starting with some music on good old DVD, The Elton John concert live from the Royal Opera house. Track 4 'This train don't stop here any more' has a beautiful blend of Elton's voice, his fantastic piano work, and along with the masterful musicianship of the London School of Music Orchestra it still causes goosebumps when heard on a great AV system.
9. The intimate performance of Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott's is a great choice for Blu-Ray music. Track 11 'People get ready' with Joss Stone is a front row seat performance that will leave you feeling like you were there at the exclusive gig.
8. A great choice for picture and sound demos is Chapter 15 of Die Hard 4. The tunnel scene is brilliant as all the lights go out in the tunnel and the oncoming cars drive head on into each other. With the final part of the scene ending in the destruction of the helicopter as apparently Mr McClane had run out of bullets.
7. The Greatest Showman. The bar scene in chapter 8 has a fantastic atmosphere with a nice musical element as well. The composer and sound engineers have made impressive use of stereo imaging to enhance the scene, with items moving across the bar also moving across the soundstage and loads of background detail going on whilst the main song happens over the top.
6. Good old Terminator 2, scene two, when the Terminator arrives at the bar and asks the biker for his clothes, boots and motorcycle. The barman, as he leaves the bar, fires his shotgun and the shell rolls off to the right hand side of the soundstage. A big AV system will move some serious air and the detail level in this scene is truly incredible, such as the creaking of the leather as Arnie gets off his motorcycle to confront the barman.
5. The Back to The Future Remastered Trilogy is really well done, and Back to The Future 3 with its iconic gunslinger scene is brilliant. Its DTS HD remastered soundtrack, and the atmospherics leading up to the gunfight followed by the swells of Alan Silvestri's musical score of the fist fight is just a truly wonderful piece of movie magic.
4. X-Men Apocalypse in 4k is one of the first 4k films I owned with a full Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The scene where Quicksilver rescues all of the Xavier School students as the school is exploding is one of the best uses of slow moving image technology and also very careful positioning within the Dolby Atmos 3 Dimensional soundtrack.
3. Iron Man 2, the final battle against all the droid robots in the centre of the park is still one of the best uses of a traditional 5.1 system. There is plenty of gun fire going on around you and effective use of audio tracking creates a very immersive experience. The missiles finished off with the laser fire from one of Iron Man's laser beams completes the clever use of the 360 degree effects field, with a final crescendo of all the robots and the trees collapsing giving the subwoofer a good work out.
2. Many will be surprised by the scene from the Matrix that I'm going to pick. No, it's not the lobby scene, but actually the scene from the dojo where Neo announces "I know Kung Fu". It's full of clever, fast moving contact that on a great system will even make you flinch in pain, and some effective use of the bass dynamics when the matting on the floor of the dojo takes a heavy impact. It's also a fantastic scene to use for a picture quality test as the muted colours of the dojo are really hard for projectors and TV's alike to produce.
1. My favourite demonstration scene is still from the first of the Jurassic Park films. It's the first film I ever saw in Dolby Digital at a cinema in Cardiff and I have no doubt that it is the reason I love what I do. In chapter 5, when they arrive at the park and then drop down in the helicopter past the waterfall, and then on to see the Diplodocus stomping along and chewing on the tree still sends shivers down my spine. The gorgeous orchestral score by John Williams that accompanies it still holds a very special place for me.
I certainly hope that this gets you trying some of these scenes on your own cinema system and see what it does for you. If you have any suggestions of scenes that get your system rocking, then feel free to drop me an email and let me know.
John - General Manager