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The Five Scenes You Use to Demonstrate Surround Sound

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ernest Rister, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    There are many threads on Home Theater message boards asking people what DVDs they use as a demo disc. Recently, my aunt and cousin came by for a visit, and had never heard a film in surround sound before (they are both from a small Texas town, and while they rent like crazy, they don't go to the movies that often, nor do they own a home theater).

    So, I chose five scenes from my DVD collection to demonstrate surround sound to them. These were, in order:

    1. "Mickey Meets James Levine/Runs Around the Room" - Fantasia/2000 (Mickey Mouse goes searching offstage for Donald Duck while conductor James Levine introduces "Pomp and Circumstance". Mickey's off-stage voice is heard from Front Left, then Rear Left, then Rear Right, then Front Right.)

    2. "Opening Credits/Trip Through Space" -- Contact (As the camera charts the possible path of radio signals leaving Earth, we zoom out of our own solar system and ultimately out of our own galaxy. The only sounds heard are those of radio signals, zooming in from the back speakers to the front. A triumph of the art of sound effcts editing)

    3. "Attack on the Airfield" -- Empire of the Sun (American P-51s attack the airfield next to a Japanese internment camp. One of the prisoners, Jim Graham, watches in transcendent joy)

    4. "Lex Luthor Sends Sonic Message to Superman" -- Superman:The Move (As Clark Kent stands and listens to a lecture from Perry White, Lex Luthor sends a high-pitched message to Superman, outside the range of human hearing. The effect is achieved by placing Lex's vocals in the rear channels.)

    5. "Mansion on the Hill" -- Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Live in New York City (Self-explanatory, music and vocals come from the front stage, while audience effects and ambient sound is heard in the rears)

    I intentionally did not show any scenes from the Lord of the Rings films or the Star Wars films, mainly because I'm sick to death of both.
     
  2. John S

    John S Well-Known Member

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    I like to use the 1st T-rex scene from Jurassic Park.

    It actually scares most people, you can see the unease all over their faces, changing to near terror when that dino lets out that first ear splitting roar.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Well-Known Member

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    I'm basing the following DVD's not only on their spectacular surround-sound usage, but also because I think they make for all-around excellant "demo" movies that I can watch over and over again, and use to show-off my Paradigm speakers.

    Akira (Japanese 5.1DTS): The motorcycle 'chase' and accompanying score that starts as soon as Tetsuo starts the CD-jukebox at the beggining of the film.

    Bram Stoker's Dracula (Superbit 5.1DTS). Not the loudest or most "explosive" use of surrounds but during Johnathan Harker's (Keanu Reeves) "stay" at castle Draculea (The in-movie spelling of 'Dracula') a surround-sound cacaphony of tormented screams and wailing seems to appear whenever Draculea (Gary Oldman) is on-screen or something "abnormal" happens.

    Interview With The Vampire (5.1DTS). I love this 5.1 mix not because of an particular surround "effect", but because this film has one of the best surround-mixed score/soundtrack of any movie I can think of. Plus you get the bonus of one of the only handfull of DVD's to be blessed with a full-bitrate DTS track. The nature of this surround score I think is best listened to with direct radiating, or monopole, speakers, and the effect is "lessened" with difuse bipole/dipole speakers.

    The Matrix (5.1DD). Just skip to the scene when Neo (Reeves) enters the fortified skyscraper to rescue Morpheus. The fire-fight and especially the "bullet time" scenes are the original "killer app" (Or sales-pitch) for surround sound systems.

    Those are my favorite four. I would normally also recommend Jurassic Park (5.1DTS). The T-Rex chase id an excellant example of surround usage, but the the whole movie is LFE-heavy and your "demo" experience will be ruined if your subwoofer keeps bottoming-out and sounding like ass. So I'll give it my fifth favorite surround demo seal of approval if, and only if you have some serious subwoofer hardware.
     
  4. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Well-Known Member

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    hey, I just noticed that my most "recent" demo recommendation as now four years old! I speculate that more recently sound engineers figure the audience doesn't care about the surround track or just don't bother anymore since the "newness" of surround-sound has finally worn off.
     
  5. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Well-Known Member

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    FIGHT CLUB... especially the mid-air collision... EGADS!
    THE OTHERS.... Incredible atmosphere...
    THE CROW 2nd edition... works for me...
    SW Ep.2.... The speeder chase...

    I 2nd Bram Stoker's Dracula... INCERDIBLE use of surrounds for atmosphere...
     
  6. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Well-Known Member

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    The opening explosion in Swordfish(5.1 DD) ain't a bad demo. One of my recent favorites is the crane chase in T3(5.1 DTS).
     
  7. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Well-Known Member

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    The two THX trailers on the Toy Story Box set - the cows mooing and the workman fixing the logo (anyone who hasnt seen these will wonder what the hell I am talking about ) [​IMG]

    The Lion King - esp the opening sequence with the new Home Cinema Mix on the DVD
     
  8. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy these:

    Mission: Impossbile finale in the Chunnel. It's just high SPL heaven. Of course, this is the laserdisc I speak of. [​IMG]

    Outbreak and the helicopter chase. Sound coming from everywhere, nice LFE, and exciting to watch. Also, this is from the laserdisc but I'm sure the DVD is great too.

    Jurassic Park and the TRex attack. This scene is a great scene on any sound format, but I prefer the DTS laser.

    I guess I'm just a laserdisc nut!

    AJG
     
  9. Michael Flynn

    Michael Flynn Well-Known Member

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    Saving Private Ryan (DTS 5.1): D-Day

    X-Men (DTS 5.1): The train station scene, Wolverine on the motorcycle, Statue of Liberty Scene

    X2 (DTS): Nightcrawler's attack and Wolverine and Pyro going berserk at the house

    Boogie Nights (DD 5.1): The opening scene as "Best of My Love" blasts and fills up my Panasonic HT.

    Se7en (DTS-ES 6.1): The opening titles.

    If anyone can suggest some good tracks for me to listen to, click my DVD collection in my signature.
     
  10. John Swarce

    John Swarce Well-Known Member

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    Michael:

    We have a similar taste in movies! From browsing your collection online, I would recommend the following (not just the usual recent stuff...):

    1)The opening to Blade II (great surround usage and LFE).

    2)Die Hard---the rooftop explosion.

    3)Forrest Gump--the Vietnam scene. Very quiet, then all hell breaks loose. Some wide dynamic range in that scene.

    4)The opening of To Live and Die in LA--I used to use the sound of the spinning of the gun chamber/firing of the bullet to wow the family...on VHS when it first came out in HiFi Dolby Surround![​IMG]

    I also love the "Ice Field" scene in Titan A.E.

    John
     
  11. Justin_D

    Justin_D Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one that noticed a good number (didn't count, but it seems just as many, if not more than) of these demos are or are available in DTS? Just an observation.

    For me:

    Saving Private Ryan (DTS): D-Day
    Swordfish: Whirling Explosion
    Blade 2 (DTS): Rave scene
    Lion King (Home Theater Mix): Whole friggin' thing :b
    Terminator 2 (UE): THX Intro, Shotgun scenes
    Fight Club: Mid-air collision as Dave mentioned
    U-571 (DTS): Depth mine scenes (scary)
    Hannibal (DTS): Opera scene, lovely voice and good range
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  13. Michael Flynn

    Michael Flynn Well-Known Member

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    John, To Live and Die in L.A. sounds great in 5.1 on DVD...hadn't seen it before, sounded and looked immaculate...great sound in the pre-credits scene and car chase, though the LFE is non-existent in the track.
     
  14. Jonathan

    Jonathan Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all of the titles that have been named. I just watched Deperado Superbit version and thought it had an awesome soundtrack. I loved the use of the surrounds and the bass really kicked in during the parts of the movie. My SVS was a lovin' it! [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Well-Known Member

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    I have to qualify my choices, depending on what I'm showing off.

    For ATMOSPHERE:
    =The Gift - whole movie. Great use of surrounds throughout, with lots of crickets, grass, etc.
    =The Others - Not a showy mix, but definitely atmospheric.
    =All The Pretty Horses - whole movie. Lots of great subtle stuff here. Plus, the score sounds amazing.
    =Signs - The cornfield at the very beginning has some of the best atmosphere ever. Not in-your-face surround, but very subtle and haunting, especially once the dogs start barking. Great DD-EX mix!
    =Se7en - The beginning of the movie has some outstanding environmental/weather sound in all speakers, but the best scene is when Somerset goes to the library. You get voices, footsteps and even music all accurately portrayed as if it were in a large library.

    For WHIZ-BANG SURROUND:
    =Fight Club - the collision, the refrigerator explosion, zooming in and out of the bomb at the end.
    =SW: AOTC - the speeder chase, asteroid field, and when the clone army arrives to save the Jedi. That last scene in particular has some AWESOME sound in EX.
    =Toy Story 2 - Crossing the street in the orange cones.
    =Daredevil - the first time Matt "sees" with sound.
    =A Bug's Life - Flik entering the bug city.
     
  16. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for TS2 from the Collector's Edition. The can of cows with the robot mechanic THX intro and the 'video game' opening segment of the movie has it all - panning across the soundstage, directionality, and LFE. The video quality is also impressive.
     
  17. Joe D

    Joe D Well-Known Member

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    Strange Days - Great use of surround throughout the whole film, particularly the Point Of View sequences.

    Bram Stokers Dracula - Great atmosphere throughout the entire film.

    Fellowship of the Ring - The opening has a very dynamic soundtrack that pits your speakers and sub to the test.

    Das Boot - Great atmosphere, especially when the submarine is leaking water.

    Starship Troopers - The whole movie has a very aggressive soundtrack.
     
  18. Mike_S

    Mike_S Well-Known Member

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    1/ Opening sequence of TOY STORY 2 (and the rest of it)

    2/ Pod race in the Phantom Menace

    3/ Pretty much ALL of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

    4/ Lion King (pretty much all of it's amazing)

    5/ Terminator 2 & 3

    6/ Finding Nemo

    7/ Atlantis

    8/ Fellowship of the Ring

    9/ The Two Towers

    There are so many others...the list could be endless.
     
  19. Jose Martinez

    Jose Martinez Well-Known Member

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    the air battle in Air Force One.
     
  20. RISUG

    RISUG Well-Known Member

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    Once again Jeremy, as you did in the Underworld thread, you speak the truth - big time!.

    The surrond effects are mastered so skillfully that at times it seemed as if I was sitting in the middle of a suite of speakers, despite having only two rear speakers.
    Yes, I understand that is the job of and thus effect intended of "surround sound"; however there are not many film tracks that achieve said effect so convincingly.

    Definitely one of the few that successfully fools the aural processing of the brain.
     

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