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The Five Scenes You Use to Demonstrate Surround Sound

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#1 of 68 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted January 16 2004 - 10:04 AM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted January 16 2004 - 10:11 AM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted January 16 2004 - 10:30 AM

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.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#4 of 68 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted January 16 2004 - 10:38 AM

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.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#5 of 68 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted January 16 2004 - 11:30 AM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Adam_ME


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Posted January 16 2004 - 12:11 PM

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).
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#7 of 68 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted January 16 2004 - 01:08 PM

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 ) Posted Image

The Lion King - esp the opening sequence with the new Home Cinema Mix on the DVD

#8 of 68 OFFLINE   Aaron Garman

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Posted January 16 2004 - 01:10 PM

I enjoy these:

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

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!

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#9 of 68 OFFLINE   Michael Flynn

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Posted January 16 2004 - 01:32 PM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   John Swarce

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Posted January 16 2004 - 02:20 PM


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!Posted Image

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

"Things you own end up owning you" --Fight Club

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#11 of 68 OFFLINE   Justin_D


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Posted January 16 2004 - 03:03 PM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted January 16 2004 - 03:39 PM

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!

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#13 of 68 OFFLINE   Michael Flynn

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Posted January 16 2004 - 03:57 PM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Jonathan


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Posted January 16 2004 - 04:46 PM

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! Posted Image
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#15 of 68 OFFLINE   Jeremy Anderson

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Posted January 16 2004 - 10:34 PM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted January 17 2004 - 12:48 AM

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.
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#17 of 68 OFFLINE   Joe D

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Posted January 17 2004 - 03:17 AM

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 of 68 OFFLINE   Mike_S


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Posted January 17 2004 - 03:39 AM

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.
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#19 of 68 OFFLINE   Jose Martinez

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Posted January 17 2004 - 04:32 AM

the air battle in Air Force One.
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#20 of 68 OFFLINE   RISUG


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Posted January 17 2004 - 11:10 AM

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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