Demo disc. What's that all about?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DustinLC, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    You hear it here everyday and elsewhere in other HT forum: it makes a good demo disc or I like to buy this or keep this because it's demo quality.

    Who are all you guys demoing to? I can understand if you have the state of the art equipments and like to show it off but I find the targeted person either see that as showing off or they just simply don't care about HT, otherwise they would have some equipments of their own. If they do and your is better, it's like showing off.

    I know, you will say that it simply means the disc is great and it's what you would watch with friends and they will go " oh and ah." However, when you have friends over, do you only have a selected few DVDs that are demo quality for them to choose from?

    Anyway, curious mind wants to know why everyone is saying demo this and demo that [​IMG].
     
  2. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    Most of my friends are as interested in movies as I am, but they've never seen a video projector in a home setting. As soon as they see that big movie screen and little box, they want to know what it can do. Naturally I'm going to pick something that shows off the system to best advantage.

    I find a lot of people don't know much about what's possible in home theater. And the main thing preventing them from owning HT equipment of their own is the perceived expense, not any lack of interest.

    When people come over to watch something, they can choose anything they like from my collection.
     
  3. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Well I think Michael Bay films stink and The Rock is no exception, but I secretly like it and am afraid to admit it publicly, so I will keep it as a "demo disc". [​IMG]
     
  4. RodneyT

    RodneyT Stunt Coordinator

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    Demonstration: to show somebody something to which they are not accustomed to, or ignorant of completely, so that a greater understanding of the product/item is established.



    Agreed. When people come over to peruse the 600 disc collection in my shelf, and they see the projector and surround sound system sitting there, quite often they want to know how it sounds, what it looks like etc.... Almost exclusively, people i demo my equipment for have no experience in home theatre, or perhaps are interested and would like more information: sometimes the best way to explain 5.1 is to demonstrate it. By showing a DVD that has excellent audio and video production you are giving them the best possible idea as to what they can achieve if they so desire.

    I dispute the idea of "showing off". Maybe some people do show off, but for any serious home theatre buff, quite often its just about having a passion for something that others can enjoy without having to know the nitty gritty. Most people dont care about dynamic range, channel separation, artefacts and video compression. As long as it looks good, and sounds awesome, thats all that matters. But for those who care for their gear, and appreciate good DVD product, this "demo disc" tag is a true indicator of something thats not only a premium product of sorts, but something that will blow your friends away. Its not we are all sitting about waiting for strangers to rock up on the doorstep and ask to be impressed with the latest DVD soundtrack.

    At the beginning of the year i upgraded my sound system by purchasing two extra subwoofers (for the two rear channels) to complement the three i already had (front channel, mains and one LFE sub). This may sound like extravagance to most, hell, about three years ago it would have been extravagence to me!! But as my knowledge of DVD grew, and improvements in audio and video compression became more apparent, i knew that an upgrade to my home theatre was in order.
    So instead of a standard 5.1 system as you know it, i have tagged my system a "5.5" system for want of a better phrase. Sure, its not accurately named, but thats of little matter to anybody except me and those who frequent my lounge for our weekly movie nights. And if you havent got subwoofers plugged into every channel for the two Matrix sequels (yes they suck, but the audio is awesome) then you really havent lived!

    As far as demonstrating DVD to my friends, and those who havent seen a home system in action (you'd be surprised how many people still only have a DVD player and TV setup... the poor fools!) i will always play the best quality DVD's i have at my disposal to give them an inkling of what they can have themselves: anything that gets people interested in DVD and Home Theatre is a good thing.

    I rest my case.
    Thanks for listening.
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    The phrase 'demo disc' usually is shorthand for 'technically excellent'. In other words, if you were going to show off your system, this is what you would choose. The phrase can also denote a disc that will reveal weaknesses in your system (e.g. something with very deep bass, heavily saturated colours, etc).

    The reality is that if you're trying to impress someone new to DVD, very few demo discs are likely to be the ones with maximum psychological impact. The reason is simple - 'demo disc' movies are by definition going to look and sound good and you expect this. Therefore you aren't going to be surprised when they look and sound good. Usually you can get the point home far more effectively to someone wondering why you moved from VHS to DVD by putting in a mundane movie or TV programme that they know well in its VHS/broadcast format. Because they're not expecting a big difference, the improvement is surprising and therefore hits home far more effectively even if in objective terms, a 'demo disc' has a better picture/sound.
     
  6. RodneyT

    RodneyT Stunt Coordinator

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    good point. I did that once with my VHS version of Lion King, and the spanking DVD version. Yowee, did i get some dropped jaws......
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    What's wrong with showing off one's system?

    Look, I am about as purist as one can get when it comes to film-as-art. Heck, my favorite filmmaker is the personification of cinema.

    But if somebody comes over to my house and wants to see me strut my home-theater stuff, well, what's wrong with popping in my Superbits edition of The Fifth Element?

    Hey, I don't care for the movie at all. But I could do a lot worse when having friends over and downing some brewskies. I love hearing them say, "Wow! It's just like being at the movies!"

    We love all this stuff. That's why there's this place called "Home Theater Forum."
     
  8. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I have a specific set of movies that I show people now that I have a projector, because I think it helps show off the best of what I poured all this money into [​IMG] but I don't think I've ever bought a movie JUST for that purpose.
     
  9. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    A 'demo disc' is in no way limited too "showing off".
    It's usefully for evaluating, systems as well!

    Too add;
    One of the most famous 'demo discs' of all time is ST: Insurrection. Still used too this day by reviewers too evaluate the ablity of source or display too handle line twitter. And although most have used The Fifth Element in the past, too quote show off, it's also used to see how bad the ropes & stairs in the opening sequence are reproduced.

    I am sure you are also aware of TRUE "demo disc's". Which are very helpful in setting up, to get the 'best' video & sound reproduction out of one's A/V system.
     
  10. John S

    John S Producer

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    Interesting thread.

    It does seem everybody that comes over to my house, no matter if they are an HT techie type, or just the average Joe, always request a disc that will really show it off.

    I usually give them a short list of those I have experienced the best sound and video from and let them decide.

    And I have to admit, I do the same thing at other peoples homes and home theater setups too. :)

    The techies, usually go one step further, and will request samples from different source materials to see how my setup handles it. Non-anamorphic widescreen samples are what is requested the most as an additional sample, and for good reason, some setups handle them way better than others.

    When I first got my 1080i DVD player, I had a steady stream of friends wanting to check that out. I think I sold three of those players now.... Maybe I should become a dealer. lol
     
  11. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Jack

    "Look, I am about as purist as one can get when it comes to film-as-art. Heck, my favorite filmmaker is the personification of cinema."

    Who?? Paul Anderson[​IMG]

    B
     

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