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List of most impressive audio demo material to open a movie on physical media? (1 Viewer)

Jeffrey D

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Similar to how the original SUPERMAN opens, with the drawn curtains and the 1.33:1 black & white image, then the camera pans up and into the clouds and the titles "whoosh" over the audience with that stirring John William's music. In fact, I'll go ahead and put the opening scenes of SUPERMAN- especially as presented via the original 5.1 70mm track on the UHD- onto this list.

Vincent
I have the UHD of Superman- will have to give it a look.
 

sbjork

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Similar to how the original SUPERMAN opens, with the drawn curtains and the 1.33:1 black & white image, then the camera pans up and into the clouds and the titles "whoosh" over the audience with that stirring John William's music. In fact, I'll go ahead and put the opening scenes of SUPERMAN- especially as presented via the original 5.1 70mm track on the UHD- onto this list.

Vincent

Strangely enough, I had a similar reaction to the opening titles of the 2020 version of The Invisible Man, with the waves crashing in Dolby Atmos, and the titles breaking through the waves like something out of a David Fincher movie (Panic Room, for instance). I had read the positive reviews, but I was still dubious going into the movie. But from the split second that the titles ran, I was sucked in for good.
 

johnmcmasters

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I used to throw on the blu-ray of "Speed Racer" as my primo demo of choice for my OLED TV and simple stereo system. The eye-popping colors and the immersive sound were quite something in their day. I also love the opening of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" which, depending on your systems, packs a solid whallop before immersing one in a sand storm and engine growls. But I imagine those have been supplanted by newer films and mixes.
 

Vincent_P

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Strangely enough, I had a similar reaction to the opening titles of the 2020 version of The Invisible Man, with the waves crashing in Dolby Atmos, and the titles breaking through the waves like something out of a David Fincher movie (Panic Room, for instance). I had read the positive reviews, but I was still dubious going into the movie. But from the split second that the titles ran, I was sucked in for good.
I *LOVE* the new THE INVISIBLE MAN! Great flippin' movie, and yeah, that entire opening scene is a great sound demo!

Vincent
 

Vincent_P

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Meh. Even though it sounds a lot better than the godawful 2.0 on the dvd and blu-rays of Superman, the vintage 5.1 is still a bit lacking in dynamics and clarity at least to my ears.
This thread is about movie openings, and I stand by my assessment that the opening of SUPERMAN is a terrific example of sound design.

Vincent
 

Vincent_P

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I used to throw on the blu-ray of "Speed Racer" as my primo demo of choice for my OLED TV and simple stereo system. The eye-popping colors and the immersive sound were quite something in their day. I also love the opening of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" which, depending on your systems, packs a solid whallop before immersing one in a sand storm and engine growls. But I imagine those have been supplanted by newer films and mixes.
The opening of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a terrific example! Some of those classic multichannel sound mixes still stand the test of time. In fact, I think many of them might be *better* than what we get today. I feel like there was more care and artistry put into a lot of those mixes, and these days post-production on "big" movies is often a rushed blur.

Vincent
 

Stephen_J_H

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The opening of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a terrific example! Some of those classic multichannel sound mixes still stand the test of time. In fact, I think many of them might be *better* than what we get today. I feel like there was more care and artistry put into a lot of those mixes, and these days post-production on "big" movies is often a rushed blur.

Vincent
Part of that was that Dolby Stereo was in its infancy at the time of CE3K and sound engineers were testing the limits of what they could do with the format.
 

Vincent_P

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Part of that was that Dolby Stereo was in its infancy at the time of CE3K and sound engineers were testing the limits of what they could do with the format.
Were there optical Dolby prints of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS? The tech letter included with the great Criterion Laserdisc set mentions talks about how they arrived at the sound for their LD by encoding the 4-track mag mix through a Dolby encoder. The exact wording from that letter: "A Dolby Surround soundtrack was created from the original 35mm 4-channel mix, using a Dolby DS-4 surround sound processor". I'm curious if CLOSE ENCOUNTERS had optical Dolby prints in 35mm, or 4-track mag? Obviously, the 70mm prints would have been mag. Either way, that opening is definitely a terrific example of great multichannel sound design.

Vincent
 

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I notice that most of the choices here for demo material tend to emphasize loudness as a quality worth demonstrating. Can’t argue that, except to say that my experience/approach is slightly different.

Whether due to roommates, apartment living and/or guests who just don’t like volume, that kind of demonstration isn’t my go to.

I like using the opening of Gravity - while the score does kick in at high volumes during the opening title cards, that’s not what I’m aiming to show off. What gets people when I show that is how effectively the usage of the different speakers with different voices from different radio communications is. You’ve got Ed Harris’ mission control coming from the sides and rears and Clooney and the other astronauts moving from speaker to speaker as they float around. (The 3D visuals are also effective if you’re giving that capability a demo, but the sound demo is still effective when the movie is viewed in 2D.) I don’t even need to run it until the meteor shower turns everything to hell about fifteen minutes. Just the graceful visuals of the astronauts calmly doing their work and the contrast between silence and sound, and the movement of those sounds, conveys what a 5.1 or larger system brings to the table compared to the built-in TV speakers.

The opening for Fantasia 2000 is great - you hear little snippets of dialogue from the original film’s narration as the movie opens, almost in the background, and then before you know it, Beethoven’s Fifth kicks in at full volume. The portion used in the film is brief but very effective, so you can get that demo and be done in five or six minutes.

For a shorter demo, it’s not the movie proper, but I really like the trailer for the 1997 special edition reissue of Star Wars. It begins with a small TV showing the X-wing fight in the center of the screen, in mono sound, and then the X-wing flies out of the TV to utilize more of the screen and the music from John Williams switches from mono to surround. It’s very effective, and it’s short.
 

JohnRice

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I notice that most of the choices here for demo material tend to emphasize loudness as a quality worth demonstrating. Can’t argue that, except to say that my experience/approach is slightly different.

Whether due to roommates, apartment living and/or guests who just don’t like volume, that kind of demonstration isn’t my go to.
With that in mind, I'm reminded of the opening of Master & Commander. Just outstanding in its environment and subtle immersion.
 

Josh Steinberg

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With that in mind, I'm reminded of the opening of Master & Commander. Just outstanding in its environment and subtle immersion.

That is a wonderful movie that each time I see it I say to myself, “this is a wonderful movie and I should watch it more” and then forget my own advice.
 

JohnRice

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That is a wonderful movie that each time I see it I say to myself, “this is a wonderful movie and I should watch it more” and then forget my own advice.
It is a fabulous movie. Plus, That opening sequence is just outstanding. Incredible use of sound.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Were there optical Dolby prints of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS? The tech letter included with the great Criterion Laserdisc set mentions talks about how they arrived at the sound for their LD by encoding the 4-track mag mix through a Dolby encoder. The exact wording from that letter: "A Dolby Surround soundtrack was created from the original 35mm 4-channel mix, using a Dolby DS-4 surround sound processor". I'm curious if CLOSE ENCOUNTERS had optical Dolby prints in 35mm, or 4-track mag? Obviously, the 70mm prints would have been mag. Either way, that opening is definitely a terrific example of great multichannel sound design.

Vincent
Nobody was doing mag prints by that time. The mag 4-track referred to is a fullcoat 35mm 4-track magnetic element which was used to creat the matrixed optical track and 70mm mag prints. Any 35mm prints would have been optical, as was the case with Dolby Stereo Star Wars prints. 35mm mag sound elements were veryu common then, as perfs would allow for better synchronisation with film. Remember that Cinerama ran with a 7 track 35mm interlocked mag element for sound. Mag 35mm was considered state of the art for many years before digital.
 

dpippel

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That is a wonderful movie that each time I see it I say to myself, “this is a wonderful movie and I should watch it more” and then forget my own advice.
One of my favorite films, and probably my favorite Russell Crowe film. I really hope that at some point it gets a modern scan and a 4K release. The current Blu-ray first hit the shelves in 2008, I believe, and it could look better. The sound design is phenomenal and would lend itself wonderfully to an Atmos update as well, I think. However, since this is a Fox catalog title, I'm not optimistic we'll see anything from Disney.
 

Vincent_P

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Nobody was doing mag prints by that time. The mag 4-track referred to is a fullcoat 35mm 4-track magnetic element which was used to creat the matrixed optical track and 70mm mag prints. Any 35mm prints would have been optical, as was the case with Dolby Stereo Star Wars prints. 35mm mag sound elements were veryu common then, as perfs would allow for better synchronisation with film. Remember that Cinerama ran with a 7 track 35mm interlocked mag element for sound. Mag 35mm was considered state of the art for many years before digital.
I know the difference between full-coat mag as a professional format and 4-track mag on prints, but are you sure that there weren't any 35mm mag prints at the time of CLOSE ENCOUNTER's theatrical release? I swear I read that DePalma's SCARFACE had 35mm 4-track mag prints as late as 1982, and Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA and William Friedkin's SORCEROR both had 4-track mag prints in the U.S. in 1977. I realize those two were released in U.S. theaters in the summer and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS at the end of the year so maybe things changed over those few months, but that doesn't explain SCARFACE in 1982, and the wording on the Criterion Laserdisc technical letter is weird- that they had to run the 4-track mag mix through a Dolby encoder themselves to "create" a Dolby Surround track for the Laserdisc- if there was already a matrix-encoded Dolby Stereo surround master done in 1977. Does CLOSE ENCOUNTERS have a Dolby Stereo tag in the end credits? My Laserdisc player is down and I don't have my UHD and Blu-rays of it anymore to check.

Vincent
 
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Stephen_J_H

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I know the difference between full-coat mag as a professional format and 4-track mag on prints, but are you sure that there weren't any 35mm mag prints at the time of CLOSE ENCOUNTER's theatrical release? I swear I read that DePalma's SCARFACE had 35mm 4-track mag prints as late as 1982, and Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA and William Friedkin's SORCEROR both had 4-track mag prints in the U.S. in 1977. I realize those two were released in U.S. theaters in the summer and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS at the end of the year so maybe things changed over those few months, but that doesn't explain SCARFACE in 1982, and the wording on the Criterion Laserdisc technical letter is weird- that they had to run the 4-track mag mix through a Dolby encoder themselves to "create" a Dolby Surround track for the Laserdisc- if there was already a matrix-encoded Dolby Stereo surround master done in 1977. Does CLOSE ENCOUNTERS have a Dolby Stereo tag in the end credits? My Laserdisc player is down and I don't have my UHD and Blu-rays of it anymore to check.

Vincent
CE3K does have a Dolby Stereo tag in the end credits.
 

Lord Dalek

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The only 4-track magnetic Dolby films were Yentl, Scarface, and surprisingly the 70mm Non-CDS prints of Edward Scissorhands.

Otherwise its 2.0 Optical LT/RT or 6-track magnetic 4/5.1 (or the VERY occasional 6.0 as with Heaven's Gate).
 
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