Posted Fri Nov 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM PST by Sponsored Post
The Art of the Demo is a precise science designed to test the strengths and weaknesses of new gear -- are these speakers capable of reproducing dynamic sonics; does this amp add any unwanted tonality? -- and also a way to spread your enthusiasm of the home cinema hobby to your friends and family. As such, when it come time for the demo, you need to be ready with precise cues that will wow any audience.
With 30 Blu-ray titles either currently available or set to release before the end of 2015, as well as several VUDU title options, many Dolby Atmos encoded soundtracks make great demonstrations. As such, we've set out to highlight a few demos when new Dolby Atmos-enabled Blu-rays come our way.
Last week we saw the release of Guy Ritchie's latest film, 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.', which stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Cold War era spies, Solo and Kuryakin, who must team up to find a missing Nazi scientist who may be building a nuclear weapon. Based on the 1960s TV series, this film offers a breezier take on spying -- charming men; exotic women and locales -- than the most recent 'Bond' movies.
As a demo disc, it offers a sparkling video presentation with a rich, saturated color palette. And the Dolby Atmos mix, while not the most aggressive of the year in terms of height speaker usage, is quite solid and boasts more than a few demonstration-worthy moments to wow any guests who find themselves in your home theatre. When watching the whole film, take special notice of the music cues (a multi-fascinated score composed by Daniel Pemberton), factory lights turning on, helicopter rotors, swinging light bulbs, and other such sound effects that help create a full sense of hemispherical immersion.
Here are my Top Five favorites listed in chronological order (SPOILER WARNING for those who wish to avoid mention of any plot points):
Our first demo finds Solo and Kuryakin breaking into a hidden vault underneath an enemy factory. In addition to echoing lights clicking on in a cavernous space (which is technically a little earlier than the timecode listed above), sound effects begin with vault lock tumblers clicking into place all around us, followed by alarm bells, 360-degrees worth of ricocheting bullets, and several vrooming boat engines. In addition to articulate surround panning, the entire mix is lifted upwards by a jaunty Spanish guitar.
Next let's explore Dolby Atmos' ability to provide nuanced sound panning while showing off your speakers' tonal ranges. Solo is trapped in an electric chair as a sadistic Nazi describes his own personal history with torture. Sonically, we open with a sharp door closing, followed by a swinging light bulb, its stretching chord creaking overhead and around the soundstage. All is relatively quiet until a bomb drops (literally), the LFE crashes, and the music swells. The choral score elements are immersive with pops of other effects like boat wakes and helicopter rotors. It's an excellent little sequence that will showoff the color of any system, and challenge your speakers mid to high capabilities.
Less an action set-piece than a wonderfully stylish transition, this demo sees all of our characters, good and bad, either departing from or racing towards the enemy's lair. The demo begins with a series of concussive gun shots which morph into thundering drums that bounce from front to back and back to front of the listening environment. This demo will test high and low frequencies as well as speaker placement. And, where are our next demo wins extra points for sound effects immersion, the film's music really shines here (as it once again displays its musical genre variation).
My favorite demo on the disc. This sequence features a furious chase across hilly terrain and one river. It begins with Solo uncovering a dune buggy to chase the villain, who has taken off with the bomb and the girl. A vocal cue, akin to something from a spaghetti western, swirls up and around the entire room before revving engines take over for the chase itself. Tires spit grave and debris, vehicles splash through water And, as the scene builds, we get to flip over with a crashing SUV (the sound rotating over head) before thunder and falling rain round out the experience. It's a longer demo, but one that offers variation in both nuance and aggression.
Our last demo is a quick one, but also very dynamic, transitioning between mid-and-upper tonal ranges, total immersion, and some nice rumbling LFE. It begins with Kuryakin on the phone receiving instructions from the KGB; what he learns frustrates him so greatly he slams down the phone and throws a mini-tantrum. In this moment, the sound mix surges to life with a great sense of character-driven-POV; IE, the mix defines Kuryakin's emotional shifts with tolling bells that envelope the entire sound stage. This is all supported with a low, pressurized LFE that builds up into a full rumble until a door knock releases everything.
There we have it. The Top Five Dolby Atmos Demo Moments in 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' What are your favorite demos on this disc, or favorite demos that you've found recently? Hit up the comments below or forums to let us. know.
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