Posted Tue Jun 30, 2015 at 08:30 AM PDT by Sponsored Post
In our continued series aimed at delivering you the best Dolby Atmos demos, let's roll our sleeves up and breakdown the format's latest Blu-ray disc. Starring Sean Penn and Javier Bardem, with cameos by Ray Winstone and Idris Elba, 'The Gunman' is an old fashioned political thriller about black ops assassin Jim Terrier (Penn) who must confront his past in order to find out who wants him dead. This film features an engaging and immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack with numerous shootouts, explosions, and some interesting subjective-POV audio sequences
This movie's called 'The Gunman' for a reason. The black ops assassin is called to do his job: shoot a man in a moving car at an impossible distance. The moment the call his made, the op a go, music filters into the overhead channels and the movie ramps up the tension. The audience desperately anticipating the moment Jim Terrier pulls the trigger. When it comes, it sounds much less like a single bullet, and more like an artillery shell arcing across a battlefield. We get the initial thunder of the gun shot, followed by the a very specific bullet which pans from left to center (also over our heads), and landing with a deafening, glass shattering thud. It's an impressive sequence and a great sound effect.
A quickie, but a goodie for those who want to demonstrate their height channels and the biggest difference between Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and Dolby Atmos. In a fun transition moment, we cut from a brightly lit bedroom to a night-soaked jungle as an aircraft flies over the audience from the back of the sound field to the front. It might be a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, but this flyover reminds me of the early version of Dolby Atmos tested at the Dolby Labs "sandbox" -- it's an all-encompassing sound effect that is extremely lifelike and immersive.
Great audio is about more than bullets and booms; it's about supporting the story. In 'The Gunman', Jim Terrier suffers from head trauma that manifests itself as a ringing headache and visuals that fall somewhere between passing out and hallucination. For this demo, we get a combination of swirling ear-ringing which tears around the soundscape, followed by deep LFE-distorted vocal intonations and a thumping MRI machine. This sequence is not only great for character, for being fully in Jim Terrier's shoes, but it also offers wonderful dynamic range.
Our protagonist Jim Terrier is a hunted man. Sneaking back into his hotel room, he finds it rigged with explosives and assassins watching him from across the street. Now's the time for Jim to set his own trap, to lure his enemies to their deaths. This fun sequence builds sonically, adding suspense with musical score, the audience hoping Jim can set the trap in time (and not kill himself in the process).
Finally, the big pay off... A wonderfully nuanced and complex explosion that ping pongs around side and rear channels before the sequence ends with a smattering of debris sprinkling downwards. It's all very dynamic. Very subtle. And very specific.
In the film's second act climax, Jim finds himself alone and underground with the man who tried to have him killed. With nothing left to say, the first gunshot goes off, attracting Henchmen who unleash auditory hell, chasing Jim around in a series of underground tunnels.
Gunshots are always great for testing your speakers' ability to reproduce lifelike sounds because they're percussive and sharp and cover a range of different frequencies. 'The Gunman', again living up to its own title, offers excellent-sounding weapon fire as well as articulate panning and placement as this shootout climaxes.
BONUS DEMO -- keep this scene running until 01:31:17. The shootout ends and is replaced with a cat n' most chase. It's more subtle, populated by dripping water and echoing footsteps, and culminates in another one of Jim's subjective POV head trauma / ears ringing sequences.
There we have it. The Top Five Dolby Atmos Demos for 'The Gunman'. What are some of your favorite Blu-ray demos? Let us know in the comments below.
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