Three Clips That You Will Want to Show Your Next Potential Client
Finding great demo material for your showroom without getting stuck in a rut or resorting to the obvious is no easy task. (Seriously, how many times did you sit through snippets of Avatar at this year’s CEDIA EXPO? How about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D? That’s what I thought.) I’m here in the hopes of making that job a little easier. And although I’ll no doubt be shuffling through some of the more popular go-to demo discs in the coming months, helping you find the perfect scene to leave your showroom projector’s fans gasping for air and your subwoofers registering on the Richter Scale, for the inaugural installment of The Demo Scene I thought we’d take a look at a few titles that haven’t been–and probably won’t be–done to death. Don’t worry, though: these less-than-obvious discs still promise to blow your customers’ hair back. Show them Avatar, sure, but if you really want to wow new clients, you need to give them a home theater experience they’ve never had before.
On the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World disc, skip to Chapter 15, in which our titular hero’s band faces off against two evil DJs in a head-to-head sonic brawl that’ll pressure cook the air in your theater like a shiny aural crock pot.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Blu-ray)
Take the latest epic romp from Edgar Wright (he of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame), for instance. Unless one of the 11 people who saw it cinemas happens to walk through your doors, chances are you’re showing them something completely new when you pop it in. Which is a shame, because it’s a hell of a good time, in a self-referential, pop-culture-referencing, disinterested hipster sort of way.
Then again, what do we care if it’s a good movie? We’re here to set screens ablaze and send speaker systems into fits of apoplexy, and this flick does so in spades with a rocking DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and an aesthetic that calls to mind a pissed-off rainbow and a case of Crayola Doodling Markers locked in a terrible tussle in an old Technicolor processing plant.
To see what I mean, skip to Chapter 15, in which our titular hero’s band faces off against two evil DJs in a head-to-head sonic brawl that’ll pressure cook the air in your theater like a shiny aural crock pot. Waves of bass-laden music slam together in the center of the room like two fiery phonic serpents and a 10-ton simian made of pure sound going at it dragono-a-gorillo, rattling the rafters, tearing down walls, and rumbling your naughty bits. And lest you think that’s just another of my ridiculous similes, no–that’s actually what’s happening onscreen. And off.
Centurion isn’t all just sound and fury; it also boasts an utterly film-like image that is beautifully textured and richly contrasted, with a deliciously monochromatic palette.
This gritty historical action-fest, on the other hand? Not such a good movie. Not in the slightest. But you’d never know it from a quick look at the final, desperate showdown between the straggling Roman soldiers and their scrappy Celtic adversaries in Chapter 14.
A word of warning: you might want to prepare release forms before you cue this one up, not so much for the salty language and gratuitous bloodshed, but more for the fact that anyone in your theater is going to feel as much as hear every thunderous hoof beat, every whizzing arrow, every tooth-clattering clang of steel on steel when the 7.1-channel Master Audio track hits its stride.
Centurion isn’t all just sound and fury, though; it also boasts an utterly film-like image–beautifully textured and richly contrasted, with a deliciously monochromatic palette peppered by not-so-subtle splashes of eye-popping hues (usually red, this being a war picture and all), and blacks at times so inky, you’ll swear you need a “Wet Paint: Do Not Touch” sign for the screen at the front of the room.
For your Rock Band 3 demo, stick a family in front of a really hot system cranked to 11, and every flubbed guitar note squawks a little squawkier when it fills the room, every missed drumbeat is a bit more giggle-inducing when the sound mix is this good.
Rock Band 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
No doubt much of the focus of your showroom experience is on control. Why not give your clients complete control of the theater experience in a way they may never have expected? Granted, most people have at least heard of Rock Band–the ultimate party game, in which you strap on plastic instruments, grab a microphone, and jam along with literally thousands of disc-based and downloadable songs by artists running the gamut from Amy Winehouse to Yes–but even if your customers are familiar with the game, even if they’ve played it, even if they own it, I’d be willing to bet it’s relegated to the kids’ playroom at best.
The game’s blistering high-definition graphics and rocking 5.1-channel soundtrack really deserve better than that. (And who said surround-sound music was dead? You just have to help make it yourself.) Stick a family in front of a really hot system cranked to 11, and yes, every flubbed guitar note squawks a little squawkier when it fills the room, every missed drumbeat is a bit more giggle-inducing when the sound mix is this good. But when they nail that perfect guitar solo for the first time, finally lay down that groovy beat, and hear their very own wailing vocals pouring out of that great big wall of sound, while the hoots and hollers of adoring fans (virtual though they may be) bathe them from every direction, they’ll never settle again for anything less.