Great Movie Scenes to Test Your Home Theater
Test Your Home Theater
March 04, 2008 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
These movies scenes are a great gauge of just how good, or bad, your TV’s picture is.
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Posted by Cory  on  03/04  at  09:40 AM

Anything by Pixar Blu-ray

Transformers HD-DVD

Planet Earth Blu-ray

Posted by Scott Elder  on  03/04  at  10:54 AM

Opening scene of the first Pirates Of The Carribean film on Blu Ray is the best test of flicker for any LCD projector or projection TV.  The haze in that scene will reveal vertical bars like nothing else.

Posted by Jon  on  03/04  at  11:44 AM

Old standard for audio is the “Blue Lady” scene from 5th element.  Superbit is a better format for audio testing if you can find it.  Her vocal range is across the board on the high end, and the fighting interspersed through the scene is great for your mids and lows. 

Also good for testing surround sound is the big “lots of guns” fight scene in the first Matrix. 

Finally, close to the beginning of XXX is a short scene where a dart or something is shot from the back right to the center.  It’s a really good test of your surround separation, as you can actually hear it run from over your shoulder to directly in front of you.  Can’t recommend the movie for much else though..

Oh ya…found you via stumbleupon!

Posted by Video Savant  on  03/04  at  01:30 PM

This article does a disservice to anyone who genuinely wants to know whether his or her HDTV or home theater display is providing accurate images. I’m certain that anyone relying on this article for picture quality guidance will end up worse off than where they started and be mostly clueless as to why, how and when it happened.

I’m an imaging science professional, and I recognize that most people don’t really care about picture quality—at least not enough to take the time to learn what quality imaging is actually about and how to go about accomplishing it. For most consumers buying a new TV, whatever comes out of the box is miles better than what they had before, and thanks to HDTV and high quality programming sources now available to the average consumer, this is a truly worthwhile development.

But if you really care about image quality and you want to do some basic picture quality “due diligence,” then you should grab either the Digital Video Essentials or Monster/ISF HDTV Calibration Wizard test discs.

Using these test discs to adjust the basic user controls should yield actual, objective picture quality improvements, as well as providing some basic explanations about both the how and why of basic display setup. These discs cost less than $50, and in many cases can be found at public or lending libraries.

Going the test disc route will get the determined viewer about 75% of the way to accurate imaging. For those who desire something a lot closer to the ideal, they should contact a trained video calibrator who can explain the basics of professional calibration and whether it would be of benefit, based on room environment, viewing preferences and budget:

Posted by Chuck McKenney  on  03/04  at  01:39 PM

Thanks Video Savant for your input. But we have done numerous articles on calibration.

- Get the Best Picture from Your New TV
- How Can I Tell If My TV Needs to Be Calibrated?
- Coming Soon: Self-Calibrating Home Theaters

We are simply putting a creative spin on a topic which has already been covered.

Posted by Alan Brown  on  03/04  at  02:31 PM

“Creative spin,” that explains why I got dizzy just reading it.  I was linked to this article from AVScience forum’s home page.  Unfortunately, two decades of imaging science advocacy by the home entertainment media has gradually become more and more compromised and watered down.  Some of your readers may find your approach interesting, but I doubt seriously the average consumer will understand better how to correct what such a “test” might reveal or properly adjust their TV picture controls.  I realize you have space constraints but reading your article had me literally squirming in my seat. 

Your publication is certainly capable of excellent work.  This one just got my attention, and seriously disappointed me.  My expectation is that it will only serve to further confuse and burden the typical video consumer.

Best regards,
Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.,

“Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging”

Posted by anon  on  03/04  at  05:33 PM

As an amateur videophile, this article in no way helps me “test” my home theater.  Without knowing what to look for, this read felt like a waste of time.  At least a few links in the article would have helped steer us in the right direction (since I’ve never been to this site).  The reader comments were more helpful.

Posted by soundzilla  on  03/04  at  06:54 PM

maybe calibration” wasn’t the right word. Perhaps these are clips that are good for demonstrating a cross-section of material on one’s video setup rather than using for a serious performance test. I don’t think the author intended to misinform, I’m guessing “calibration” wasn’t really what was meant.

Posted by Chuck McKenney  on  03/04  at  09:26 PM

Thank you Soundzilla.

Posted by Video Savant  on  03/04  at  10:12 PM

So, what’s really intended here is some suggested programming that will help someone appreciate a properly calibrated display.

I’m all for that—and if the article had said that I probably would have enjoyed reading it.

Posted by Ryan Spencer  on  03/04  at  11:19 PM

ouch, that guy(above poster) just bombed you! He is spot on!

Posted by pete  on  03/05  at  09:43 AM

I cant say it helps calibrate your theater but a list of movies that works your theater to its potential is more the way this article should go.  Of all the HD movies I have watched Transformers and Serenity worked my theater the most.  Found my self hearing more explosions and wanting to really crank everything with these movies.

Posted by James  on  03/05  at  10:45 AM


Vertical Limit is a great movie use because of the colors on snow and you should be able to see the details in the snow. Get it in super bit audio

Posted by Zuppy  on  03/06  at  01:24 PM

I must say that since revamping my theater and going HD with a Sony VPL VW40 Projector, and a PS3 for Blu-Ray. (Still running 5.1 Audio). I would have to say that as far as putting your system to the test:

All Blu-Ray:
Top 3:
Casino Royale
Lord of War
The Last Samurai

Posted by Michael Madden  on  03/08  at  12:08 PM

Interesting-I too was expecting something different in the article-The subject title was on topic but the comment “show off - or show up ” made me expect more of a list of “WOW” titles to “show-off” the system to guests. Still good information to see how well your systems handles the difficult stuff. I guess its all in one’s intrerpretation.

As far as WOW stuff-I am still putting a list together, but to “show-off” my system to my guests-especially those still in the home theater dark ages and looking to show the better half what “could” be done. My list is for video-but mostly for the home theater audio. I also use it to check everything out after I amke tweaks or upgrade components.
Short list so far (ever evolving):

Ice Age-Opening scene with Scrat
Master and Commander-beginning with the creaking ship sounds and the attack
Shark Tale-The colors are incredible-I saw a major difference when upgrading from one hdtv to another.
For the best edge of your seat kind of scene-so far I would have to say Behind Enemy Lines-the SAM attack scene-WOW! WOW WOW!!
I am eager to try:
Lord of the Rings
Star Wars I -I’ve heard the pod race is incredible

The list could go on and on-but I am only just getting started and will eventually be making my own “demo” DVD or Media Center playlist. I also only have some much time allowance to ‘play’.

I would be very interested to see lists that others have put together.

Posted by Leonard Caillouet  on  03/25  at  07:30 PM

Wow, artistic license applied to the science of display calibration and evaluation.  Great if you are practicing creative writing, but in terms of helping to evaluate or calibrate a display, just about the most vague and confusing group of suggestions that I have ever seen.

There are specific standards and methods that are applied to evaluate the performance of a video system.  They lead to excellent results with little ambiguity.  You might try using as much creativity in making them make sense to the avarage users rather than confusing them with subjective blather.

Posted by J Daddy  on  04/11  at  10:58 AM

Die Hard 1 - when John (Bruce Willis) throws the computer down the elevator shaft with C4 attached!! KA - BOOM baby!!

Posted by Paul McDonald  on  04/11  at  12:51 PM

The sound track of the remastered Star Trek Motion Picture Series in HD is Awesome.

Posted by Josh  on  04/18  at  01:31 PM

Have to agree with Michael Madden…the SAM attack in Behind Enemy Lines is awesome!

Also in Transformers, the fight scene where one of the Autobots jumps over the woman in the street, wow!

Posted by Walt  on  04/21  at  02:29 PM

Black Hawk Down the Helicopter scenes, especially the crash.

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