- On May 21, 2018
Stop Making Sense, “Burning Down the House”
(length: 4 minutes)
Demonstrating a concert is a great way to show how Kaleidescape’s Movie Guide team bookmarks all the songs so viewers can easily jump to a favorite moment. It also provides the chance to point out that Kaleidescape’s Movie Store offers more than movies, with over 150 concerts available in HD quality, most costing less than $20.
But using a concert for demos can be tricky. Unlike a film where there’s a lot going on even if you don’t care for a particular actor, a concert places the whole focus on the band and the music. If your audience isn’t a fan of the band or song, they’re likely to be bored and unengaged for 3 to 4 minutes.
Stop Making Sense is a perfect demo because it isn’t like your typical concert. Filmed by director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), this is more a film than a typical concert, as attested to by its 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating, with multiple critics calling it “the greatest concert film ever made.” This movie captures the Talking Heads performing in 1984 at the height of their career, putting on a terrific show Demme choreographed, framed, and shot like a movie. This is sourced from the original 35mm print, and a lot of grain is visible as well as some occasional dirt, but don’t let that deter you. Fortunately, black levels are fairly deep and mostly noise-free.
“Burning Down the House” (the sixth song) has a ton of energy, is a track anyone over 40 should immediately recognize, and is the first point in the film where the entire band is on stage. Sense has a very minimal stage by design, with most of the band wearing drab colors because frontman David Byrne wanted people to focus on the music. You won’t see lasers and Jumbotrons here, but rather a stage full of performers jamming their hearts out. Unlike concerts that are usually shot with lots of cutaways to the crowd, Demme focuses entirely on the band, letting you really appreciate the energy of the performance, and it’s clear the group is just having fun, which is contagious.
Before starting the demo, ask if it’s OK to turn it up a bit, as concerts are more authentic when played back at near reference volume. This download offers the choice of two DTS-HD 5.1 soundtracks—the remixed original film track and a new studio mix. During some songs, the studio mix features deeper bass and more focused vocals—however, the original track for “Burning” tends to feel wider and more enveloping. But experiment with both to determine which sounds the best on your system.