- On September 4, 2018
With CEDIA right around the corner, where manufacturers will be trying to dazzle you with demo scenes designed to show off their AV systems, this seemed like the right time to describe the seven things that make for great demo material:
1) Select your material from 4K HDR* content with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X immersive audio. You want to create a “Wow!” experience that shows off the best of what home theater can be. The “Retrieving the Camera” scene from The Shallows has a beautiful range of ocean blues and greens, while “Seeking Help from President Roosevelt” from Darkest Hour has ultra-deep black levels and terrific fine detail.
2) Your demo clip should tell a complete micro story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, that doesn’t require a lot of setup or explanation. It should have some drama or tension that captures the viewer’s attention and excites. For years, the go-to demo scene was the opening of Twister, with the family huddled in the storm shelter. Other great options are “The Bellbottoms Bank Job” from Baby Driver or “Tip the Hat” from San Andreas.
3) It should have some visual or sonic standout moments that you guide people to look for. These should be apparent to the viewer once they’re looking or listening for them, but should almost be like an Easter Egg they could miss if they weren’t paying attention. One standout is the “Surprise Attack” scene from Master and Commander (not available in 4K). Have customers listen for the wind, the sails snapping overhead, and people walking around above them. Another great scene is “The First Challenge” from Ready Player One, which is full of eye and ear candy.
4) The demo should be around 3 to 5 minutes long. This is enough time to hold someone’s attention while allowing you to roll a few clips together. But always ask the person if they have a little bit of time or if they’re in a hurry. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a demo when somebody gets antsy to leave.
5) Avoid offensive material. You can’t always know what might offend someone, so the scene should be free of swearing, sex, brutal violence, gore, Spiritism, etc. When you’re demoing to a family, maybe have an animated scene in your repertoire (such as “Dance Fight” from Despicable Me 3).
6) Don’t spoil the film for someone who hasn’t seen it. While a lot of the big, dramatic, demo-worthy moments in movies come near the end, these are usually best avoided. Instead, find a clip that will engage the viewer so they’ll want to see the whole film. The opening moments from Unbrokenand Baby Driver are both great examples.
7) Most important of all, the demo needs to be fun. For most people, having a luxury media system is about escape and enjoyment, so the demo should leave the viewer excited and smiling. Sure, they will watch tear jerkers, foreign films, and high art, but when you’re trying to get someone to buy into the idea of this luxury lifestyle, it should be fun. When the demo ends, the people should be on the edge of their seat waiting for what comes next, and wanting to watch that movie right away—preferably on a Kaleidescape in a system you installed in their home!
* The exception can be when demonstrating on a projector, which, depending on the model, can have difficulties with HDR. Make sure your selected HDR content looks good on your projector, and maybe use the UHD version instead if it looks better.
Share Your Favorite Demo
Do you have a really powerful demo scene you use? Tell us something about it—where it is in the film (or if it’s bookmarked by Kaleidescape), why you like it, why you find it effective, and how you set it up for your clients. We’ll share some of these dealer-suggested scenes in upcoming newsletters. If yours is selected, you’ll be given a download credit at the Kaleidescape Movie Store! Email your scene suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.