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The Best Movies for Testing and Calibrating Your Home Theater
Perfecting the audio and video of your home theater takes a lot of testing and calibrating. The work does not stop at simply purchasing the best brands or products available and hiring installation professionals to set up the various components of your home theater system. There is more to it than that, and you may have to spend a few hours testing to see if your subwoofers are properly augmenting your bass, or if your picture enables the kind of cinematic-quality entertainment experience that you’ve paid money to enjoy at home.
That’s why you’ll notice that your home theater components will have come with calibration CDs for either audio or video. While one can usually count on these to get the job done, sometimes a homeowner will prefer to test his or her home entertainment system with an actual movie – in which case, we bring you a list of favorite movies for testing or auditioning audio and video systems.
Transformers: The first ten minutes of this 2007 science-fiction film is packed with amazing visual effects and heart-stopping, room-rattling action sequences. There’s also the great scene in which the Autobots descend to the earth for the first time. (The scene has perfect background music, too.) The performance of your home theater during both of these scenes should serve as a good indicator for how well it will perform when you listen to music or watch other movies.
The Incredible Hulk: We’re referring to the 2008 version with Edward Norton as the lead superhero. The movie provides an incredible bass experience, especially in the earlier showdown between the title creature and the US Army (deploying high-tech weapons including sound-wave cannons), the fight scene between the Hulk and Abomination, and the jaw-dropping helicopter drop scene.
Terminator Salvation: This 2009 blockbuster hit makes for an awesome demo, thanks to its string of action scenes involving robots, cycles, helicopters – you name it. It isn’t the most expensive independent production in film history for nothing. Oh, and the movie also has a gorgeous soundtrack composed by the legendary Danny Elfman, every nuance of which you’ll hear with a good sound system.
War of the Worlds: You really didn’t think we’d leave Steven Spielberg off this list, did you? He has plenty of movies that make for great home theater demos – Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, among many other box-office darlings – and War of the Worlds gets our vote, thanks to the heart-stopping scene in which tripods rise from the earth. That is early in the movie, which by no means lacks action – or great audio and video – in the latter part.
Cloverfield: A great home theater system lets you in on what’s happening, and pulls you in to the world of cinema with a truly immersive experience. For its handheld camera cinematography, for its documentary-style storytelling, and for its intriguing plot, Cloverfield, the 2008 disaster-monster film, is on this list.
The Lord of the Rings (trilogy): It’s a film – or trilogy of films – produced in epic proportions, and the sound and video reflect that. There are so many memorable scenes, too, and we don’t know where to start. But you can rest assured – and be happy with anything else you put in the player – if your home entertainment system captures or displays the eerie dark backgrounds and textured landscapes of the film.
Also deserving mention are these movies:
- Star Trek
- The Dark Knight
- Iron Man
- Harry Potter: Order of The Phoenix
- The Matrix (those body-twisting and bullet-gliding scenes, remember?)
- Minority Report
- The Fifth Element
For more lists, visit this thread at the AV Science Forum. Happy testing and viewing!