I remember back in 1996 when a friend told me about the cool dts trailer he saw before a movie – at that point I had only caught the Dolby “Train” and “City” trailers, and I was really interested in seeing the dts trailer. On July 3, 1996 I headed to the Oxford theater in Halifax, Nova Scotia to catch a little film called “Independence Day”. The Oxford is one of the very few old movie houses still in operation, which opened its doors on March 1, 1937. It is 78 years old, and had an extensive renovation in 2011.
While mostly a showcase for art house films today, in the 90’s it still was a first-run blockbuster venue. While the screen was not large, especially if you were seated in the balcony – the sound more than made up for it. To this day, I think it had the best sound of any theater I have been to. It had the loudest and lowest bass that I have ever experienced in a movie theater. In fact, the experience of seeing Independence Day at that theater ignited my desire to have a similar experience at home. It is why I have a 400 watt 16 inch subwoffer. Needless to say, the intense rumbling sounds of those space ships entering the Earth’s atmosphere were felt in the Oxford theater that day.
But the topic of this post is not the Oxford, or Independence Day, it is the dts trailer “The Digital Experience” that played before Independence Day graced the screen. On July 3, 1996 I finally saw it, and I was ecstatic. I wished I could have had it play again after that brief 32 seconds of sonic awesomeness. This then led me on the path to lusting over dts laser discs and decoders that were way, way out of my budget considering I was a student at the time. But the interest was there and eventually I was able to build my system piece by piece, foregoing laserdisc for DVD, which was new at the time. However, those first generation DVD players did not have support for bitstreaming dts. What? You could get dts on laserdisc players, but not on DVD? Oh, the joys of being an early adopter.
Eventually of course, I did get a dts supporting player (at the fraction of the cost of the first generation players) and dts encoded discs to revel in “the digital experience” at home. However, the vast majority of those dts discs had the dts “Sonic Landscape” trailer – which I hated. Sure “The Digital Experience” is very 90’s, brash, gawdy, and in your face….but “Sonic Landscape” was dull, quiet, and too short. “The Digital Experience” showed off every channel, had room shaking bass, and was perfect for getting you stoked to watch a bombastic action flick in dts.
It did make an appearance on a few DVDs. Terminator 2 – Judgement Day had it, as did the Superbit releases from Sony.
I still like to play this trailer before appropriate movies at home, and I discovered the best version of it over at originaltrilogy.com where some fellas have taken on a trailer preservation project for it. I tried to upscale the one found on the Panic Room Superbit DVD, but their upscale is better than mine. They upscaled it to 1080p, and while it is not “true 1080p” it is likely as good as it is going to get. Much better than some of the “1080p” versions that are out there on YouTube. A big thanks to those who have worked on this upscaling effort. You can find it over at the DTS trailers page.