|Category||Music Video||Theatrical Trailer(s)||None|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||106:31 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Region||1,2,3,4,5,6||Director||Where do I begin?|
|RRP||$34.95||Music||Michael Jackson et al|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The song list is as follows:
Side One is definitely my pick, with some classics that took me back to my early teens. Watching "Billie Jean" sent shivers down my spine. This man can dance like there is no tomorrow, and just watching him do his thing is entertainment enough for me. The 1995 MTV performance is even better, but not as groundbreaking; however, he does do a part of the same routine in there for old times sake, even though he physically looks almost like a different person.
Side One (59:08) Side Two (47:23) 1. Programme Start 1. Scream 2. Teaser 2. Childhood 3. Billie Jean (Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever) 3. You Are Not Alone 4. Beat It 4. Earth Song 5. Liberian Girl 5. They Don't Care About Us 6. Smooth Criminal 6. Stranger In Moscow 7. 1995 MTV Video Music Awards Performance 7. Blood On The Dance Floor 8. Thriller 8. Brace Yourself
If you want a trip down memory lane, and also don't mind his newer work (which does little for me, to be honest), I heartily recommend this DVD. Good thing is, we also get to see the lovely Janet Jackson wear some tight black pants in Scream.
I have little love for NTSC, though it really doesn't bother me too much if the source is music video - as far as I am concerned, the music is first in these cases. Having said that, there are times on this disc where I really would have liked this to be PAL since the video is such an important component in Michael Jackson's music videos. As you can glean from the song list, Side One is older material - and some would say, including me, the best material; Side Two is made up of relatively recent videos. It's a bit like when an old band tours for a new album - you get all the old great stuff, and you just know that you will have to suffer through the new, usually much worse, album that is being promoted. Being better and obeying DVD's great unwritten law*, Side One therefore looks like it has been taken through the ringer for the most part, whereas Side Two looks the bees knees. Rather than list each song, it is far simpler to say that by and large, Side One looks aged, with film artefacts and a distinct loss of detail in the image, not to mention a total lack of shadow detail and plenty of low-level noise. Side Two is sharp, detailed, clean and only suffers from being NTSC. Had this been PAL, Side Two would have rivalled Madonna's 93-99 Video Collection for sheer perfection of image. The complaints of Side One, however, are not the fault of the DVD producers - just simply the fault of time itself.
The colours on Side One are washed out and a little dull, but they are there. Liberian Girl is a standout, having excellent colour saturation. Side Two has brilliant, vivid colours and is joyous to watch. Chroma noise was not a problem overall, apart from They Don't Care About Us, which is composite sourced and as a result suffers from every artefact known to man - dot crawl, chroma-noise and jaggies.
Mercifully, there were no single instances of MPEG artefacting at all, even during the old material. As I mentioned, Side One suffers from all manner of film artefacts, especially Thriller, which looks like it was found lying naked on the floor in someone's basement. There were no film-to-video artefacts apart from maybe a touch of telecine wobble in the odd old clip, but techniques then were not what they are now where telecine wobble is down to a fine art and not just random like it used to be.
Side One did sound dated, especially those songs from the album Thriller, which was in honesty a poorly engineered album anyway. The rest of the songs, and especially those on Side Two, were of much higher quality.
Surprisingly, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track made little to no use of the rear channels. I found myself physically putting my ear against them to see if anything was coming out at all. This leads me to wonder why include the 5.1 mix if it is not going to be used properly. I mean, the only reason you should use it is for a surround version of the songs I would have thought, especially when there is a very decent 1.5 megabits per second stereo PCM stream available anyway! Obviously there are far greater minds than mine at work here, because I don't understand it at all. Silly me.
The subwoofer was nicely used by the more recent songs, and enjoyed dancing to the music.
The video transfer is perfectly acceptable for the older material, and downright gorgeous for the recent stuff. Pity about it being NTSC though.
The LPCM audio is very nice, and gets better throughout the progression of the disc. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is unremarkable.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)|
|Display||Rear-Projection Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9|
|Audio Decoder||d t s 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player internal decoder)|
|Amplification||Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ|
|Speakers||Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive|