K.D. Lang

Harvest Of Seven Years

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Video Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating g.gif (1187 bytes) Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1991 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 71:55 Minutes
(Not 60 Minutes as per packaging)
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Jim Gable
Warner Reprise
Warner Vision
Starring K.D. Lang
Case Super Jewel
RRP $39.95 Music K.D. Lang

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital None
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes, sort of
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    K.D. Lang is one of those performers where the strength of her media image has become somewhat more powerful than the quality of her performances, although there is no denying that the woman can sing, and sing well. Perhaps it is the pedestrian style of the music that leads me to this conclusion, because the slow, lounge chair style of the songs that she is most famous for certainly doesn't excite me in any way. In any case, Harvest Of Seven Years, as the title suggests, is a compilation of seven years from this vocalist's moderately remarkable career. Specifically, this is a compilation of the first seven years of her career, with nineteen songs on offer that contain some surprises for those of us who have grown used to the Lang style as it has been known since the Ingénue album. An excellent example is the opening song found on this DVD, Friday Dance Promenade; who would have thought that this particular lounge singer got her start on a Country music show? If anything, The Harvest Of Seven Years will prove to you that K.D. Lang is capable of singing more than lazily-paced pop songs, even if the pop element never truly goes away.

    Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of this woman and her music, for reasons I just cannot quite put my finger on, but this is certainly a worthwhile purchase for those of us who seek her video performances in digital. The tracklisting for this DVD is as follows:

    Okay, so there's really only seventeen songs once you take out the live versions of songs that exist elsewhere on the disc in studio form. Perhaps the fact that nineteen songs from my personal music collection would take a four-hour DVD to store makes me biased, but there's certainly worse performers that are more highly placed in the Top 40. If your idea of a good song allows for constant repetition of the rhythm figure as long as the vocals are well-performed (in other words, if you are incapable of doing what I call "listening past the top layer"), then the programme content is certainly worth considering.

Transfer Quality


    Considering that the technical specifications of the disc, as specified on the back of the case, make it clear that this programme was filmed and produced with VHS in mind, I am amazed that this DVD looks as good as it does. The transfer is presented Full Frame, and appears to have been shot with a Betacam recorder a lot of the time, so obviously it is not 16x9 enhanced. The transfer is clear and reasonably sharp in that K.D. Lang, who is almost always the main focus of each shot, can be easily made out. The detail apparent in most shots is somewhat reduced by the fact that this music video was shot specifically for a low-resolution medium, but all things considered, what we have here is not too bad at all. The shadow detail in most of the presentation is poor, with the black parts of the transfer being just that - large expanses of black with no detail readily apparent in them. Surprisingly, there did not seem to be any low-level noise apparent in any part of the transfer.

    The colour saturation is really all over the place in this transfer, with some of the songs exhibiting oversaturation, while others were perfectly accurate. Johnny Get Angry features some of the most oversaturated skin tones I have seen in a music video, whereas Don't Be A Lemming Polka, which follows immediately afterward, is perfectly smooth and natural where colours are concerned. This leads me to believe that the occasions of oversaturation in the transfer are inherent in the source material. Some slight colour bleeding was noted during the oversaturated portions of the transfer, as well as those which weren't quite so oversaturated, but this was much better controlled than I was expecting. Some chroma noise occasionally found its way into long shots of K.D. Lang with a microphone, but this was also quite minor and well-controlled compared to what one would expect of the source material.

    MPEG artefacts generally weren't discernible at any point in the transfer, although I am certain that one or two made their presence known for the briefest of moments during the more active performances. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very mild aliasing on chrome lines such as on the stage during Chapter 6 (Johnny Get Angry). Once again, I am surprised at how well-controlled this artefact really is, as the source material used to comprise this DVD is hardly what one would call ideal for artefact control. Film artefacts were mostly absent from the presentation, and mostly confined to Chapter 11 (Crying, which is incidentally a duet with the late Roy Orbison).


    Now, so far the videotape vintage of this DVD has not significantly hindered it, but I must stress those two important words: so far. Sadly, the audio transfer is problematic at best, in spite of being presented in Linear PCM at a sample rate of 1536 kilobits per second. In a nutshell, the audio transfer is lacking resolution, and it would not surprise me to learn that it is merely recycled and upconverted from the original VHS master. To get an idea of the worst problem in this audio transfer, one can simply record a sample of their favourite music into a CD-quality WAV file, downconvert it to radio quality, and then upconvert it back to CD-quality. The sound on this DVD gives the distinct impression that this is what has occurred here, with the between-song speeches in particular suffering a high-frequency whine that can only be attributed to extra resolution being added where there was none to begin with. The first few songs on the DVD also suffer this malady, with the vocals having a whiny, digitally-distorted sound while the instruments have a compressed, frequency-limited feel. This improved dramatically after Chapter 9 (Turn Me Round), but this conversion artefact still plagued the programme to some extent. Audio sync was not a problem during the material that was recorded live, but it could not be more obvious that the promotional videos, what few there were on this disc, were mimed.

    K.D. Lang's voice, being the primary focus of this presentation, was clear and easy to make out at all times, even when hobbled by this high-frequency whine. I'll give her this much as a performer: even when she is held back by severe technical limitations, she manages to get across that she is perfectly capable of singing and singing well. Similarly, the music is well-written within its own stylistic confines, and it is obvious that Lang chooses her session musicians well. However, the main focus here is the vocals, and they are exceptionally easy to make out in spite of the resolution hassles in the general audio transfer.

    Being a straight stereo mix, there was no surround presence to speak of, another reflection of the fact that this programming was recorded at a time when six channel mixes were a fantasy element over the horizon. In spite of the limitations, this audio mix gave a distinct impression that K.D. Lang was seated right next to me, singing along with the music. Whether this was because of the high volume and resolution of this audio mix, or simply because of the strength of the performance, I really cannot say for certain. The subwoofer was called into action frequently in order to support the bass and drums, as well as the occasional dose of backing vocals, and did this all without making itself conspicuous.


    There are no real extras on this disc, although a small piece of paper listing K.D. Lang's releases on CD is included.


    Little more than a chapter selection menu, and not a particularly attractive one at that. It does not appear to be 16x9 enhanced, which would be pointless since the rest of the programming certainly isn't.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this disc appear to be identically featured. I was unable to locate any information about the casing afforded to this title in Region 1, but if the audio mix is the same, then I would have to sadly state that you're better off buying neither version.


    K.D. Lang - The Harvest Of Seven Years is a good music video presented on a problematic DVD.

    The video quality is very good considering that digital video was still a fantasy element when the programme and its source material were made.

    The audio quality is highly problematic, and strongly suggests upconversion from an analogue music video.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
July 13, 2000.

Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer