|Category||Music Video||Theatrical Trailer(s)||None|
|Year Released||1976||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||132:03 Minutes||Other Extras||None|
Warner Home Video
John Paul Jones
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, music after credits|
Because this is partly a concert video, with live footage of the band playing in Madison Square Garden interspersed between pieces of a semi-plot, I will include a track listing for your benefit. The song titles that are formatted as such are reproduced here according to the format of the packaging:
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 Enhanced. It appears that parts of the image have been lost from the bottom of the frame, with part of the opening credits being cut off.
The transfer is reasonably sharp for the most part, until the aforementioned shot less than two minutes into the film, which is so diffuse that it would seem to be a source material issue rather than the fault of the transfer. The shadow detail is rather poor, with the darker parts in the transfer mostly being exactly that: large patches of black with little or no detail discernible in them. Thankfully, low level noise didn't appear to be a problem with the darker parts of the transfer, although film grain is a bit of an issue in some shots, with Robert Plant's ride through the forest at 50:14 being the worst example.
The colour saturation is somewhat variable according to the subject of the shot, with bright greenery and the band themselves being warmly saturated while the images of Gothic architecture in some shots looked quite dull. The concert footage, on the other hand, appears to be something of a mess where colour saturation is concerned, with the band appearing as smears of colour under the stage lights. This is more a problem with the way in which the concert footage was staged and photographed than anything else. Overall, however, you can expect a lot of bright, warmly rendered colours to be seen in this film, and the transfer captures them within the limitations of the twenty-four year old film.
MPEG artefacts were not found in this film, with a high bitrate and an abundance of easily compressed shadows resulting in what appears to be transparent compression. Film-to-video artefacts mainly consisted of shimmering in car grilles and other such fine lines, but thankfully, the musical instruments were pretty much free of this artefact, which is not exactly plentiful anyway. Film artefacts were plentiful, but they were mostly small and well-controlled by the standards of a twenty-five year-old film that was independently produced and hasn't seen a home video release in the better part of fifteen years, if at all. Parts of this film were used to comprise a commercial for the Remasters boxed set a while ago, and they were certainly the best parts of the film as far as clarity and artefacts were concerned.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 84:33, between Chapter 21 (No Comment) and Chapter 22 (Stairway To Heaven). Although this layer change is well-placed due to the fact that it is not disruptive to the film, it results in decidedly uneven compression, with over eighty minutes to one layer and around forty-six minutes to the other. The transition between Chapters 13 and 14 would have been a better place to put a layer change in this regard, even if the transition would have been more disruptive to the flow of the film.
While this transfer is adequate for the purposes of the film, the fidelity and channel separation of the music would have benefited from at least a Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack or a higher bitrate, such as 384 kilobits a second. The dialogue, when there is dialogue, is clear and easy to understand most of the time, with the only difficulties in the soundtrack being caused by the manner in which the performers speak. The vocals in the music are also clear and easy to understand for the most part, although this is conditional on the pace of the music, with faster songs such as Rock & Roll losing something in the clarity of Robert Plant's voice. It is also worth noting that this particular song is the only one on the disc that actually sounds like it was actually recorded live. There did not appear to be any audio sync problems that were the fault of the transfer, although the effort made to keep the visuals in sync with the audio during the actual production of the film is occasionally questionable.
The music in this film is all the work of Led Zeppelin, naturally. The music syncs up well with the visuals, although this is mainly because the visuals are designed to complement the music instead of the other way around. The sound of the music is left wanting by the format of the soundtrack, but I doubt that the source material was particularly rich and filled with clarity to begin with. Considering the recording techniques of the time, it really is a wonder that this film sounds as good as it does, but compressing the audio as tightly as this soundtrack was not the best of ideas in my humble opinion.
The surround channels are hardly used, with some very quiet redirection of parts of the guitar and drum sounds making up the involvement that the rears had in this soundtrack. Don't expect a rousing surround field that immerses you in the film, because it just isn't available here. In basic terms, this is a stereo soundtrack with the bare minimum of surround channel usage necessary to be considered a Pro-Logic mix. The subwoofer, on the other hand, was called on frequently to support the drums and bass, although the manner in which it becomes silent during the dialogue sequences makes its sudden awakening in the music sequences a little conspicuous.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is good.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode, using S-video input|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|