|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||185:54 minutes||Other Extras||Discography
Menu Animation and Audio
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||2.0|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||No||Dolby Digital||None|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (MPEG 2.0, 192 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||Full Frame||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
And this collection certainly demonstrates the essence of the music of Midnight Oil, as they gradually evolved from just another hotel band to a band rooted enormously in their Australian-ness, and a band happy to celebrate Australia whilst also delivering very strong messages about the environment, race relations and other topics of concern to modern Australia. The tracks on offer on what is technically a double sided DVD (some will consider it a flipper, but it is not in my view as there are two distinct programs on each side, one side with video clips and the other with live performances), are as follows:
The Clips: US Forces, Power & The Passion, Read About It, Best Of Both Worlds, Pictures, The Dead Heart, Beds Are Burning, Dreamworld, Put Down That Weapon, Blue Sky Mine, Forgotten Years, King Of The Mountain, Bedlam Bridge, One Country, My Country, Outbreak Of Love, In The Valley, Underwater and White Skin Black Heart.
The Live Performances: Armistice Day, No Time For Games, Lucky Country, Short Memory, Read About It, Harrisburg, Stand In Line, Sleep, Hercules, River Runs Red, Sometimes, Surf's Up Tonight, Sins Of Omission, Used And Abused, Cold Cold Change, Blackfella/Whitefella/The Dead Heart and Beds Are Burning.
There is certainly not an awful lot wrong as far as the music is concerned, but as for the rest of it.....
The transfer is presented in a full frame format, reflecting its origins, and is not 16x9 enhanced.
To be blunt, in general, the transfer is far too diffuse and lacking in clarity. This is highlighted by the odd occasion when one of the clips in particular is sharp and vibrant, such as One Country. I will admit that the older clips are not likely to be from great masters, but even taking this into account I was reasonably disappointed. Overall, detail is only fair and shadow detail is generally quite average too. The problem is that if I were being less charitable, I would have to say that the transfers are riddled with low level noise problems. There is a lot of superfluous movement going on in the picture, especially in the clips and this also does not aid the clarity of the clips at all. This is where I believe that the artistic choice has been made presentation-wise, but whatever the reason, it does indeed make this very difficult to watch and enjoy.
Suffice it to say that this is in general anything but a vibrant transfer, and there is a general problem with undersaturation of the colours throughout, although the odd clip is far better than that and Outbreak Of Love is a good example as it brings back the heady days of psychedelia! As is typical for concert performances, there are the usual problems with washed-out visuals due to the stage lighting. There is also one especially noticeable instance of oversaturation of colour during In The Valley. Whilst in general this is a reasonably consistent transfer, the odd washout due to the stage lighting as usual disappoints. The lack of a depth to the darker colours does not aid the overall situation either.
Given the presentation of the transfer, it is difficult to suggest that there are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer, as the transfer simply lacked at times sufficient clarity to really see any such faults. It is reasonable to presume however that there were none. The transfer was plagued by film-to-video artefacts in the form of (usually) minor aliasing: nothing that was too distracting however except for the Dead Heart discography entry which shimmers so badly that I found it unwatchable. There were significant film artefacts in some portions of the transfer, but nothing that I found too bothersome.
It should be noted that every clip and live performance is given a title caption across the bottom left side of the screen, which is a nice touch, as is the inclusion of the location and year for the live performances too.
The vocals are generally clear and easy to understand throughout.
There did not appear to be any audio sync problems with the transfer.
Other than not being what I would want in a Dolby Digital soundtrack, overall the sound is quite acceptable. It simply lacks any sort of punch to it, and the bass channel in particular is sorely missed. Sorry, but this does not exactly raise any enthusiasm in me and it really is acceptable and nothing more. As indicated, forget the subwoofer here, and your surround speakers too. All you need here is a couple of fronts to handle the blatantly stereo sound.
A very average video transfer.
An acceptable audio transfer.
A reasonable package of extras.
© Ian Morris (have a
laugh, check out the bio)
26th March 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|