(not 125 minutes as stated on packaging)
|Mike Newman (II)
Hamish Hamilton (III)
Warner Vision Australia
|Super Jewel Case
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio
|English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio
|Annoying Product Placement
|Action In or After Credits
This DVD brings together the premiere live performances made of Tubular Bells II, in Edinburgh in 1992, and Tubular Bells III, in London in 1998.
Both concerts are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
Whilst it is important to note that there are two distinctly different transfers on offer here, made six years apart, the overall impression is of very sharp transfers, very clear with pretty good definition and shadow detail. There did not appear to be any problems at all with low level noise. Having said that, the transfer for Tubular Bells II is somewhat better than that for Tubular Bells III - but that is comparing superb with very good.
It is the colours however that show up the differences between the two concerts. Tubular Bells II is a very vibrant transfer with gloriously rich tones that frankly many a feature film would die for. Whilst there are lots of blue and red used in the stage lighting, at no time did oversaturation or bleeding of colours seem to be a problem. Conversely, Tubular Bells III is a much more muted colourscape: no flashy, vibrant colours here and the tones are much more washed out in appearance. However, this is also a reflection of the stage lighting, which seemed to be much more muted with very little in the way of reds and with plenty of lighter hued blues. In many ways, the style of transfers actually suits the style of music from the two concerts - Tubular Bells II is much more lively, vibrant music, whereas Tubular Bells III is much more introspective. Both concerts are very consistent in the rendering of the colours.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, and film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very minor aliasing especially in Tubular Bells II. The aliasing was not especially bothersome and did not detract from the enjoyment at all. Both transfers were remarkably free from film artefacts, the only two items of note being a black vertical line at around 16:32 and a white mark at around 46:43 of Tubular Bells II. Hardly noteworthy enough to disturb the enjoyment and both were only confirmed by scanning back to the points to make sure that I had actually seen what I thought I had seen.
This is a dual sided disc, with the Tubular Bells II concert on side A and the Tubular Bells III concert on side B. The changeover point is after 64:38 on side A, but you should note that unless you push the stop button, the DVD will just replay again on either side. Technically some may consider this a flipper but since if you do nothing, the disc will just replay ad infinitum (and there is good reason to let it do so!), and since they are two integrally separate concerts, I do not think it fair to call it a flipper.
There are two audio tracks on the DVD, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Linear PCM 48/16 track, the latter very similar to the sound you would expect on a compact disc. I listened to both soundtracks for both concerts - a great way to spend an afternoon!
The music and vocals came up very well in both soundtracks, despite the differences in the styles of the soundtracks.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with either soundtrack.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack made a quite effective use of the front surround channels, but little use seemed to be made of the rear channels, not even for audience noise. The front surround channels are quite effectively balanced and separated. The bass channel however gets a really good workout here, that really does drive the music along very well. If you like to turn your music up loud with bass to spare, then this will be right up your alley - although your neighbours may not be so pleased!
The Linear PCM soundtrack is very much like the sound
off the compact disc. Whilst there is no separate bass channel, the higher
decibel level of this soundtrack still conveys the music well.
A very good, almost superb video transfer.
A very good audio transfer.
Just no real extras to speak of.
© Ian Morris
30th October 1999
|Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
|Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
|Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
|Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL