|Category||Olympics||Menu Audio and Animation|
DVD 2: 177:39 minutes
(not 300 minutes as stated on packaging)
|RSDL/Flipper||Disc 1: No/No
Disc 2: RSDL (99:28)
|Start Up||Advert, then Menu|
Warner Vision Australia
|Starring||Whole lot of people|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 320 Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||No|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||Yes, adverts|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
Broadly speaking, the issue of the transfer gets down to the usual question of licensing, as ever with just about everything to do with the Olympics. To clarify the main points:
And unfortunately that means that Channel 7 (usually) keep fronting up with huge dollars to gain the rights to the Olympic Games, and therefore get another chance to prove how utterly bad they are at broadcasting. I thought their performance at Atlanta in 1996 was so bad that it could not be topped (or is that bottomed?). I was wrong. The 27th Olympiad was another nail in the coffin of their broadcasting abilities, and it was evident from the very first hour of the Opening Ceremony. I avoided this on television (and pretty much the entire Olympics to be truthful) and I am really regretting having stuck my hand up to review the DVD. That Channel 7 commentary is diabolical, headed by Bruce "3.7 billion - that's more than 3 billion" McAvaney, and with the likes of Garry"3.7 million" Wilkinson and Ernie "G'day mob"Dingo adding in their insights. Where is that silencer when you need it? The commentary is riddled with gaffes and I am staggered that the commentary team weren't instantly taken out behind Stadium Australia at the conclusion of the show and shot. Talking over the top of each other, jumping all over the place with incomplete commentary and generally creating as big a cock-up as is humanly possible - have they ever heard of the adage that if you have not got anything useful to say, keep quiet? And that is before we even get to the imagery. All I can say is what 3.7 billion Chinese, Indians, Europeans, Africans and so on quite made of all that stuff going on in the arena I would only wish to hazard a guess at. A spectacle with minimal substance. The only real highlights for me were the appearance of the South Korean and North Korean teams as one unified team marching under a unified Korean flag, and the appearance of the independent athletes from East Timor. Now that is what the Olympic Games is supposed to be about!
Okay, you get the picture that this is something that did not impress me at all. Frankly I truly regret having stuck my hand up to review this DVD. None of this is of course the fault of Warner Vision Australia nor DVM. They got lumbered with the product and have to release what is available. Personally, I think that Channel 7 should be made to write an individual apology to every Australian for the diabolical commentary they provided.. I struggle to understand why anyone, other than performers, athletes or immediate family, would want to actually sit down and watch this four hour plus piece of drivel over and over again. Once is more than enough for me.
If you had not guessed it by now, the transfer is presented in a Full Frame format and it is no 16x9 enhanced.
Considering that this is television material and that there were over two hundred cameras used, this is actually not too bad a transfer. It is generally pretty sharp with plenty of detail on offer. Unfortunately a few odd cameras had the odd problem with focus, but nothing that any reasonable person would argue about in a four hour plus show. The video transfer is in general quite clear and this helps bring out some of the more subtle detail of the spectacle. There is nothing much in the way of grain and low level noise did not seem to be an issue either.
One of the great positives of the spectacle was the use of colour and thankfully this transfer does the whole show justice in the extreme. This is generally a bright, vibrant transfer that really has some great colour highlights dotted throughout the show. Despite the bright, vibrant colours there is generally not a problem with oversaturation (just the odd hint here and there when the reds get to predominate) and you can forget colour bleed. So yes, there are indeed some positives here.
However there are some negatives and here they are. There seemed to be some slight problems with MPEG artefacting throughout the transfer, mainly in the form of some blockiness in the image at times and this does get just a little off-putting on occasions. Some of the worst offenders are early on, in shots of the stadium which seem anything but solid in the background. Whilst I would not going overboard and condemning the transfer, it is a fact that the problems are there and on the wrong sort of display device, they will be a serious problem. My guess is that if you are watching this on a smaller television screen (68 cm or of that nature) then this may not be much of an issue. On a big screen however... There is a consistent, albeit generally quite minor problem throughout the transfers with aliasing, with many straight edges showing quite obvious lack of solidity. It never becomes ugly but after three or four hours it becomes just a little too much to ignore. There are no problems at all with film artefacts as far as I can see.
The mastering of the two DVDs seems to be a little
odd. Disc 1 is a plain old single sided, single layer DVD so no problems
there. However, Disc 2 is an RSDL formatted
DVD, but the DVD seems to be split into four separate sections of mastered
product, with separate timing coding for each that resets to zero after
the section end. I am therefore guessing that the layer change is after
the end of the second section, which places the layer change at 99:28
overall on the DVD. Each of the searches between each section is not especially
well-handled and all are just a little too noticeable due to their lethargy.
There have been some complaints around about the fact that DVD 2 pauses
at each nation in the Parade of Nations. This was not an issue on my setup
and apart from the three section changes that occur during the Parade of
Nations, the seemingly zillion chapters are seamless.
The dialogue regrettably comes up very clear and easy to understand in the transfer. There did not appear to be any real problem with audio sync in the transfer.
The original music used in the Ceremony comes from a variety of sources. Whilst I could cheerfully have done without the appalling fanfare from James Morrison, most of the music seemed appropriate and well done. The musical highlight of the whole show for me was the rendition of the National Anthem from Julie Anthony, although the 2,000 strong marching band was something pretty special too.
Apart from a brief audio drop out between 1:05
and 1:06, there is nothing much wrong
with the audio side of things at all. Okay, it is not a 5.1 master, but
what can we reasonably expect from a television presentation? The music
and crowd ambience was presented well enough, even though there is no surround
channel nor bass channel action here at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
24th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. 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 C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|