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|Category||Documentary||Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Biography - Ozzy Osbourne (legend)
|Running Time||96:40 Minutes|
|Region||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6||Director||Jeb Brien|
Sony Music Video
|Case||Lipless Opaque Brackley|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame (NTSC)||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, a hilarious statement from Jack Osbourne after the credits|
I saw it as something of a good omen that, on the same day I bought the fifth full-length album by Norwegian symphonic black metal meisters Dimmu Borgir, a DVD-Video containing Don't Blame Me: The Tales Of Ozzy Osbourne was sent to my doorstep. It's times like these, when musicians who are interested in music rather than a slick advertising campaign designed to con those who don't know any better make their way into my players, that suffering through having today's radio vomit forced upon me seems vaguely worthwhile. The little blurb on the back cover of this DVD proclaims that Jeb Brien's documentary is about Ozzy Osbourne giving the warts-and-all story behind his remarkably successful twenty-three year solo career.
Everything to do with Ozzy Osbourne, both the man and the legend that has built up around him, is discussed with frank and open honesty here, with no detail of his equally innovative and tragic history left unturned. From the meteoric rise of Black Sabbath, through the bitter infighting that split this great band apart, through the bat-and-bird-biting antics, the lawsuit over Suicide Solution, the death of his original guitarist Randy Rhoades, and even some details of his upbringing in Birmingham, everything is covered here in this documentary. Guest appearances from posers and lamos like Joe Elliot, Lars Ulrich, Nikki Sixx, and Mick Mars are included, with appearances from men who are almost as legendary as Ozzy himself (specifically Alice Cooper and Lemmy Kilmister) making up for that. Other guest appearances include Ozzy's wife (and manager) Sharon, and Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. But by far the most interesting inclusion is the introduction featuring the three children from Ozzy's marriage to Sharon: Jack, Kelly, and Aimee, whose brief segments beg the question of what they would have to say at school when the conversation turned to what their parents do for a living.
Because the chapter listing given on the back is only politely coincidental with the actual arrangement of chapters on this disc, especially after Chapter 20 or so, I will list the chapters from the menu here (I still think there are a couple missing, but this list is about ninety-five percent accurate):
|01. Program Start||17. Ozzy||33. Rochester, 1982|
|02. Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Lars Ulrich||18. Home Videos||34. Randy's Guitar|
|03. Paris, 1970||19. Breaking All The Rules||35. Randy & Ozzy|
|04. Sabbath - Blue Suede Shoes||20. Moscow, 1989||36. Tribute to Randy|
|05. Fairies Wear Boots||21. "Let the madness begin!"||37. L.A., 1991|
|06. More With Sabbath||22. Paranoid Discussion||38. Studio Antics|
|07. Toronto, 1970||23. A Shot In The Dark||39. Rick Rubin|
|08. Beat Club, '69||24. Dove & Bat Incidents||40. Studio Fun|
|09. Hammersmith Odeon, '69||25. The Alamo Incident||41. Meet The Band|
|10. Paranoid||26. Conversative Backlash||42. Ladders To Fire|
|11. Live Aid||27. The Suicide Incident||43. Making Of No More Tears|
|12. Career Montage||28. Origin Of Song||44. No More Tears|
|13. Ozzy On Drinking||29. Alcohol||45. Ozzy's Closing Comments|
|14. Montage||30. Teen Suicide And Adult Influence||46. Closing Credits|
|15. Philadelphia, 1989||31. 1st Solo Appearance||47. Jack Talks About Birth|
|16. Thomas T. Anderson||32. Get Crazy||48. Copyright Info|
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, except for the No More Tears video (Chapter 45), which is in an approximate 1.78:1 ratio, and the documentary is not 16x9 Enhanced at any time.
The sharpness, shadow detail, and low-level noise quotient of the transfer is variable according to the age of the source materials, as well as the methods that were used to capture the materials. The No More Tears video often appears slightly hazy and out of focus, in spite of being only ten years old, while footage of Black Sabbath from 1969 looks very crisp and clear. The shadow detail of most of the material is adequate, except for some of the material that was recorded in 1969. The live performance of War Pigs is an example of this: not only is the shadow detail pretty poor, thanks in no small part to the stage lighting, low-level noise is also a bit of a problem. This is true for a lot of the older material, but it is hardly the fault of the transfer.
The colour scheme of this transfer is also highly variable according to the source materials. The performance of Behind The Wall Of Sleep at 11:10 is quite washed out and hazy, with colours bleeding into one another, but other sections such as the interview footage are extremely well-saturated, not to mention very clear and well defined.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem for this transfer at any time. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some occasional aliasing that only got to be distracting on a couple of occasions. The No More Tears promotional video was the worst offender where aliasing was concerned, with a lot of the edges of walls and other such linear objects frequently shimmering. I'd like to see what they could have done with this video if Sony Music had been willing to spend some time fixing it up. Film artefacts consisted of numerous nicks and scratches upon the archival source materials, but the more recent interview, concert, and promotional footage was often of reference quality. The problems with the archival materials cannot really be helped, and it is really surprising that the footage from the late sixties or early seventies looks as good as it does. I'm sure that fellow fans will no doubt be happy enough to see rare footage of Black Sabbath performing Blue Suede Shoes that it won't really matter.
This disc uses the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place between Chapters 23 and 24, at 47:08. This is just after Ozzy Osbourne says "I'd like to be remembered as a rock and roll performer. One of the greats if you like.", and it is rather noticeable, but probably the best place that it could have been put under the circumstances.
There are two soundtracks on this DVD, both of them renderings of the original English dialogue: if fidelity is your thing, then the Linear PCM 2.0 48 kHz, 1536 kilobits per second soundtrack will probably put a big smile on your face, and those who prefer extra channel separation will be happy with the Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 kilobits per second soundtrack. I listened to both soundtracks in their entirety, although I did leave the default Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack for last.
The dialogue is perfectly clear and easy to understand at all times in both soundtracks, although the Linear PCM soundtrack sounds slightly clearer in my view. Whether this is just my perception or as a result of the uncompressed nature of the soundtrack, it was a slight surprise. Ozzy Osbourne's vocals vary in clarity terms, with the earlier material, especially the old Black Sabbath songs, having a slightly muffled vocal presence, while later material such as the No More Tears video featured vocals clear enough to create the illusion that Ozzy is right there in the room. There are no discernible problems with audio sync.
The music featured in this documentary, as has been mentioned already can either be attributed to the band Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, or co-writers with Ozzy such as the late Randy Rhoades. The music is not the entire focus of the documentary, but when it is present, it gives at least as much insight into Ozzy and the men he has worked with over the years as they do.
The surround channels were used in a limited but perfectly serviceable fashion by the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack to support the guitars, audiences, and such ambient instruments as keyboards and strings in later songs. They were not overly worked, but they provided justification for their presence by giving the overall soundscape a bit more separation. The soundtrack tended to collapse into stereo or mono during the interview footage, as you'd have to expect, while the music pushed the front and centre channels a lot harder than the rears. The subwoofer was used in this soundtrack to put more of a bottom end on such things as the bass and drums, and it was a little conspicuous due to only really being utilized during the songs.
Overall, I preferred the Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack because, being uncompressed, it sounded less muddy and cluttered despite being restricted to the front channels. The subwoofer output from this soundtrack also tended to have more definition and life in it, but this is all in line with my theorem that truly great artists don't need to be coming out of six speakers at once to sound good. I think one's preference in terms of soundtrack is going to vary according to individual taste.
The video transfer is an excellent representation of source materials that range from good-looking to lucky-to-still-be-in-existence.
The audio transfer not only offers two choices of how to listen to the music, but it represents great music in a way that can be described as, well, great!
The extras are minimal, but of some interest.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|