|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||76:13 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Start Up||Language Selection, then Movie|
Warner Vision Australia
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||2.0|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||None|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||German (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
English (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
French (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
Italian (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
Spanish (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is another instalment on DVD from the Classic Albums series, bringing together recently recorded interviews with Paul Simon and Roy Halee, as well as with some of the recording personnel from the album, interspersed with archival video footage taken during the visit of Paul Simon and Roy Halee to South Africa to record the sounds of African music; these recordings formed the basis of the album that eventually sold over 14 million copies. Also included is video footage taken during the Graceland concert tour. And if a definitive answer is required as to the importance of this album to the musicians of South Africa, just listen to what they have to say.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
The more recent, interview portions of the transfer come up very well indeed, sharp and quite well detailed. With the live concert footage being of far more recent vintage than others in the series, it generally comes up very well, nicely detailed and well defined, although perhaps a little soft in the focus at times. This contrasts with the recording studio footage which is not especially well defined and lacks somewhat in detail, if not vitality. However, it was shot mainly for personal purposes I would presume and was not necessarily intended for rebroadcast.
The colours again come up quite rich in tone, although not over saturated, in general. This is again not an especially vivid transfer, although the results are natural and very consistent in the rendering. The live concert footage is nicely contrasted, with a nice colour tone, whereas the recording studio footage is quite washed out colour-wise and not especially well contrasted; this however is the fault of the source material and not a DVD mastering problem.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, nor were film-to-video artefacts a problem: it should be noted however that the archival footage did have some minor inherent problems, which cannot be blamed upon the DVD transfer. There did not appear to be any film artefacts present in the transfer.
It should be noted too that there are no chapters on the DVD, which is quite unusual and also mildly annoying, especially when you try to locate your favourite songs off the album.
There are five audio tracks on the DVD, all MPEG 2.0 soundtracks: German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the English soundtrack. It should be noted that the languages are not flagged to your player, as we are used to with most DVD releases, but rather are flagged to the player as 1-5; for instance, the German soundtrack is flagged to the player as 1 rather than as German.
The music and vocals are very clear and understandable in the soundtrack.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the soundtrack.
The MPEG 2.0 soundtrack does not make much use of the surround channels and completely ignores the bass channel. Whilst this is not a concern per se, as the resultant sound is very good and nicely detailed, this music would have shone with a 5.1 soundtrack.
A good video transfer.
A good audio transfer.
But no extras.
© Ian Morris
11th November 1999
|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|