This Film Is On

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Main Menu Audio and Animation
Year Released 1991
Running Time 48:54 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Jim McKay
Michael Stipe
Warner Reprise Video
Warner Vision Australia
Starring Michael Stipe
Bill Berry
Mike Mills
Peter Buck
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music R.E.M.

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during and after credits

Plot Synopsis

    And so we get to the second disc on this little jaunt through the Warner Vision batch of R.E.M. releases. This particular effort is something of a significant improvement over the usual R.E.M. DVD, for the simple reason that this is basically a video collection equivalent to their Out Of Time album. The tracks on offer on this effort are:
1. Losing My Religion
2. Shiny Happy People
3. Near Wild Heaven
4. Radio Song
5. Love Is All Around
6. Losing My Religion (acoustic)
7. Low
8. Belong
9. Half A World Away
10. Country Feedback

    This is another collection of great songs from a great band. This is also another DVD that R.E.M. fans can rush out and add to their collections, and there is enough atypical R.E.M. DVD here to even pique the interest of non-fans.

Transfer Quality


    Since this is actually a collection of videos, it would seem natural that the quality would be much improved upon the standard R.E.M. concert DVD, as the source material has to meet certain standards to be played on television. This programme starts out that way, but eventually the typical R.E.M. standards do eventually come to the fore!

    The concert is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and obviously is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The first two songs are actually very decent, professionally-done videos of broadcast quality. They are sharp and detailed, with just the odd intended lapse to make sure you know you are watching an R.E.M. video. The next two songs start the descent into the typical R.E.M. appearance, not especially well-detailed and certainly not sharp, but still better than decent. Love Is All Around is a vastly different style as it is actually from the MTV Unplugged show. This is very sharp and well-detailed. The acoustic version of Losing My Religion was recorded on the BBC Late Night Show, and is also much better than the usual R.E.M. effort - although not as good as the MTV effort. Thereafter, the videos are shot on Super 8, and display the usual lack of sharpness and definition that we have come to expect from such material. This material displays the usual lack of detail and presents something of a consistently diffuse image. There is a significant grain problem throughout these transfers, once again reflecting the Super 8 film stock, and the resultant images are in general anything but clear. The usual caveat of any problems being source material problems applies once again.

    The colours are again all over the place in the transfer, with the first two videos and the TV show-sourced material being significantly different in style. They are nicely saturated and have a nice vibrancy to them, as befits the intended use of the material. The rest of the programme is a range of black and white and colour material that is significantly undersaturated. If you are looking for some great colour then you will not find it here, a characteristic of the R.E.M. material that has appeared on DVD thus far.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There were no real film artefacts noted.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is just the one English audio track on the DVD, being a Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack.

    The music and vocals come up very well in the soundtrack.

    There are no significant audio sync problems with the transfer, although a couple of times Shiny Happy People seemed to be a little out of sync.

    The soundtrack made makes no use at all of the surround channels, nor the bass channel, and this is just like listening to a compact disc, and a quite decent one too. There simply is nothing much wrong with this soundtrack at all, other than the fact that it is not a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The great music on offer here gets every chance to shine, and in general it does.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Another disappointing effort that does not do justice to the band - nor the format to be honest, and considering the lack of length in the programming here...


R4 vs R1

    This release would again appear to be identical to the Region 1 DVD. In view of the nature of the bulk of source material, there would be little reason to prefer one version over the other.


    R.E.M. - This Film Is On is a definite must for fans of this great band, but the quality of the source material would certainly appeal to other people. However, the asking price for a DVD without any extras is here an even greater limitation to the broader market I would suspect.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
7th October 2000

Review Equipment
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