Alien Deep with Bob Ballard (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 12-Dec-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Bonus Episode-Deep Secrets-The Ballard Gallipoli Expedition
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 240:20 (Case: 225)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
National Geographic
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Michael J. McEvoy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     There is a very interesting comparison between the BBC nature documentaries such as the David Attenborough shows and these US produced National Geographic channel shows. I have watched a few of these now and tend to find them disappointing when compared to the BBC productions. These shows seem to tend more towards focusing on the people involved and how wonderful/intelligent/brave they are rather than focusing on the nature they are investigating. The number of times that the dramatic voiceover man intones 'Dr Robert Ballard' is enough to drive you nuts. I am sure Ballard is a very learned and intelligent man, with a great love of nature but the show could focus on the nature more and the man less. Over 5 x 45 minute episodes it seemed to me that only about 5 minutes was devoted to actual footage of the actual life at the bottom of the ocean and the rest was taken up by photos of Ballard staring meaningfully out into the ocean from a cliff top or people preparing submarines or talking about how dangerous everything is.

     I will stop ranting now and explain a little about this series of shows, made for the National Geographic Channel. The show sets out to investigate the life near volcano mouths under the ocean to try and understand its significance to life on Earth more generally. They do this by using deep ocean exploration equipment such as small submarines and underwater probes.

     Anyway, if you are interested in submarines and underwater exploration you will probably get something from this show but if like me and my young boys you were interested in the life at the bottom of the ocean you may be disappointed because of the time it takes to get onto anything interesting. My young boys lost interest very quickly. There is too much self-important preparation, repeated footage and long winded explanation combined with incredibly dramatic music and voice over. The show is spread over two Blu-ray discs.

     Despite what should be an interesting topic I just can't recommend this series. Watch the extra instead, which is significantly better.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good but disappointingly only 1080i.

     The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080i HD encoded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was very good throughout.

     The colour is excellent showing of the beautiful sea and landscapes along with the inky blackness of the depths.

     There are some interlacing artefacts and motion blur when the camera moves.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good.

    These discs contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1. The soundtrack is quite front focused but does add some nice surround atmosphere.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The music is over the top and makes use of the subwoofer to go just a little bit further.

     The surround speakers provided some nice atmosphere such as bubbles and other ocean sounds.

     The subwoofer pounded away reproducing the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu included music and scenes.

Deep Secrets - The Ballard Gallipoli Expedition (45:44)

     This is the highlight of the two Blu-ray discs. The drama is turned down for an interesting show about the sunken battleships and submarines from the Gallipoli campaign. The team explore the Dardanelles looking for sunken ships. The main story line concerns an Australian submarine AE2 which made it through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara shortly after the invasion began. There is a dramatic reconstruction of their voyage and what they achieved. Well worth watching and significantly better made than the main show.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a Region A Blu-ray which is the same but the soundtrack is only standard DTS and there is no Region B UK release at this time. Local is best.

Summary

    A self-important and over long series of shows purported to be about life in the deep oceans but actually about the self-important people who go looking for it.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extra is the highlight of the set.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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